Heather's Reviews > The White Forest

The White Forest by Adam McOmber
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really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, twenty-twelve, historical-fiction, reviewed

I'm surprised that a male author chose to write this particular type of story. He has a good feel for the female perspective. If I hadn't already known that the author was a man I may not have been able to tell. Not that he writes women perfectly because even some women find that difficult but he definitely has insight.

Reading this reminded me of "A Great and Terrible Beauty" in a lot of ways. I don't want to take away from this story by comparing it to another but there are a lot of parallels to Libba Bray's novel that I think are worth mentioning:

A motherless daughter whose mother was lost because of the same 'gift' that troubles the daughter.

A distant father who is too tangled in his own grief to help his daughter.

A boy/man who is somewhat out of reach because of class difference and interested in the heroines gift.

False friends the heroine accepts because of her outsider status and loneliness. Friends who take advantage to fulfill their own desires.

In both instances it is what in the end gives the heroine the autonomy to act as she chooses and eventually makes it possible to sever all ties.

I think an opportunity was missed to explore Jane's 'gift.' I would've enjoyed the story much more had the focus been on Jane's journey and the discovery of her strength rather than have the plot be driven by her desire to find Nathan someone I don't believe deserved her loyalty. I was constantly angry on her behalf at her treatment by people who should have been her friends. I disliked both Nathan and Maddy greatly and I think it was in part due to the fact that they were so well drawn. I felt like I wasted a lot of energy getting indignant at Nathan and Maddy's behavior and hoping that they would prove me wrong eventually.

The writing was atmospheric without being too descriptive and was full of wonderful detail that really brought the scenes to life. I normally don't like when stories get carried away describing dreams or visions because it can muddle my sense of reality when I'm reading. Tell me whats really happening or tell me that the character is dreaming and leave it at that. The author managed to balance the reality and unreality in a way that managed to not be confusing. I loved the mythology of the 'Lady of the Flowers' and I liked the slow way the myth was revealed to the reader in the passages of Nathan's journal.

I wanted to give this novel three stars instead of four because I felt that the ending was unsatisfying. But I didn't because I the book was four stars up until that point. Everything connected together flawlessly in the end but Jane's final decision still bothers me. On the one hand it is calculated to keep the balance I suppose but it seemed a little too much like giving up. Not a single character got what they wanted and a lot of them I felt were left with big unanswered questions that only the reader had the answers to. That of course is just my personal opinion and is no reflection on the overall quality of the book. I greatly enjoyed reading this and recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys this particular genre of book.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers through First Reads.
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Reading Progress

August 9, 2012 – Shelved
August 9, 2012 – Shelved as: first-reads
August 16, 2012 – Started Reading
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: twenty-twelve
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
August 16, 2012 –
page 98
32.34%
August 18, 2012 –
page 129
42.57%
August 20, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 25, 2012 – Shelved as: reviewed

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Heather First Reads!


Adam Thanks for reading, Heather!


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