Title: White Horse
Author: Alex Adams
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher
First line: Look at me: I don’t want my therapist to think I’m crazy.
Goodreads blurb: 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.
Alex Adams is an amazing writer. She has the gift of completely immersing the reader in the world of the book. I thought about White Horse when I wasn’t reading; I even dreamed about it. Being that involved in a book I’m reading is a rare occurrence, and when the world of the book is as bleak and dark as this one, it’s a bit unsettling.
Adams uses the convention of flipping back and forth in time from then to now. The Now sections tell of Zoe’s journey to Greece, although the reader is not sure until well into the book exactly why she wants to go there. The Then sections tell of her days leading up to the beginning of the plague, the early days of White Horse, and what ultimately prompts her to leave New York.
This book is dark. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road; it has a similar feeling of unrelenting despair. I sometimes felt like I needed to close the book and watch something stupid and happy with my kids just to break up the never-ending bleakness. Because of that, I debated between a three- and a four-star rating, but ultimately the quality of Adams’ writing won me over.
I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the second book in the trilogy. The ending leaves room for a sequel, but it doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, and so I could be happy leaving Zoe where she ended. In fact, the ending was my favorite part of the book, and I’m afraid a sequel could ruin that for me. I’m not sure when book two is due out, so I have some time to decide. This is definitely a good read for fans of dystopian fiction, but be sure you can handle an unblinking look at how horribly evil the world can be.