I had a certain idea of what White Horse, by Alex Adams, was going to be like before I started reading it. I thought the blurb sounded interesting and it reminded me of daydreams I had when I was a teenager about a movie, the title of which I’ve long forgotten, of a man who was one of the very few left in the world after a catastrophe wipes out humanity. What would I do in those circumstances? Well, from the blurb, White Horse sounded like my childhood daydreams but after the first page I knew I’d never imagined anything like this.
Then it made me think of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, a book I was not very fond of. Fortunately I saw differences almost right away. Whereas in The Road, the idea of hope was conveyed with contempt, I sensed hope was the backbone of White Horse; every page is imbued with it even as events make it seem there’s nothing worth fighting for.
This novel is so rich in detail and imagination that every page brought new surprises. Sometimes I found myself rereading a paragraph to decipher what the author meant and then it would hit me a paragraph or page later – ah hah! But it’s so cleverly written that if there had not been an ‘aha’ moment it wouldn’t have mattered. That’s the way this book is – it infuses the culture of a new world order around the reader so well that its meaning sinks in without realization.
The main character is likeable so I rooted for her on every page. She’s brave, focused and honest. Even at the most cringe-worthy moments, it was difficult to put down. The only issue I would have with this book is the cover. Something about it gave me the idea that White Horse leans towards the YA genre. Wrong! Not YA at all. And of course the blurb does start off saying ‘thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life…’ which should dispel any the notion that it’s YA. But the cover threw me off.
I will go so far as to predict that this book will become a huge best-seller. It certainly deserves to be.