When I first saw this book, bear in mind it had the US cover at the time, I believed it was a YA post-apocalyptic novel. First things first this is not a YA novel, in no way has this been written to be aimed at a younger audience. One of the things I loved about this book was the writing, how it was harsh and hit straight to the point but also the way it flowed so well. It's one of those books where the writing itself is mature, detailed and full of depth. You can tell just how much time Alex Adams has put into her writing to perfect it to convey the correct emotion. This novel was on top form from start until finish, the whole thing was rather haunting. White Horse deals with many dark topics, it is the end of the world after all. We see people change in these dark times and how even now they still have needs. So many lessons need to be learnt and many people cannot be trusted. It truly is survival of the fittest.
White Horse is written in two different time segments. You have before the end of the world which is Then and Now, which is after the Apocalypse. This allows the reader to see into Zoe's world and how her normal routine went and all the relationships she had. Her life is disrupted when a strange jar is found in her apartment. Seeking help from her friends she does not dare touch it herself. Her mind begins to play tricks on her so she seeks help, the thing is she cannot bring herself to tell him the truth about the jar and her suspicions. After all nothing could possibly go wrong, right?
In the now part of the novel, Zoe is currently pregnant and she wants to find the father of the baby. She sets out to trek around the world in hope to find him alive. After all the plague and war have killed so many, there are very few survivors. Zoe is trying to keep her humanity in check and not fall into the darkness that will switch it off. Not far into her trek she encounters a rather nasty doctor, whose humanity has long been distinguished. She must keep her baby safe and find her way to her partner. Trouble is around every corner and things will not goes as smoothly as she liked.
Zoe is a very interesting heroine. She's very mature and tries to stay calm and collected, but the past will soon catch up with her. Grief and sorrow for her loved ones will hit her, also fierce protection for her child. The most important thing is the reader wants Zoe to survive, we become attached and with her back story we just cheer her on even more. We want a happy ending for her but in the end of the world can it be possible?
Right, the villain is the Swiss. He is a seriously creepy man who wants to experiment on all the plague survivors. He literally cuts them open while they're alive, his humanity is long gone. Instead he thinks he's playing god while saving the future race at the same time. There was just nothing likable about him at all. He was one scary antagonist that sent chills down your spine.
I'm going to talk a little bit about what led to the end of the world in White Horse as there were more than one factors in the destruction. The first one being a plague or disease named White Horse after one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the rider also known as pestilence. This man made disease was distributed to humanity and soon it spread to a world wide plague. This disease will either kill the host or mutate them into some very frightful things. Both will lead to the destruction of the individual. The second thing was scientists trying to control the weather, this lead to shift in the environment of which the final result would be very catastrophic. Then there is war too, it is always devastating and this is no different. Each of these plays a key role in the Apocalypse and brings about the end of the world in White Horse.
White Horse is an incredible debut novel about trying to keep sane in desperate times. It also shows the importance of clinging on to your humanity until the very end. There are many tough truths and life lessons in the novel and each are of high importance. The writing is superb and full of depth. I really did love this book and I hope this review does it justice.