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White Horse (White Horse #1)

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  2,262 ratings  ·  603 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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Community Reviews

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so this is why i hate reviewing advanced readers' copies. after the thrill of "yayyyyy, i have something that youuuu don't have" wears off, i am stuck here with a book that was good, but didn't blow my mind. and now i have to be all critical about it, and it can't even defend itself yet. and it is probably one of those books that is going to be wildly successful and then i will be the lone voice in the wilderness on record as not loving it and all the internet will laugh at me.

not that i lack th...more

Bottom line, this book has *a lot* to recommend it: it is a dark, dream-like, post-apocalyptic landscape with sharp turns and compelling plot twists. I experienced a few moments of genuine shock (remarkable for a jaded reader like myself) and not once did I ever want to stop reading. I just had to know how it was all going to come out. The only way to really know if this book is for you is to go on this journey with Zoe, our narrator, and see for yourself.

This is one of those books that when I...more
Pandemic disease is only part of Adams' apocalypse. It also involves war and pesky shifts in global weather. What's more -- and to me most fascinating -- "White Horse" is a pathogen that wreaks its havoc by changing the victim's genetic structure, turning off certain switches and flipping on others. The effects of this sudden evolution range from miserable death (most of the population) to horrific somatic mutations.

A very few people seem to be immune to the plague. One is our heroine Zoe, who a...more
This was recommended to me as a 'Hunger Games for adults,' so maybe that's where it all went wrong. That excited me way too much.

This book was weird. Odd, disconnected and I didn't see any display of great writing that some of the other reviewers did. I couldn't get into the story or the characters (as I did with 'Hunger Games' and now I'll never be able to stop comparing the two), and it felt way too overtly like a setup book for the remaining trilogy. I didn't find Zoe, the protagonist, likab...more
Jamie Mason
If you survived the end of the world, what would you become? Surely you don't imagine you'd remain the very same you, the you that you've come to know and love (and self-loathe at intervals.) Would you become a hero? A hermit? Or perhaps a looter, or a lunatic?

What is there left after every achievement you've gained in life becomes meaningless and you're stranded on the ashy other side of all you've ever known? Once someone (or something) has pushed the reset button on civilization, who will you...more
Cole Alpaugh
You slip into the first pages of WHITE HORSE and are so overwhelmed by the beauty of the writing that you barely notice the horrific events unfolding. Imagine writing that dances across incestuous rape and the noise of cats lapping decomposing human flesh and still makes you want to cry for the beauty of the words. Alex Adams is that good. Her writing leaves you ready to challenge anyone to find a better paragraph, a better page from any of the great authors. It is writing that creates a dilemma...more
White Horse is the first novel in the White Horse trilogy and shares the beginning of a post-apocalyptic dystopian world and its downfall. It is dark, gritty, and eerily real. Adam shares with us the many facets of man at his best and worst. She immediately captured my attention with her riveting world-building and her raw, fleshed out characters. This tale immediately made me think of the Passage by John Cronin and the awesomeness I felt while embarking on that journey. Within the first few pag...more

[This review can also be found on Bookwanderer!]

Alex Adams' White Horse came galloping out of the herd of dystopian fiction earlier this year, accompanied by lots of positive reviews and buzz. I took a bet on it, but unfortunately, for me, what I had taken for a White Horse was, in actuality, a bob-tailed nag.

(Okay, more horse puns.)

While it initially seemed like a promising example of a post-apocalypse novel, I ended up finishing White Horse solely for the reveals. Even when reading s...more
Chris Blocker
For the first 100 pages, White Horse was well on its way to being a five star read. That's not to say it didn't have problems, it did. * But the story was entertaining. The structure was highly effective. The tale of two girls, one blind, trying to make it in this post-apocalyptic landscape worked well. It was The Road meets The Hunger Games. %

The next hundred pages the book dropped to a 4 for me. My patience was beginning to wane. Too many convenient events coming together. A fight, an explosi...more
L.M. Ironside
I grew up in a very religious family that was, to state things mildly, a little obsessed about "the End Times." Being constantly immersed in a culture of anticipating the Apocalypse with glee did something of a number on my head, a trauma which even well into my skeptical and atheistic adulthood can sometimes still rear up and give me a case of the cold sweats or worse. That's why it took me four months to finish this book: because it's so vividly written that I found myself having to put it dow...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

The first in a planned trilogy, it’s a stream of consciousness styled apocalyptic tale with alternating timeframes. The novel features an illness that horrifically decimates and changes the human population, and an intriguing mythic thread with a heroine’s journey - where a young survivor travels on a heartfelt mission to find the father of her unborn child.

