White Horse (White Horse #1)
by Alex Adams
Summary: 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.
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. The entire premise was right up my alley and there were so many aspects about it that appealed to me, but I also found myself uninterested while reading.
The book is separated into Then and Now moments that go back and forth. In the Now, Zoe is in Europe after the apocalypse. In the Then, she starts seeing a therapist in America at home back when the world was normal. The lay out drove me absolutely nuts. I suppose I didn’t like Zoe’s Now because I didn’t understand the point of her journey and I had to wait until the Now sections gave me more information to go on, which took forever. The whole pace was slow and excruciating. The tone felt very similar to YA novels, yet the events and themes were very much adult. Instead of fitting well for me, since I love YA and adult themes, it clashed terribly and made it hard for me to really get into it. Zoe’s voice was very weird for me and I had trouble understanding who she was as a person.
The synopsis makes the book sound so amazing and profound and now that I’m done reading, I suppose it was. But Zoe was never “running” in the Now. She was on a slow and weird journey. The Then and Now and the events in both time periods didn’t connect until just about the very end. Whenever movies or books or stories of any kind of told out of order, I always feel like there should be a very good reason and it should add to the story. If it can be told in order and be just as good or better, in my opinion it should be told in order. White Horse should have been told in order. I would have rather had more predictable moments in the Now after hearing about certain incidents in the Then instead of being utterly confused and not understanding why certain scenes mattered.
The layout really bothered me and made it excruciating to read at times. With that being said, the story really was great and now that I’m done, I can appreciate every aspect of it. There were some profound moments and I felt like Zoe grew as a person and tried to understand the world around her. There were many poetic moments dealing with revelations about religion and humanity. But it was slow going and I’m not really sure if I even like her character. I feel sliced in half after reading it because I’m still trying to connect the Then and Now in a coherent order in my mind.
I usually dislike when people rate books lower based on not having all the pieces to the puzzles laid out in front of them because I feel like reading should be challenging and a book shouldn’t give away all of its secrets at once. In the case of White Horse, I can’t help but feeling like I was missing far too many pieces of the past to appreciate Zoe’s post apocalyptic journey.
I’m giving White Horse 3 stars because even though I didn’t enjoy reading it, the story was amazing and well written. If it had been told in order, it probably would have gotten 5 stars from me, even with Zoe’s character and narration. I don’t know if I’d recommend this book and I have no idea if I’d continue the series.