Chris Bauer's Reviews > White Horse

White Horse by Alex Adams
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's review
Jul 11, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 10 to 11, 2012

"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 Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" but with a less fatalistic tone, better prose, and stronger characters.

The characters in the book are positively VIVID and real. The primary protagonist, Zoe, is as authentic a character as any I've ever read. Strong yet compassionate, a pragmatic realist who never loses her humanity in a world of post humanism, the reader cannot help but be moved along with the plot.

The narrative plot twists and turns like a serpent from start to finish and is engrossing along the way. Adams takes the old adage of "make bad things happen to good characters...and then make it even worse" to heart in almost every chapter. I cannot rave enough about the pure mechanics and construction process of the plot. Really top shelf stuff.

Finally the author has a talent for mind-blowing prose. Word choice, syntactical symmetry and other points which far too few authors pay attention to are given (what I suspect is) great attention. Descriptions of burnt out cities, choked highways and the infrequent encampments of humanity are utterly chilling.

I had only two minor gripes / observations which prevented me from giving it a full 5 stars. I'm sort of a stickler when it comes to 5 star reviews.

1. Too many flashbacks, done too frequently: While the construction of the chapters led to a very satisfying closed loop wherein the past events meet and "catch up" with current narrative, I found the bursts of flashback content to be distracting at times. I think I understand why Adams chose to layout the chronology in that specific order so the narrative would work, but it was just a TAD too jumpy from time to time.

2. There were one or two coincidences in the last several chapters which strained credibility. Not to the breaking point, but brushing up against the ceiling of suspension of disbelief. What could've been a "holy crap WTF!" moment turned into "Awww. Come on." instead. No spoilers here. You have to read it to see what I mean.

One more thing. The final paragraph of the book sent shivers up and down my spine. That hasn't happened in a very long time...
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Courtney i also got shivers reading the last bit... amazing!!! :)

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