White Horse: A Novel

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White Horse: A Novel

by Alex Adams

Atria/Emily Bestler Books | November 5, 2012 | Hardcover

White Horse: A Novel is rated 3.8571 out of 5 by 7.
The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.

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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 in

Published: November 5, 2012

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451642997

ISBN - 13: 9781451642995

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark, Gritty and Disturbing Debut This review was originally posted on my book review blog http://j9books.blogspot.com. In her debut novel Alex Adams holds nothing back in a dystopia novel that will take you into the darkness of humanity. THEN: Zoe leads a fairly ordinary life that has had it share of hardships that she is struggling to get past. She is currently working at Pope Pharmaceuticals cleaning the floors and cages as it mundane work that keeps her busy. One day a strange container finds it way into her house, and she gets the feeling that will change everything in her life but does not know why. NOW: Zoe is struggling to survive in this new world where the humans are on the endangered species list, and there is not much hope of their survival. The disease known as White Horse has killed most of the world population and the majority of those who have not died have mutated into strange creature that now hunt the humans that still live. Zoe is traveling to her one last place of Hope a remote village in Greece, it is what she lives for, but things in the world have changed too much that there is no longer a place for hope. Travel with Zoe through her THEN and NOW experiences where the world changes around her and when everyone she loves dies, she struggles with keeping her own humanity when faced against people who have lost theirs and keeping her own Hope for life alive. I was completely engrossed with this book, I did not want to put it down, the story and characters just drew me in from the very beginning (though the the writing style takes a bit to get used to). However, I will be the first to say that this book is not for everyone. It shows the a darker side of humanity when the world is falling apart and people do what they feel they need to to survive, which does not always mean the right, sane, practical or human thing todo. This book is dark, gritty and disturbing with the events that unfold as well as the interaction between the characters. I think that Adams does a great job of setting the tone of the book within the first chapters and that you know going into the book that there are going to be some aspect that you will find disturbing and you may want/need to put it down. I enjoyed Zoe as a character the reader becomes invested in her as each event unfold both in the "Now" and "Then" segments within the book. You want her to succeed but there really is part of me that for awhile wondered if everything truly was in her head, the jar, the war, the end of the world (or as she liked to say the sky is falling). However, as the story progresses you realize that for all of Zoe's paranoia she has been her protection. You really get invested in Zoe as you learn more and more of her story as well as her never ending will to try to protect what is left of her own humanity. The world develops as Adams transfers back and forth between Zoe's Then and Now times in her life and it was an adjustment to get used to it. However, I like the two different worlds that Adams was able to set up within one book. People who do not like reading books where the time period changes will not enjoy this book as it goes back and forth between "Now" and "Then" constantly throughout the book, sometimes only after a paragraph has been written. I was surprised that this was the format that Adams chose to write her novel in, but I personally think that it fit the story-line. I think that there are a few aspects where Adams missed the mark. The new creatures that have developed because of the White Horse disease are never really fully explained or that there were different "types" of them. These creatures play a fairly big part in the book especially near the end and I was confused why there were differences between what they were like at the beginning and what they were like at the end and why this was never really explained. Additionally, the ending was a little too neat and cookie cutter for me. I was hoping Adams would maintain the darkness throughout the book even to the end, but I understand the need for some joy in Zoe's life and maybe just the need to wrap up the story, I am unsure. This book pulled me right in from the beginning and has set a new standard for dystopia type novels for me. Adams keeps the fine line between the darkness and light, but even that is flirted with regularly, therefore, as stated above this book is not for everyone, only for those who are venture into the darkness every now and then. Enjoy!!! Note: Please be aware, that within this novel there are depictions of violence, rape and sexual abuse of a teenager, and these events are not just hinted at, in some of the situations they are described.
Date published: 2013-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book! What amazing book. So well written and so moving. After war and disease destroys most of humanity, what happens to the survivors? I think what I like the most about this book was the feeling that came through. Everything was seen through Zoe, and everything was hallow, so fitting for an empty and dangerous world. But yet, there was so much emotion underlying everything. I devoured this book, read it every moment I could. I cannot believe this is her first book, and I anxiously await the next book.
Date published: 2013-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting & Refreshing The cover and title of the book is what caught my eye first off, then I started reading and thoroughly enjoyed the set up of the book. Adams uses a "Now" and "Then" approach to her character telling the story, allowing you to slowly piece the puzzle together and make you keep reading.I also enjoyed the way Adams paints a picture of the surroundings, really making you feel you are there. I had a hard time putting this book down, and look forward to the rest of the trilogy.
Date published: 2012-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A must for dystopian fans I was fully addicted to this book. I did not want to go to work, socialize, watch TV – anything. I just wanted to read it. This is a great example of quality dystopian lit. Alex Adams offers a great look into our society and what some of our potential downfalls could be. It was also nice to read a dystopia that wasn't focused on women's reproductive rights. Not that they aren't important, but it's nice to have some variety. White Horse felt very honest and authentic and because of that it may not be for the faint of heart. Nothing is sugar coated here. There are some pretty gruesome scenes (and characters – particularly The Swiss) but nothing that shouldn't be there. Everything here is necessary to the story. At no point did I feel like Alex Adams was trying to bulk up her story with unnecessary details. White Horse, is set up so that the timeline switches from then (in the immediate time following the release of the White Horse virus) to now (Zoe's current struggle). Alternating timelines are tricky to pull off but I think it works in this case. It kept me off kilter and confused which helped me relate to how the characters were feeling. It also kept me from guessing right until the very end how things were going to turn out. But by far the best thing about White Horse, is Zoe. She is tough and brave and incredibly human. I not only liked reading about her but I respected her too. I wanted to cry with her, I cheered her on, I yelled at her to keep going and I wanted to punch those that treated her poorly. She rocked. This novel would be nothing without her and I can't wait to read more of her story in the books to come. My only complaint is that I thought the ending was a little too perfect, but that being said, who knows what will happen in the next book. White Horse can definitely be read as a standalone but trust me you'll want more of Alex's writing, so I'm personally really happy it's a series. And on the off chance the author reads this – any chance you're a Doctor Who fan? Because the last line made me smile. Final recommendation: For fans of dystopian lit this is a must read. Others who enjoy a really good, authentic adventure story will also find lots to love. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com)
