Thursday, July 24, 2014
Sunrise by Mike Mullin
If you like: bikezilla! * kale * making it work
Sunrise concludes the Ashfall Trilogy. [An aside: I put off reading this one right away because I just couldn’t take one more horrible thing happening to Alex and Darla. Trust me, it is worth getting to the end — see my reviews of Ashfall and Ashen Winter.] Though the long winter persists, there are the smallest hints of growing sun as time goes on. Alex and Darla have taken great strides towards survival in their new reality, but still face many hardships. They are wise enough to listen to good advice, and break away from the group in Warren to live in a safer, more productive and protected community of their own design. This endeavor is not without its hardships, and their old enemies are still around. Living in a world of constant threats changes everything about the life they had known before the volcano erupted; they realize that the new world has led them to form bonds with people they would never have been close to otherwise.
So many things have changed, but some societal customs still persist. In spite of Alex’s keen ability to make the right choices and be a strong leader, his age still makes it difficult for pre-disaster adults to completely take him seriously. Time after time people ignore his suggestions, to their own peril. It is unfortunate for the other survivors that he must break away and build his own community to head divisively into the the future. Countless people could have survived if they had been willing to listen to him, instead of scoff at him for being a teen. As we move further into the aftermath, and feudal groups develop (as Ben anticipates) the other leaders are more willing to see Alex as their equal. Wisdom may come with age, but it does not always. Listening to smart people and strategic thinking are the tools of the future. Wielding them is far more important than politicking as though things will return to normal.
Though they are still surrounded by the ever worsening reminders of the disaster created by the super volcano, enough time has passed that it is time to look beyond day-to-day survival and look to the future. For some, this means finally giving up any vestiges of their life before. For others, it means pioneering the future. Incremental change is a thing of the past, and those who refuse to embrace revolutionary changes must be left behind. No other pair embodies this spirit more than Alex and Darla. He leads his people with reluctance into a lifestyle that is composed of more than just survival. Her mind is capable of inventing all the tools needed for life in a post-modern world. Though the pair will continue to be faced with danger, they know that they are better together. No wound, physical or emotional, is deep enough to keep them from marching toward the future that they imagine. Their union and dreams are powerful enough to grow a community united by their vision, and provides so many with just enough hope to keep them going. In a changed world, love is one thing from the past that has not changed. Alex and Darla are not just pioneers in community building, but in building a family and living in this new world.
If you want to imagine a different future for those you love, read Sunrise.
Mullin, Mike. Sunrise (Ashfall Trilogy). Tanglewood Press, 2014. Kindle Edition.