The White Oak (Imperfect Darkness #1)
by Kim White
Summary: 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 city that lies at the core of the earth. To survive, Cora must rely on her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, an artificial intelligence built by Minos. She is helped by a mysterious voice, and by Sybil, underworld librarian and author of each person's book of life. Sybil's collection holds the key to humankind's intertwined life stories. When Cora's own book is destroyed, Sybil gives her a magical golden pen and sends her to the underworld city to write her own destiny. Along the way, Cora finds the ghost of her dead brother, Lucas, a genius programmer who alone is capable of finding the chink in Minos's armor. But will he be able to get Cora out alive, or will they both succumb to the seemingly inescapable underworld trap?
This book was really good. From the very first sentence, I was hooked. Not only was it well written, it was completely unpredictable and creative. Cora enters what seems like a technologically advanced version of the Underworld. I’m a huge fan of mythology, so I was both satisfied and surprised by the adventure.
I thought Cora was a likable character, though not much was said about her family’s weird destiny. So much in this book was hinted at, but not fully explored. It wasn’t until I was finished that I realized it was the first book in a series and I wish I had the second, because I want to know what happens next. At the end of the book, I still had no idea who was trustworthy or what Cora needed to do to get out of the Underworld.
The fate of Cora’s brother, Lucas, is unknown, too. I am unsure how big of a part he is playing in Cora’s adventure.
I’m looking forward to reading more of this series to find out what Cora’s destiny is and if she can figure out who to trust and what to believe. I hope she figures out why she ended up where she is. I also hope to meet the person that keeps giving her advice inside of her head.
With amazing detail, creativity, and a plot that keeps you guessing, this is a must read in YA fantasy fiction. I loved it and definitely recommend it to others!