Date published: 2012-05-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Impressive debut novel, but too much flipping of timelines! I received this Advance Reader's Copy for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. Zoe Marshall is a 30 year-old woman who has been working as a janitor for Pope Pharmaceuticals in Italy. When a strange jar is left in her apartment, she is plagued with what to do with it. Because she doesn't know how to explain how she came to possess it and does not want him to think that she is crazy, she relates the story of the jar in a dream episode to her psychologist, Nick Rose. He encourages her to "take action" during her dream and turn the jar over to look at the bottom. Zoe takes the jar to the museum to have it analyzed by curators. She soon finds that every person that has come into contact with the jar has contracted a lethal virus. Yet, Zoe remains unscathed! The virus spreads worldwide, and a televangelist has dubbed it "White Horse" after one of the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Ninety percent of the world's population dies from the virus. Of the remaining ten percent, about half appear to be immune, like Zoe. The remaining five percent has contracted the virus and survived, although the virus has mutated their genes and they wind up anatomically different, developing such oddities as a tail, gills, or two hearts. There is a bit of a romance between Zoe and Nick, and then Nick leaves for Greece to track down his parents to determine whether they are still alive. When Zoe discovers that she is pregnant, she sets out to find Nick. Along the way, she encounters a man referred to as "the Swiss" who is out to destroy the abominations that haven't been killed by the virus. The story flips back and forth between "now" and "then," which is about 19 months ago when Zoe first came into contact with the jar. While I do enjoy multiple timelines in a story, this one flipped too much for my liking. At times, the timeline flipped several times within two pages! I found it a little mentally draining trying to follow all the changes, and it actually hindered my enjoyment. I would have rather read alternating chapters of the timelines. I actually loved both Zoe and Nick. While in session, they struggled to maintain their professional doctor-patient relationship and it was clear that they were both fighting their attraction. Zoe is such a strong-willed heroine, and she strives to hold onto her humanity despite the degeneration of society. She reaches out to help others that she encounters along the way, and her actions are actually quite noble. The Swiss was a formidable rival and provided a good counter-balance to Zoe's goodness. He really is quite wicked! Overall, I thought that it was a solid series opener and was quite impressed that this is Adams' debut novel. Readers should be cautioned that this is not a Young Adult novel. There are graphic scenes of rape and incest, as well as violence, which took me by surprise because I incorrectly assumed this was a Young Adult dystopian. While White Horse does reach a satisfactory conclusion, the last sentence left me with my mouth gaped open, thinking, "Holy crap!" Adams ended it with a fantastic hook for the next in the series! MY RATING: 3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it! Were it not for the incessant flipping of timelines, I would have given it 4 stars. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to review this book!
Date published: 2012-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adult dystopia debut My secret passion is dystopian fiction. I usually indulge myself with young adult offerings, but the opening lines of Alex Adams' adult debut novel White Horse drew in and had me settled into my favourite reading nook (for a very long time) "When I wake, the world is still gone. Only fragments remain. Pieces of places and people who were once whole." I am always intrigued by what authors imagine our future might be. Our protagonist is Zoe - a young widow who works as a cleaner at Pope Pharmaceuticals. Zoe's story is literally told in a Then and Now fashion. (which really worked for me) We start at the beginning with a mysterious jar appearing in her apartment, then cut to Zoe already on the move, trying to get to what she believes will be a safe place. The narrative cuts back and forth, from people getting sick, sicker and the world we know slowly disintegrating to almost two years in the future as Zoe makes her way across a world hardly recognizable. Ninety percent of the population is wiped out, five percent are mutating in horrific ways and the remaining five percent seem to be immune. Zoe has no idea why she hasn't succumbed to the plague, named White Horse - a reference to one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. White Horse was a very different read. I was horrified, yet mesmerized, repelled, yet drawn in by Adams' tale. She paints a brutal, raw picture with her prose. But those prose completely capture a world turned upside down. Fair warning to gentle readers - there are scenes and descriptions that may offend some. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about Zoe. She comes across as a very strong character, both physically and mentally and we know that she will survive. I applaud her efforts to try and hang on to her humanity and ideals in this new world. While I find her a strong lead character, I never felt fully engaged with her, despite cheering for her to beat the odds. I'll have a chance to bond with her in future books - this is the first in a planned trilogy. I want to see where Adams takes Zoe next - the last line in White Horse is a gotcha. White Horse is a strong debut from a new author and was definitely an addicting read for me.
Date published: 2012-04-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Solid series opener for fans of Adult Dystopia I received this Advance Reader's Copy for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. Zoe Marshall is a 30 year-old woman who has been working as a janitor for Pope Pharmaceuticals in Italy. When a strange jar is left in her apartment, she is plagued with what to do with it. Because she doesn't know how to explain how she came to possess it and does not want him to think that she is crazy, she relates the story of the jar in a dream episode to her psychologist, Nick Rose. He encourages her to "take action" during her dream and turn the jar over to look at the bottom. Zoe takes the jar to the museum to have it analyzed by curators. She soon finds that every person that has come into contact with the jar has contracted a lethal virus. Yet, Zoe remains unscathed! The virus spreads worldwide, and a televangelist has dubbed it “White Horse” after one of the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Ninety percent of the world’s population dies from the virus. Of the remaining ten percent, about half appear to be immune, like Zoe. The remaining five percent has contracted the virus and survived, although the virus has mutated their genes and they wind up anatomically different, developing such oddities as a tail, gills, or two hearts. There is a bit of a romance between Zoe and Nick, and then Nick leaves for Greece to track down his parents to determine whether they are still alive. When Zoe discovers that she is pregnant, she sets out to find Nick. Along the way, she encounters a man referred to as “the Swiss” who is out to destroy the abominations that haven’t been killed by the virus. The story flips back and forth between “now” and “then,” which is about 19 months ago when Zoe first came into contact with the jar. While I do enjoy multiple timelines in a story, this one flipped too much for my liking. At times, the timeline flipped several times within two pages! I found it a little mentally draining trying to follow all the changes, and it actually hindered my enjoyment. I would have rather read alternating chapters of the timelines. I actually loved both Zoe and Nick. While in session, they struggled to maintain their professional doctor-patient relationship and it was clear that they were both fighting their attraction. Zoe is such a strong-willed heroine, and she strives to hold onto her humanity despite the degeneration of society. She reaches out to help others that she encounters along the way, and her actions are actually quite noble. The Swiss was a formidable rival and provided a good counter-balance to Zoe’s goodness. He really is quite wicked! Overall, I thought that it was a solid series opener and was quite impressed that this is Adams' debut novel. Readers should be cautioned that this is not a Young Adult novel. There are graphic scenes of rape and incest, as well as violence, which took me by surprise because I incorrectly assumed this was a Young Adult dystopian. While White Horse does reach a satisfactory conclusion, the last sentence left me with my mouth gaped open, thinking, “Holy crap!” Adams ended it with a fantastic hook for the next in the series! MY RATING: 3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it! Were it not for the incessant flipping of timelines, I would have given it 4 stars. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to review this book!
Date published: 2012-04-11

