Monsters (Ashes Trilogy #3) by Ilsa J. Bick

The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The End…is now.

When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn’t get much worse-until the doctors found the 15947841monster in her head.

She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won’t quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn’t over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And…they’ve had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.

A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise. – Goodreads.com

Let me start by saying my son and I are huge fans of this series and I mentioned these books at https://teripolen.com/2013/01/16/would-you-survive-a-zombie-apocalypse/.  It’s been about a year since the second book, Shadows, came out, so I was glad Monsters included a cast of characters (there are many secondary ones) and summary of who’s where and doing what at the end of the second book.  Unfortunately, that part began on page 673, when I was already finished with the book.  Had it been in the first few pages of the book, my reading experience would have been tremendously improved.

I’m glad I finished this series, although I feel like the original storyline got lost along the way.  The first book, and to some extent the second, focused more on Alex and her situation, how far she’d go to survive and protect her loved ones, the decisions she made, and discovering her limits.  Monsters had so many varying POV’s that it was hard to keep up at times.  The action sequences carried on for pages, especially in the first several chapters.  It quickly became tedious reading about a fight scene that seemed to go on for hours.  Typically, action scenes are designed to make the reader want to keep reading, being unable to put down the book.  In this case, it just make me skim through the pages to see what happened when it was finally over.

Although the second book left me feeling as if a love triangle between Alex, Tom, and Chris would be the focus of the third book, it was practically nonexistent, and for that, I was grateful; however, the relationship between Alex and Wolf left me scratching my head and was never really resolved.

The ending of the book was ambiguous and left many unanswered questions – Who was behind the EMP’s?  Why were some spared and what was their purpose?  Why had some of the Changed held on to part of their humanity while others hadn’t?  – just to name a few.  Some of the mysteries from the first book that held my attention were never solved and left me very frustrated.

The book was well-written, but really could have been shortened by 200 pages or so and focused more on the primary characters instead of the numerous secondary players.  I would also strongly suggest moving the character and previous book summaries to the front of the book instead of the back.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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