Saturday, 21 April 2012

White Horse (White Horse # 1) by Alex Adams - Book Review

Title: White Horse (White Horse # 1)
Author: Alex Adams
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 292
Format: Paperback
Genre: Dystopia / Literary Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher

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Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the President of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are not defined by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places. (Goodreads Synopsis)

To say this post-apocalyptic dystopian story is bleak is putting it mildly. This is not a tale for anyone looking for light entertainment, but it is an extremely well-written piece that really sneaks up on you.

When I started reading, I was impressed with Adams' prose, which draws you in and establishes the scene and characters without being flowery or wordy. The offshoot of this is that it takes a while before you really process just how dreadful events are and that, I think, is what makes this book: the way it sucks you in first, establishing your interest, before launching the horrors on you.

I loved how the story was told by alternating between past and present. It really helped maintain the tension and revealed new elements of the story and the history of White Horse gradually, always giving you new things to think about. You could also see how the past influenced Zoe's actions in the present when you saw them presented side by side.

When my copy arrived, I was in the middle of another book and my husband happened to pick it up, asking what it was. After a brief flick through, he retreated to the sofa with it and I realised I wouldn't get it back until he had finished it. He read it over two days and told me he'd enjoyed it and would want to read the next book in the series.

The same is true for me. I was captured by both the story and characters and I am keen to see how Adams will continue the tale and what is in store next for Zoe and her companions. This truly is a startling debut from a very talented writer.

I would recommend this book to dystopia fans (older teens and adults) and literary fictions fans who love a well-crafted and beautifully presented story. This is not for the faint-hearted, though, as it is a very bleak tale - more so than any of the YA dystopia currently around. But it is not entirely without a sense of hope, so all I can say is: Read and discover this book for yourself.

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