Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari is a fairly interesting exploration of a post-apocalyptic world. While a fascinating premise, everything about the story is just a bit too obvious. Lucy’s resourcefulness and survival on her own at the beginning comprise the best part of the book. The romantic dynamic between Lucy and Aidan is evident from the start and seems to escalate in a rapid manner that comes across as somewhat unrealistic. The characters are half-developed, the mysteries are not so mysterious, and the conflicts are one-dimensional without much subtlety to keep the reader engaged. Seeds of a complex and suspenseful tale are there, but the story ends without any of them coming to fruition. Treggiari writes in vivid detail, trying to make up for a story with too many unanswered questions, and too little mystery or suspense for the reader to really want to know.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Profanity/Language: 4 religious exclamations.
Violence/Gore: Characters are chased and attacked by feral dogs; descriptions of plague victims; a tsunami destroys a character’s shelter with no casualties; a character dies from intentional plague injection; characters are kidnapped, tasered, drugged; fights involving knives, clubs, tasers, spears, slingshots. A man’s hand is stepped on and broken.
Sex/Nudity: A character flirts a great deal; a character admires another’s physique; a couple is described as constantly “welded together”; two characters share a long kiss; characters touch, kiss and caress.
Mature Subject Matter:
Plague, Death, Natural Disasters, Kidnapping, Human medical experiments, Euthanasia, Feral dog attacks, Euthanization.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters are drugged to sleep. A plague victim is euthanized.