Sunday, 29 September 2013

White Horse - Alex Adams

I hesitate to write about White Horse, because I didn't actually finish it. It came right before my reading and enthusiasm-of-any-sort slump, and I'm not sure whether I hated it so much because I was starting to Whomp, or if I started to Whomp because I hated it so much. Chicken and egg, really.

I do know, at least, that the book played a sizable part in my hatred of it. Because, while the story was cool and I was motivated by the mystery to keep turning the pages, the writing forced me to put it down. Here's the blurb because I can't be bothered:

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 defined not 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.

We alternate between Then and Now, learning -- through Zoe -- about the events that lead up to this particular apocalypse and how humans are dealing with the aftermath. I wanted to find out what happened to cause the catastrophe, I wanted to see the full scope of what the world had become, and that's where the anger came from: all of the interesting details were buried in weak similes beyond counting. Seriously, every other sentence. And now I'm angry at myself for not writing any of them down. I did note that even the strands of writing without similes weren't exactly breathtaking, including such gems as "How do you file a restraining order against sadness?"


The silver lining on this bummer is that White Horse is a debut novel and the first in a trilogy. I think the simile attacks come from a lack of confidence, like when someone tells a story and ends every sentence with "You know?" or an upward inflection. With time, maybe Adams will be able to get out the way and just show the readers this world she's created, without over explaining ever detail. Not sure I'll be the one to find that out, though.

14 comments:

  1. Oh brother, that Liz Lemon gif is exactly how big my eyeroll was when I read that restraining order line.

    I always struggle with debut authors and how much rope to give them. Are they just jittery first-time authors who should be excused for cliché writing nerves or should they really get a pass given it's a professionally published book with editors who should have called that stuff out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There aren't enough eyeroll GIFs in the world.

      It's so tough, debut authors. Because I can't write and so I feel that I can't judge. But DUDES. That was rough.

      Delete
  2. HOW DO YOU FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST SADNESS

    I'm gonna start using that as my default reply to things. I appreciate that you read any of this just so you could deliver that line to us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'm sorry, but our espresso machine is down."

      "HOW DO YOU FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST SADNESS?"

      Delete
    2. Like. Like this so much

      Delete
  3. Wait, is the president not a human? I started doing the LL eye-roll when reading the blurb. Of course you already said this book may have caused the Whomps so I think I was primed for eye rolls

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had written a reply to you, and instead of hitting "Publish" I hit "Sign out." Now I want to use that "How do you file a restraining order..." line again.

      Delete
    2. Blerg. Except you can totally use that line again. Although the espresso machine comment is pretty much my favorite thing of the day

      Delete
  4. What I promptly did after reading this post was go to Goodreads and scoff at the people who rated it 4 or 5 stars. Look at THOSE idiots. Psh.

    Debut authors are frightening. Because sometimes you get a Rainbow Rowell...and sometimes you get a Christopher Paolini.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I ALSO scoffed when I went to grab the blurb and saw those ratings. Different strokes and junk.

      I have not read Christopher Paolini and now I'm super curious. *googles* Wait, his writing was no good and yet he got his book made into a movie?!

      Delete
    2. Didn't Paolini write the first Eragon book at like 14? Although I think it was also published because his parents owned the publishing company. Nepotism yo.

      Delete
    3. Yes...correct. BUT THEY WERE SO HORRIBLY WRITTEN. And they were also kind of LOTR rip-offs.

      Delete
  5. Woooooooow... *looks shiftily at this book and pushes it over to one side* *not that I actually have it...* *I've actually just confused myself*

    Anyway. I feel like this is one of those cases where you've done us a public service and read a bad book so we don't have to, and for that I thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's my duty as a book blogger to read a stinker every now and then.

      Delete

Talk to me, internets.