Review: White Horse by Alex Adams

White Horse
By Alex Adams
306 Pages
Published by Atria
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Source: Library

From GoodReads:

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.

It has taken me forever to write this review and I’ve struggled so much with what I want to say about this book. The truth is, even after having some time to think I’m still not sure how I really felt about it.

White Horse is a very raw book. It’s very intense and bleak. If I were to compare it to another novel it would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and not surprisingly I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that one either. Both are apocalyptic and there is even a caretaker/ward relationship between two of the main characters. I’m not implying that White Horse is derivative or a rip-off or anything because it’s not like they’re the same, they just have similar vibes. Despair. Desperation. Hopelessness. After a while, it just made me feel drained so I had to read it in small chunks.

That said, the writing is great. It’s hard for me to believe that this is Alex Adams’s debut novel because she writes like a confident seasoned pro. And as difficult as I found it to read, it was quite engrossing. The chapters alternate between Zoe’s past and her present, and as the story unfolds we learn how the world came to be in a sad post-apocalyptic state.

For the right audience, this is an excellent read. By the right audience I mean someone who doesn’t mind a book being extra bleak and full of truly abhorrent characters. It’s an adult dystopian but might be appropriate for a mature YA reader.

Quote from the book that pretty much sums it up: “Hope is a four letter word rotting in an antique dictionary between hop and hopeless.”

I truly can’t rate this. I didn’t enjoy it but it’s not really an enjoyable book and it was certainly a quality read. I think it’s one of those things where it’ll either spark your interest and you’ll be like, “Oh wow, something different and challenging” or “No thanks, too depressing.” I suppose I fell somewhere in the middle.

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