Book Review – White Horse by Alex Adams

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The world is gone but Zoe is still standing, pregnant and on a mission to find Nick, the man she loves.

White Horse is told in two forms. There’s the present, in which Zoe is trekking across Europe on her mission, where she battles a seemingly unstoppable foe, and the flashbacks, which show how the world fell apart, and the role that Zoe had to play in it. The plot is character-driven and most of the focus is given to how Zoe feels about the things she has lost and her love for Nick. It can get a little repetitive at times, but the writing style is sharp and snappy, and it gives a cruel edge to the story, which it needs. There are a few supporting characters, some of whom are interesting while others aren’t given much depth, and I feel that the book moves along at such a pace where things that would be considered big revelations are handled as though they were matter-of-fact.

But as the story moves forward there are layers peeled back about the horrors of the virus and how it’s actually changed people. Some parts of the story are very typical of apocalyptic fiction but other parts are actually quite inventive, and I wish the author had spent more time describing this rather than having the protagonist going on about Nick. I feel like there’s too much time spent on the mundane when it’s clear that there are some fantastical things to explore.

Now, the book comes with a preview of the next book in the series, Red Horse but White Horse does work as a standalone novel with its own contained arc, which I appreciate. I haven’t read the preview chapter so I cannot comment on that. Will I check it out? I’m not sure. I enjoyed it but I never felt like it properly grabbed me. The writing style had a surgical precision about it but it also had a certain detachment and I didn’t feel a permeating sense of despair.

I also have an issue with the way it’s described as ‘The New Hunger Games’ on the cover. I really don’t see why as it has nothing in common with The Hunger Games and I feel like it’s a cheap marketing ploy. I know that’s nothing to do with the author or the story itself but it’s damned stupid.

Overall I will say that I  liked it. I wasn’t ever totally absorbed in it and I think it could have done a bit more to develop the effects of the disease that are mainly only hinted at. However, if you like post-apocalyptic fiction then it’s probably worth checking out. But if you see the mention of The Hunger Games and expect something along those lines then do not pay attention to that. There’s not even a bow and arrow in it.

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