Ashes by Ilsa Bick

In the interest of full disclosure, the blogger I'm featuring today has become one of my best virtual friends. We wouldn't have met (okay, we still haven't met, technically) but for Cybils. That's not why I'm putting the spotlight on her blog, though.

Tanita Davis has been with us from the start, sifting the wheat from the chaff for the Fantasy and Science Fiction list. She writes her half of the Finding Wonderland blog (along with Sarah Stevenson, our former editor) from outside Glasgow, Scotland. Nominated titles must often be shipped to her, which can mean long delays and frantic, last-minute reading marathons. It doesn't seem to faze her.

by Ilsa J. Bick

This review of Ilsa Bick's "Ashes" is a prime example of how Tanita critically dissects a book without beating you with the plot-rehash stick. It's a zombie apocalypse novel, and Tanita admits she headed into it with reservations about the genre as a whole. She weaves plot details into her review and delves deeply into the why of the book's appeal, rather than simply what happened. We learn some biographical bits about Bick and how they're relevant to the story she's telling, plus some of Tanita's criticisms that are refreshingly frank.

An excerpt:

Because former Major Bick is also Dr. Bick, child psychologist, her additional insights into the complexities of the young human mind fine tune and ratchet up the novel's freak factor. There's no shortage of reactions and emotions in this novel – people are full of fears and bravado and behave with craven cowardice, heroism, and sheer cussedness. Bad Things Happen — and over and over the characters are saved. People begin to believe in Fate. However, at times, the reader often doesn't know what to root for, what to wish or hope for.

Read the full review here.