White Horse by Alex Adams
Published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Zoe was just plugging along in her life, slaving away as a janitor at Pope Pharmaceuticals, when the virus that infected most of the world’s population took root in her city. Since that time, she’s had to navigate a world that has basically ended, and what little of the world is left is nothing like what it used to be. Desperately holding on to her last shreds of humanity, Zoe sets off on a journey of survival.
White Horse has been compared to a lot of great post-apocalyptic reads – most notably, The Road – and I have to say that while this novel didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, there were a lot of elements of the novel that I did really enjoy.
First of all, Adams made me want to root for Zoe from the very start. She was, quite simply, a very ordinary person who lived a boring life before this mysterious disease took over the world, but she became incredibly tough and kick-ass once she had to fight for her own survival every day. I loved the way Adams went back and forth from the time before the disease hit and after, because it gave the reader a super close look into Zoe’s personality and I felt that I got to know her on such an intimate and true level. She felt so real to me and I just wanted desperately for things to work out for her.
As for the events in the book, there are some things in White Horse that made me cringe, some things that made me want to throw up, some things that made me cheer in victory for Zoe, and some things that broke my heart. My emotions were all over the place while reading the book and I did like that aspect of the novel. I never knew what to expect.
I do have to admit that White Horse doesn’t come close to the fantastic-ness that is The Road, even though this is a solid novel it doesn’t compete to a classic such as The Road, a book I absolutely loved. Adams has really lovely, poetic prose, packed with metaphors and beautiful language, and while the writing was enjoyable to read it was a bit distracting from everything else this book had to offer. Yes, the writing is gorgeous, but I’m just not sure how well the style of the writing fit in with the overall dark, sad atmosphere of the events in the novel.
So, there were a lot of elements I liked about White Horse. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the book, but that doesn’t mean I won’t pick up the sequel – I definitely will. I liked Zoe, was interested in where Adams took this story, and was captivated by much of what happened here. While the writing was a bit strange and other elements weren’t exactly perfect, I can still recommend this unique post-apocalyptic thriller.