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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Early Book Review: White Horse by Alex Adams

TITLE: White Horse 
SERIES: White Horse, Book #1 
AUTHOR: Alex Adams 
PUBLISHER: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
FORMAT: Hardcover, 292 pages
GENRE: Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 978-1451642995
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.


I received this Advance Reader's Copy for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.  

Zoe Marshall is a 30 year-old woman who has been working as a janitor for Pope Pharmaceuticals in Italy. When a strange jar is left in her apartment, she is plagued with what to do with it. Because she doesn't know how to explain how she came to possess it and does not want him to think that she is crazy, she relates the story of the jar in a dream episode to her psychologist, Nick Rose. He encourages her to "take action" during her dream and turn the jar over to look at the bottom.

Zoe takes the jar to the museum to have it analyzed by curators. She soon finds that every person that has come into contact with the jar has contracted a lethal virus. Yet, Zoe remains unscathed! The virus spreads worldwide, and a televangelist has dubbed it “White Horse” after one of the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Ninety percent of the world’s population dies from the virus. Of the remaining ten percent, about half appear to be immune, like Zoe. The remaining five percent has contracted the virus and survived, although the virus has mutated their genes and they wind up anatomically different, developing such oddities as a tail, gills, or two hearts.

There is a bit of a romance between Zoe and Nick, and then Nick leaves for Greece to track down his parents to determine whether they are still alive. When Zoe discovers that she is pregnant, she sets out to find Nick. Along the way, she encounters a man referred to as “the Swiss” who is out to destroy the abominations that haven’t been killed by the virus.

The story flips back and forth between “now” and “then,” which is about 19 months ago when Zoe first came into contact with the jar. While I do enjoy multiple timelines in a story, this one flipped too much for my liking. At times, the timeline flipped several times within two pages! I found it a little mentally draining trying to follow all the changes, and it actually hindered my enjoyment. I would have rather read alternating chapters of the timelines.

I actually loved both Zoe and Nick. While in session, they struggled to maintain their professional doctor-patient relationship and it was clear that they were both fighting their attraction. Zoe is such a strong-willed heroine, and she strives to hold onto her humanity despite the degeneration of society. She reaches out to help others that she encounters along the way, and her actions are actually quite noble. The Swiss was a formidable rival and provided a good counter-balance to Zoe’s goodness. He really is quite wicked!

Overall, I thought that it was a solid series opener and was quite impressed that this is Adams' debut novel. Readers should be cautioned that this is not a Young Adult novel. There are graphic scenes of rape and incest, as well as violence, which took me by surprise because I incorrectly assumed this was a Young Adult dystopian. While White Horse does reach a satisfactory conclusion, the last sentence left me with my mouth gaped open, thinking, “Holy crap!” Adams ended it with a fantastic hook for the next in the series!


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it! Were it not for the incessant flipping of timelines, I would have given it 4 stars. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to review this book!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on finishing the What an Animal Reading challenge! Sounds like you finished with a good book.


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