Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: White Horse

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: White Horse
Author: Alex Adams
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Pages: Hardcover; 292
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a dark story, with plenty of humanity and hope thrown in.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
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.

How to review White Horse? In all honesty it's one of the best books I've read this year, and yet anything I type here seems inadequate as to explain why I loved it so much. What is really striking about Alex Adams' story is how beautifully it walks the line between light and dark. The populace is dying. Everything that people once believed made them human is now gone, taken from them by a disease. Still, there is a glimmer of hope underneath it all. In Zoe I found one woman who, despite everything else, had the will to survive. Her hope radiates out, and helps light the way through this otherwise bleak story.

White Horse follows Zoe through chapters from "Then" and "Now". Although I normally dislike books that switch between past and present tense, it fits in White Horse perfectly. Zoe has gone from a simple custodian, to a nomad. Her past life and her present life are shown in stark contrast to one another, until they slowly merge closer and closer together. Seeking only to find her lost lover and hold on to what makes her human. Wandering through the dead cities, glimpsing the sad remains of humanity. Zoe's story is dark and dangerous. The story telling in White Horse is done in gorgeous prose, but it hardly masks the atrocities the world is suffering. Trust me, this isn't a story for the faint of heart.

The other characters in this story are just as well done as Zoe. Out of all of these, I feel like the one who needs the most introduction is "The Swiss". The exact opposite of everything that Zoe strives to hold on to, this is a villain who will make you want to tear the pages out of the book. You won't do it of course, because that would mean ruining the story, but you'll want to. Hope plays a big part in this story. Each time that Zoe makes it over an obstacle in her path, three more take their place. Yet, she never stops hoping. 

White Horse ate me up inside. I read fervently, cringing at the descriptions of what the world had become, and yet ever hopeful that Zoe would accomplish what she set out to do. The last few chapters blew me away with their twists. The last few pages broke my heart. Alex Adams has written something that fits in the dystopian genre, and yet is infinitely better. I loved this book, and I'll be happy to admit that I am excited to see where this trilogy goes next.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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