About: Zoe is strong, intelligent and reflective. In transition, she is working at a local resea...more
Flora Bateman
I received this courtesy of FirstReads.

This was one of those books that I really had trouble putting down once I started it. I love dystopias and apocolyptic type books and this fit those categories perfectly.

Zoe is a janitor in a pharmaceutical company when one day all the mice at work dies and she comes home to find a mysterious jar in her apartment. Things tend to go downhill for Zoe after that. People start dying from a mysterious disease. Its later learned that if you didn't die from this d...more
Feb 06, 2014 Samrat rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Samrat by: librarian at Boylston Public Library
Sometimes people ask me why I read young adult books. I mean, there's this sense that you read books for children when you're a child and then you progress to middle grade chapter books and young adult and you move on to things from the proper fiction and nonfiction shelves by the time you're out of college. At some point, I know should graduate to staid biographies and home repair manuals and Moby Dick or some shit. But then I read something shelved for adults and I remember why I don't.

So many...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
I have to tell you that this novel pulled me in from page one and held me to the very last page. Adams writes a story of a post apocalyptic time. I could not help but wonder the whole time I was reading what I would do if I woke up one day and had to face what Zoe, the main character, had to face. She is powerful and her experiences are graphic, unsettling and simply irresistible. This page turning novel takes you not only on a journey of survival, but a journey of the human condition when faced...more
Chris Bauer
"White Horse" by Alex Adams is one of the best books I've read this year. I have to give the book 4.5 stars for a couple of minor points at the end of this post.

The overall writing style is absolutely top notch with gobs of original and evocative prose. The story is a familiar one among contemporary writers; post-collapse survival, hazardous journeys and perils at every turn. But there are several key elements in this work which make it stand out, head and shoulders above the rest. Think of Corm...more
Luanne Ollivier
My secret passion is dystopian fiction. I usually indulge myself with young adult offerings, but the opening lines of Alex Adams' adult debut novel White Horse drew in and had me settled into my favourite reading nook (for a very long time)

"When I wake, the world is still gone. Only fragments remain. Pieces of places and people who were once whole."

I am always intrigued by what authors imagine our future might be.

Our protagonist is Zoe - a young widow who works as a cleaner at Pope Pharmaceutica...more
The world is in ruins after a disease has killed most of the planet and a young woman is in search to find her love while everyone around her is dying of a mystery virus...yada yada yada. It's your basic post-apocalyptic, everyone-is-dead-or-dying story. Love the premise. The darker the better. And this one is dark...lots of people's great. It cleverly goes back and forth between the "Then", when everything started going to hell, and the "Now", where our heroine travels halfway across t...more
I just want those of you that read my blog regularly know that this is not my regular fare. But I had to post my review here because I know a lot of you do read adult fiction. This is a book that shows an apocalypse before during and after. Something that's so frighteningly realistic that I wonder that it hasn't happened yet or if it will happen in my life time. The people are dying so rapidly that they have to burn the bodies. A war was being fought but it was forgotten when the sickness came o...more
“White Horse”
Alex Adams

“White Horse” is the story of thirty-eight year old Zoe, a janitor at Pope Pharmaceuticals, who leads an ordinary life until the President of the United States announces that humans are no longer a viable species and the end of the world is at hand. Zoe sees everyone she loves disappear in the disease, war and completely crazy weather destroys the world and the people in it. Zoe starts running and ends up in a farmhouse in what uses to be a farm in what used to be Italy....more
If White Horse brings to mind a knight in shining armor coming to rescue the princess you're far from what this book is all about. If White Horse brings to mind Taylor Swift's song you're even further from it than before & you might as well give up & just read the book to find out. I loved everything about this dystopian/post-apocalyptic story. Where other books about similar topics fail this one triumphs: Zoe, the protagonist is extremely likable & as you read you want her to surviv...more
...I kinda hate it when summaries misrepresent their book. Scratch that, I totally hate it. That might not reflect on the book's story or quality, but somewhere in he publishing process, someone made a decision to lie to potential readers. And then someone probably approved it.

