Thursday, June 6, 2013

White Horse - Alex Adams (Audio)

Who doesn't love a good apocalyptic story now and again?  It seems like lately they are all the rage, and some of them end up being more of a story about angsty YA love triangles, and others are the real deal, reminiscent of "The Stand" and "The Road". Based on the reviews, it sounded like this story fell into the second category, so I decided to give it a shot.

Uniquely, I had both a print copy (a gift from Carrie at Books and Movies) and an audio copy, so I was able to jump back and forth and experience both types of media and read it twice as fast!

Synopsis:  Not long before the end of the world came, 30 year-old Zoe finds an ancient jar that was mysteriously left in her apartment.  Who left it there and what is inside?  The jar haunts her dreams, and preoccupies her mind during her daily life as a cleaning lady for Pope Pharmaceuticals.  Soon after, people begin dying of flu-like symptoms, including Zoe's friends and family.  Wars break out, and the weather has been re-engineered until it is out of control.  The earth is eventually home for those who were immune, and those who were changed.

With nothing left to lose, Zoe takes off on an Odyssian journey to find the man she loves.  Is he even still alive?  Zoe's not sure but it is worth a shot.  On the way she encounters enemies and allies, both changed and unchanged, and one particular homicidal stalker that will not leave her alone.  Through her encounters she gradually learns of the origin of the virus that decimated mankind, and it dawns on Zoe that good and evil can be found in the most unlikely places.

My thoughts:  I mentioned "The Stand" and "The Road" at the beginning of this post, and indeed this novel has quite a bit in common with them.  This is dark stuff, with little time for fanciful flirtations or fun and games.  There are food shortages, lecherous men with "urges" that must be satisfied, and genetic mutants that wouldn't think twice before maiming and killing another human.

Zoe is a serious woman with quite a bit of personal baggage before going into the apocalypse, but she is a fighter and she is determined - a worthy heroine and someone you want to win.  She is what gives this bleak story hope.

The story moves back and forth in time from "Then" to "Now"...no dates to keep track of, just simply before the plague and after.  It all transitions fairly smoothly, and both narratives were equally compelling and well-paced.

I did think the writing was average, and there were holes in the story that left me a little confused.  Some of the physics and logistics of this world-ending business wasn't as tightly constructed as I would have liked.  Perhaps it will be filled in with the next two installments of the series?  I also thought the evil Swiss stalker was over-the-top obnoxious, almost a parody.  He reminded me of Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees...he just WOULDN'T GO AWAY!!!  I couldn't take the character seriously.

I was actually surprised to learn that there will be two more installments after this one.  I liked the ending, and was happy with that final note in my head.  Do I want more?  I'm not sure.

A few words about the audio production:  The narrator for this audio was Emily Durante, who is a veteran in this business but a new voice for me.  She was pleasant to listen to and made the experience a good one, with the small exception of her portrayal of the crazy Swiss guy.  Her accent and intonations made him seem more over the top!

Listening length:  10 hours and 15 minutes (320 pages)

3.5 out of 5 stars


10 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with much of what you thought and actually wasn't crazy about this one UNTIL the ending, and then I loved that I was gobsmacked. LOVE being gobsmacked! But although I will probably read the next, I don't feel COMPELLED to read it....

Beth F said...

I liked this one better immediately after reading it -- that last line is a zinger. But now, months later, I barely remember it or even care about it.

Gina R said...

Glad the swapping between media formats helped in lieu of hindered. AS for me, I'm a paper/text sorta girl...audio just doesn't cut it for me; the soundtrack in my head is too loud. ^_^ As for the story, sounds interesting but alas not for me...I do have a friend or two that would happily add it to their wish lists. Off to recommend. Thanks for the share!

bermudaonion said...

Well gee, I almost feel like I need to read it to discover that last line Jill and Candace are talking about.

Meg @ write meg! said...

I'm intrigued by end-of-the-world/plague stories, but I'm always worried they'll put too many ideas in my head! (I get freaked out enough in my day-to-day life.) Still, this sounds like an interesting story -- though perhaps I'd be better off with The Road at first?

Carrie said...

Yeah, I'm not sure if I want to continue the series, either - I was happy with the ending.

Jackie Bailey said...

Oh no! I had this pencilled in as a fantastic book. Sorry to hear you didn't like it that much. I may still get to it at some point as I am a bit intrigued

Darlene said...

This sounds like one I'd like to listen to. I always find that books that will be a series leave so many holes. It's annoying but a lot of times it gets you picking up the next one.

Iliana said...

I really enjoy apocalyptic/dystopian type books and this one does sound pretty interesting. I like that it is grim - I mean, the world is ending! But, I think I would be concerned about the weird Swiss character.

Julie P. said...

I think I've seen very mixed reviews about this one.