– More About This Product –

White Horse: A Novel

by Alex Adams

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 in

Published: November 5, 2012

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451642997

ISBN - 13: 9781451642995

About the Book

The first book in a unique debut trilogy--a post-apocalyptic thriller chronicling one woman's quest to nurture those she holds dear in a shocking, new world where humans may no longer be a viable species.

Read from the Book

ONE DATE: NOW When I wake, the world is still gone. Only fragments remain. Pieces of places and people who were once whole. On the other side of the window, the landscape is a violent green, the kind you used to see on a flat-screen television in a watering hole disguised as a restaurant. Too green. Dense gray clouds banished the sun weeks ago, forcing her to watch us die through a warped, wet lens. There are stories told among pockets of survivors that rains have come to the Sahara, that green now sprinkles the endless brown, that the British Isles are drowning. Nature is rebuilding with her own set of plans. Man has no say. It’s a month until my thirty-first birthday. I am eighteen months older than I was when the disease struck. Twelve months older than when war first pummeled the globe. Somewhere in between then and now, geology went crazy and drove the weather to schizophrenia. No surprise when you look at why we were fighting. Nineteen months have passed since I first saw the jar. I’m in a farmhouse on what used to be a farm somewhere in what used to be Italy. This is not the country where gleeful tourists toss coins into the Trevi Fountain, nor do people flock to the Holy See anymore. Oh, at first they rushed in like sickle cells forced through a vein, thick, clotted masses aboard trains and planes, toting their life savings, willing to give it all to the church for a shot at salvation. Now their corpses litter the streets of Vatican City and spill into Rom
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From the Publisher

The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.

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.

About the Author

Alex Adams was born in Auckland, New Zealand. She lived in Greece and Australia before settling in Portland, Oregon. In between moving continents, Alex received a BA from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia and went on to teach English as a Second Language.

Editorial Reviews

“By far the most accomplished book I’ve encountered this year . . . White Horse will haunt you long after you close the back cover.”
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