by Alex Adams
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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.
This is an adult book!
I do not recommend this for teens at all due to very adult content!!
You have been warned.
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 on hard and fast and those that came home, came home to no one. Zoe for some reason along with a small portion of the population is immune to the sickness. And when everyone she loves, cares about, dies, she decides to go in search of the one person who may or may not be alive that means something to her.
Zoe is determined. God is she determined. And she has hope. She doesn't believe in God. She thinks he's left them all. But the hope she has, that is what keeps her going. Hope. Four little letters but they have such strength in them for her. They help her rescue a blind girl from a rapist. Help her escape monsters, drowning. When she is too tired to walk she keeps walking. She finds companionship with the most unique living things. And hope is what helps her believe that somehow she'll reach her destination. That's a whole lot of hope.
I did not feel very hopeful reading this novel. I was pretty sure humans were done for and most of the time I thought Zoe was going to die. Do not read this if you're depressed. It isn't uplifting even if Zoe has a lot of hope. It doesn't spill over. Adams throws one hurdle after another in front of Zoe until she seems to be superwoman to be able to continue. There is no time to mourn or hold hands and have a pity party. She's likely to be killed. Keep moving forward. That's Zoe's motto and she does, no matter who her companions may be. I sat here and read this straight through not stopping for meals, children, dogs or phone calls. I could not put it down. It was gripping and totally consuming. I had to know if Zoe made it, if all that hope was for nothing, if all the monsters were bad, if she'd find anyone at the end of her journey. I promise, despite it's graphic sexual violence (and you do finally understand it) and the general doom that comes with an apocalypse you will not be able to put this book down. It is an unbelievable story. It was almost too much for one book and I think I"ll have to read it again to absorb it. But when I read the last line of the novel I immediately wanted the next book in the series (this is a planned trilogy).
The story is written in a "Then" and "Now" type of timeline and that works very well for the story. It doesn't give away too much up front nor does it keep us too much in the dark. The wording was a little jarring at times. "Horns are the spice sprinkled over relentless traffic. Bodies form an organic conveyor belt constantly grinding along the sidewalks." (p.14ARC) I had to pause and read these sentences a couple of times because they didn't read easy. There are many sentences like that and it took a while to get used to her way of writing. It's unique and I like it, but unusual. But as I said, I read the almost 300 page book in less than a day so it didn't bother me too much!
I highly recommend this novel, a strong start in the series, to anyone that enjoys apocalyptic stories.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.