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The White Oak

(Imperfect Darkness #1)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  55 reviews
This book is currently out of print.
ebook, 136 pages
Published April 9th 2012 by Story Machine Studio (first published April 7th 2012)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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I had pretty high hopes for this book, because of the beautiful cover and the amazing blurb I saw on NetGalley. But I must say that it let me down a little.

The White Oak plunges straight into the story--in a good way, of course, and I started out quite intrigued by the uniqueness of the whole plot (I mean, it isn't every day you fall into a sinkhole and come out alive in the underworld, right?). I was impressed at the author's ability to
This is a story of a girl with a difficult family history–to put it mildly–who enters the underworld alive through the gateway of the White Oak. As you can imagine, a living person in the world of the dead can cause quite a stir.

I haven't read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, but I imagine that's the sort of effect Kim White was aiming for. Cora's journey to and through the underworld is imaginative warping of old legends but the method of storytelling leaves something to be desired.

The tex
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm not usually one for super technical fantasy stories. I like fantasy but I'm not usually attracted to the "sci" part of sci-fi. However, I had heard such great things about this book that I decided to give it a try and at first I really liked it. About 1/4th of the way in, though, it lost me. With that beautiful cover and the plot's mythological theme I really wanted to love this book, but it was just a little too strange and the plot seemed to be so convoluted at some points that I felt lik ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of YA fantasy, esp. based upon mythology
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Book Info: Genre: Fantasy/Mythology Reading Level: Young Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook eGalley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In The White Oak, the first book in the Imperfect Darkness series, Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuilt it, trapping human souls in a mechanical, computer-controlled c
Nerine Dorman
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
From the outset, the premise of Kim White’s The White Oak grabbed me but, as I read, I found myself a bit torn over how I felt about the style of the storytelling. The gist of the novel is that the main character, Cora, falls in the Underworld through a sinkhole during her father’s funeral. This understandably upsets the order of things for the despotic ruler, Minos, and Cora, aided by the many-faced Minotaur and Sybil, the librarian embarks on a journey to escape.

What would have improved the na
Wicked ♥  (Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess
Wickedly Bookish Reviews

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Greek Mythology when Teenager Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole during her abusive father's funeral and finds herself in the Underworld! Together with her strange and not entirely trustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must navigate the Underworld to find her genius brother Lucas. But what's a living girl to do in the land of the dead?

The White Oak suffers from a raw narrative riddled with short,
Lisa Mandina
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
First thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this egalley.
Now, I really have been getting into stories about the underworld lately. So this sounded like a unique new take on it.
As other reviewers have said, the story jumps right in from the first page. The main character is Cora and she and her family are sucked into a sinkhole as they surround her father's casket at a funeral for him. Her father was a mean, abusive man. And now all Cora can think is that not only did he terrorize her in life,
Lilith Black Bee
May 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't like to say that I disliked a book. Not going to say now. I abstain from not say. But I'm very disappointed. After describing the book, I expected something more ... I don't know... to little more adventure, something more involved, in any case.

The idea of mythology and science that the author wanted to use it, I really liked, had made me curious. I thought in what way could weave these two opposing subjects to create an attractive, with plenty of action.

The first part of the book, more
I would like to write more than I will about this novel, but con­sid­er­ing how short it felt to me and that most of what I’d like to say is prob­a­bly con­sid­ered spoiler-territory I’ll keep to the basics this time.

“Sto­ries are struc­tured as we wish our lives were, with a begin­ning, a mid­dle, and an end; with mean­ing and pur­pose; with a trans­for­ma­tion from dark­ness to under­stand­ing. When we read a book, we look for­ward to the end-we race toward it. We want to know what hap­pens, a
Anika Claire
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, ya
This review was originally posted at The Oaken Bookcase, along with an interview with Kim White.

The White Oak certainly begins with a bang, with Cora falling into the Underworld and starting her terrifying adventure right from the first page.

Cora must venture across the River Tartarus and into the city of the dead to rescue her twin brother and find her way out again. The story is a whirlwind of adventure, with Cora flung from one adventure to the next. It’s never clear what will come next – I l
Kam Karem
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fast paced and full of mythology, The White Oak is a great epic fantasy. Combining Greek mythology and modern tec into a fascinating cast of characters, this book will appeal to both traditional and futuristic fantasy lovers, and even the Percy Jackson crowd.

