Book Review: White Horse by Alex Adams

Alex Adams’ debut novel, White Horse, shows us that dystopian futuristic tales can hold more than just violence, terror and the degradation of humanity.  Most importantly, they can define what it is to hope.  In White Horse, the main character, Zoe, struggles to cling to her humanity at all costs, even when the very definitions of humanity change.  When a plague alters human DNA, the few who survive are grotesquely rearranged into something other than human.  Some become monsters, while others may pass for normal.  Even those who manage to avoid the plague are forced to survive in a newly hostile world amongst the ruthless breakdown of society.

Written in chapters that alternate between past and present, the story of Zoe opening her own version of Pandora’s box unfolds.  In this post-apocalyptic world, she suffers greatly while managing to still pursue hope and love.  She fights to fiercely protect those she loves, yet struggles with how far to go to achieve her goals.

The title and cover of the book, though beautiful, might be misleading, were you not to read the description on the back cover.  This is no youth romance about a knight on a white horse.  It is gritty and powerful, emotionally intense, and at times a nail-biting thriller.  Adams’ writing creates a hauntingly picturesque vision of her characters, the backdrop of scenery, and the fragmented society left behind in the wake of devastation.

“We’re standing in the farmhouse’s yard, encapsulated in a constant damp mist.  Plush moss springs from pale stones that make up the house’s exterior walls.  My bicycle is leaning against a long-abandoned water pump.  Somewhere along the way, the owners had resources enough to reroute the plumbing and enter the twentieth century, but they left the pump for charm or lack of caring.  The bicycle is blue and not originally mine.  No money exchanged hands.  It was purchased for the paltry sum of a kiss outside Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci di Fiumicino.  No tongue.  Just the surprising taste of tenderness from a Norwegian man who didn’t want to die without one last embrace.”

This book is the first in a post-apocalyptic themed trilogy.  Keep an eye out for Red Horse and Pale Horse galloping into stores.

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