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February 12, 2012

[White Pine 2012] "Ashes, Ashes" by Jo Treggiari

The Ontario-wide White Pine Award reading program has started again for 2012! Not many nominees has caught my interest this year, but I'm hoping to give all 10 books a shot, like last year, and make a fair vote.

Also, I've switched up my rating criteria and system a bit, so numbers may look scary, but I'm rating as fairly and as unbiased as possible, following many certain definitions of each rating.to compare to. Here's my review for my first book for this year, just finished this morning ^^

P.S. Hey, just noticed! Lucy, in this cover below, is wearing a hoodie, but on the cover of my copy, she's just wearing a tank with her curly hair in the wind XD

Title: Ashes, Ashes
Author: Jo Treggiari
Publication: 2011, Scholastic

Summary: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.
Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds ...read more

"Ashes, Ashes" quite clearly draws from a 2012, 'end of the world', apocalyptic theme. The diction has a pattern that can be compared to the state of the occurring natural catastrophes that is constant throughout the book. That is to say, the first one-fifth of the whole book was clearly a time of painful waiting, and then one is hit with a medium-strengthed wave of plot advancement. From then, "Ashes, Ashes" proceeds much more effectively with a stronger storyline change. However, if one does not push through the dense, seemingly hopeless opening, then the fruit will never be tasted. The first 4 chapters was understood to be a painting of the setting and an introduction to Lucy, the protagonist, however that is not excuse for the repetition of short statements of Lucy's every single movement over such a long length of pages. I appreciate the similarity of the waiting period to that of the dull and tense period before disaster, but I was seriously going to put the book down. In addition, Lucy is an unrefined main character, and she, along with all the other characters, undergo minimal development through the book. Treggiari also used 3rd person in this work; that, paired with realistic, yet plainly average characters, it was hard to feel any personal connection to the characters. There were also notable places where the pronouns were confusing and unclear. On a brighter note, the faster-paced sections, along with the change-up in setting moved the story to a slightly more enjoyable level. The spurts of action had considerable power and were well-timed toward the end. Points for descriptively gory nuances and for the major shudders-factor. The conclusion was mediocre and unevenly paced, but other than that, decently well-rounded.

Rating:1.5 Blossoms
Final Notes: I liked parts of this, I really did. There was just too much unevenness in the plot and it was way too predictable for it to have an impact on me as a reader. Also, I think the better half of the book starts half way through, and it did not quite make up for the really weak beginning.


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