Cora falls into a sinkhole caused by the collapse of a tree. She survives and becomes the only living being in Asphodel or purgatory. The novel follows her on her quest to save her brother and escape, and along the way she learns about fate
Kat (Why Read)
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
“Sto­ries are struc­tured as we wish our lives were, with a begin­ning, a mid­dle, and an end; with mean­ing and pur­pose; with a trans­for­ma­tion from dark­ness to under­stand­ing. When we read a book, we look for­ward to the end-we race toward it. We want to know what hap­pens, and we want all the loose threads tied up so that we can feel reas­sured that there is a grand design, because our real lives often feel ran­dom and meaningless.” This was my favorite quotable moment from The White Oa ...more
Awesome Indies Book Awards
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE WHITE OAK by KIM WHITE in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at ...more

This was an enjoyable read for the most part and is an excellent introduction (to younger readers) on mythology.

Book was action packed from the beginning to end which is generally a good thing but due to so much action occurring it does not leave much room for character development.

Cora Alexander, our protagonist, is very much your independent and quite surly heroine. She is a strong character and has good presence within the book. Due to the character’s age she does come across as quite imm
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is not your typical YA fantasy fiction novel. While it does possess some of the subject matter and themes commonly found in the young-adult genre, Book One of Kim White’s Imperfect Darkness series: The White Oak is a complex narrative that reads more like an epic than a novella.

This innovative retelling of the myth of Persephone is multi-layered, multi-dimensional and captivating from the very start. The story features a cast of compelling characters and is illuminated by several shifting
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can find this review and many more on my blog Dining with The Muses

The best thing about this book was the novelty of the plot. I found it refreshingly original and I have to say I'm impressed by the author's ability to come up with something that's different, blend it with cyber punk, and make it work.

I admit I'm used to slow readings, so much so that I've also developed this bad habit of not paying attention during the initial paragraphs. I'm reading, yes, and I'm registering the names and
Gretchen Hohmeyer
This review originally appeared on my blog, My Life is a Notebook. This review is of an advanced review copy received from NetGalley.

Wow, where to start with this book? Let me to just mention that reading this book andIlluminate by Aimee Agresti at the same time was WEIRD. Illuminate, as I said, went very, very slow. The White Oak, on the other hand?


From page one, this book throws you right into the action. Every page from there on out always
Philippa (Tea in the Treetops)
This review was originally posted on Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on the 9th April 2012.

3.5 Stars

"After years of pretending at emotions, he'd grown to appreciate their mystery, their chaos and randomness. Sometimes they were predictable, one-dimensional, almost stupid - other times they were so confounding, complex, and exquisite that he was convinced humans really were as special as they thought themselves to be."

The White Oak is a dark and interesting tale that takes well known greek myths mixe
Kristin (Young Adult Book Haven)
My Thoughts:

I received this book through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for review.

The White Oak was definitely a fast paced book, being only 200 pages you jumped right into the action with no time to waste. Kim White has created a complex and interesting new world that along with Cora Alexander you get to explore.
Cora and Lucas Alexander are the closest siblings that I have read about in a while. Best friends who are dealing with a life that no child should have to deal with. Growing
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 3.75

Cora Alexander thought that all her problems were over: her abusive father was finally gone and she and her twin brother, Lucas, were finally left to peace. What she didn’t know was that her father was bringing her down with him, as well as Lucas. They knew that the ground underneath the White Oak, the locations of her father’s burial, was riddled with caves, which Cora and Lucas had explored all throughout their childhood. When the ground collapsed, her entire family was sent
Eve (Functioning Insanity Reviews)
The White Oak by Kim White

So I would like to thank Netgalley and Story Machine Studio for letting me read this ARC. This is the blurb on Netgalley provided with a beautiful cover:

In The White Oak, the first book in the Imperfect Darkness series, Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuild it, trapping human souls in a mechanical compute
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Cora Alexander's life is forever changed when she falls into a sinkhole during her father's funeral and lands in the Underworld still alive. This, of course, upsets the balance of the Underworld and the rule of Minos and the judges, who control the realm with an iron fist and have turned it into a computer-generated world full of shades. With the help of her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must journey through the realm to find a way to return to the world above.