So no, the book is not, as it would seem, about "everything is normal until BOOM the president announces we're all gonna die and now everyone is disappearing and we have to run or we'll never survive!"

The president doesn't...more
Kristina Rose
While the premise is relevant for the era we live in (if not played out at this point), the utter and complete fakeness and ridiculousness of the actual (mediocre) writing ruined the entire effect.

First, some sort of man made end of the world has finally come (about time!) and people are dropping dead everywhere, yet no one seems to feel the need to gather supplies or investigate what is going on. With people in this much denial, I would have been happy to let Darwin take over. People in general...more
L.E. Engler
Beautifully written, thrilling, chilling, terrifying, and engrossing, Zoe finds hope in a dying world, and maintains her humanity while horrors unfold around her. One woman's day to day survival in a world entering the Apocalypse is a timeless plot and certainly has been done before, but the way in which Adams wrote it flows smoothly, with excellent detail without bogging you down in too much back story. Adams jumps flawlessly from the Then to the Now. As the story slowly unfolds, we find out wh...more
White Horse
Alex Adams

The reader is thrown into a new world where chaos reigns, but humanity survives.
This novel tries to be a romantic novel and succeeds if the reader can identify romance in a Post-apocalyptic world.

White Horse is the name that has been given to a plague that has wiped out millions and of humans. There are three types of people left in the world, the dead, the dying, and those that may be immune from the White Horse disease.

Thirty-year-old Zoe is one of the immune. She led an o...more
So where to start - ok I think the first thing is to say that a lot better people and reviewers have commented about this book so if you are after a hint at what this book is like I suggest you read them I doubt I can do them any other justice than to let them say their piece.
But what do I think - well I am not sure and let me explain why. I struggle with books which try and present a moral superior person, even the best of us gets angry and traffic jams and shop check outs - so when you see a...more
Damien Walters
This story is woven like a tapestry. Threads combine to paint a picture of the dystopian world the main character lives in now and the world she left behind. Gorgeous, poetic writing. Beautifully dark story. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Dark Faerie Tales
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Dark and utterly terrifying. White Horse is the disturbing tale of Zoe as she journeys with the last vestiges of hope in a death riddled world.

Opening Sentence: Look at me: I don’t want my therapist to think I’m crazy.

The Review:

The end of the world begins with a jar. A jar that mysteriously shows up in Zoe’s tightly secured apartment. The jar just sits on a table in middle of her living room. She stares at it in wonder. She doesn’t touch it...more
This is Book One of a post-apocalyptic trilogy for adults. It’s quite dark, and yet echoes of humanity shed occasional light on an otherwise bleak landscape. The story is told in alternating sections of “then” (before the apocalyptic events) and “now” – both in Zoe Marshall’s voice.

In “now,” ninety percent of the world’s population is dead, killed in part by a virus, the source for which we don’t learn until close to the end of the book. (The virus is called “White Horse” by a televangelist to l...more
Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books)

I love pandemic stories. Call it morbid fascination but to me pandemics really are the most likely scenario for global breakdown of society. The author Alex Adams paints a world slowly being ravaged by a disease called White Horse. This isn't your normal plague, no this one attacks at a genetic level. For those not immune from white horse they are left with two options either die miserably or suffer mutations that range from growing second hearts, scales, or even fins and that's if your l...more
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Alex Adams was born in New Zealand, raised in Greece and Australia, and currently lives in Oregon--which is a whole lot like New Zealand, minus those freaky-looking wetas. Her debut novel, White Horse (Emily Bestler Books/Atria) hits shelves April 17, 2012. Her fingers are crossed that the world won't end before then.
More about Alex Adams...
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“How do you file a restraining order against sadness?” 14 likes
“My two best friends are dead, which means they're great listeners now, but lousy as far as support goes.” 7 likes
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