That is the book in a nutshel
May 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Review also posted on my blog

*The publisher provided me with this book for review, via Netgalley*

The White Oak by Kim White really is a bizarre little book. It is a strange cross between Alice in Wonderland, Coralline and Pan’s Labyrinth. I like weird and wonderful things and so this book was right up my alley.
The storyline is quite simply inspired. I loved the originality of the underworld Cora finds herself in. It was dark, dreary and miserable. Grim, dangerous and unsavoury just as an underw
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was another of my recent reads that was nothing as I expected. It's a very interesting mix of mythology, science fiction and reminds me of a darker version of Alice in Wonderland. When I say "darker" I mean, darker in color, physically, and also dark in tone. While AIW is twisted in it's own way and has darker moments, and Cora's journey is also one of confusion and solitude, despite being surrounded with many people and "things" (for lack of a better term), The White Oak's setting in ...more
Danyelle Leafty
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookshelf-2012
My rating for the storytelling itself is 4 stars, and my overall satisfaction (minus storytelling) is 2 stars.

The first thing that drew me to this book was the gorgeous cover. And after sampling the first few paragraphs, I felt the voice would be a good fit. And it was--storytelling-wise. I don't really *know* the characters, but something in the story was compelling enough to hook me and keep me reading. The story itself reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland meets Persephone meets Dante's id
Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books)
*I was given this book to review through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for them.

Cora our heroine is getting ready to bury her recently deceased father at the beginning of the book. Her twin brother Lucas decides they should bury him under a massive oak situated on the property. Suddenly the Earth gives way and Lucas and Cora are plunged into a massive sinkhole. Cora manages to find her way out and somehow finds herself in the underworld but the kicker is
Lovey Dovey Books
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books.

The White Oak took me by surprise in the way that Kim White wastes no time in starting the action of the story from the very first page. The beginning of the story also tells me a lot about Cora Alexander and her background story. I see how she feels about her family; her love for her brother and anger at the rest. Telling us about Cora during her descent to the Underworld was a clever way for us to see what she’s all about; the decisions she makes througho
Neyra ♦
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-pnr
Actual Rating: 3.5

On the day of her father's funeral, Cora Alexander and her brother Lucas fall through a sinkhole leaving Lucas dead, and Cora in the Underworld, alive! How Cora survived and her brother did not is still a mystery, and something I wish would have been clarified, so here's to hoping that book two contains that information.

I liked the idea to this book. The concept is definitely intriguing and completely different from anything I've ever read before. Imagine the Underworld, r
Tahlia Newland
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
If you enjoy nightmares and Greek mythology with a modern twist, you’ll love The White Oak. It’s dark, imaginative and creepy.

The main character Cora falls through a sinkhole into the underworld, but she’s still alive in a world of the dead. The question is, how can she get out? Not only is the way out not obvious, but also her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos, who keeps souls trapped in a computer controlled city at the core of the earth. Minotaur, an artificial intelligen
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Reading this book made me feel the way they portray taking drugs on television. You're in one place, then things get shimmery, then you're someplace else and how no idea why, then somewhere else, then somewhere else, then the first place again, then you wake up and have no idea what just happened. Does that even make sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is that The White Oak left me dazed and confused. Cora travels around the Underworld, but nothing is explained, so I had no idea what events an ...more
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Kim White is the author of: Scratching for Something, and Diurnal.

Her work has been anthologized in: Short: An International Anthology of Five Centuries of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms. Her poems and stories have appeared in literary journals: NANO Fiction, Chain, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Quarto, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, and Sojou

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“Sto­ries are struc­tured as we wish our lives were, with a begin­ning, a mid­dle, and an end; with mean­ing and pur­pose; with a trans­for­ma­tion from dark­ness to under­stand­ing. When we read a book, we look for­ward to the end-we race toward it. We want to know what hap­pens, and we want all the loose threads tied up so that we can feel reas­sured that there is a grand design, because our real lives often feel ran­dom and meaningless.”
“Are you say­ing that real life has no design or meaning?”
“No, I’m say­ing that the design is too com­pli­cated to know except in bursts of insight, and as for mean­ing… well, mean­ing is all we really have.”
“They will be the architects of my fate, I think to myself, despite what Sybil said about my being the author of my own destiny.” 1 likes
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