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.
I am, for whatever reason, a huge fan of apocalyptic ‘end of the world’ narratives. If a book, film or TV programme involves some kind of natural disaster, nuclear war or freak disease, and has a plot that centres around survivors dealing with the aftermath, then I’m sold. For this reason, White Horse by Alex Adams was an obvious choice. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to all of my expectations. The story was OK, but I’ve read better ones, and Adams’ writing style is not to my liking.
As with most protagonists in these sort of novels, Zoe is an ordinary woman leading an ordinary – if a little dull – life. She works as a cleaner at a pharmaceuticals company. The plot apparently centres around a mysterious jar that appears in Zoe’s home, although the details of this jar seemed overcomplicated in my opinion, and are not adequately explained. A terrifying disease sweeps through America (and, presumably, the rest of the world), causing people’s genetic structures to mutate in bizarre and disgusting ways. Many die, some remain alive as some sort of human-monster hybrid and some, like the protagonist, are inexplicably immune and set out to find safety. Zoe narrates the story, with liberal use of strained metaphors, and many heavy-handed attempts at poignancy. (“Taxes are no longer certain – only death.”) The narrative flips between her journey across Europe, and the time leading up to and after the onset of the disease.
However, despite the negative aspects of the writing, this was a reasonably enjoyable novel. The plot was fast-paced and there was always an incentive to keep reading. The characters were not particularly believable, or likeable, but there are enough shocking or interesting things happening to mask this. If you have an interest in fiction set in a gruesome future, and have more patience than I do for cheesy writing, I would definitely recommend White Horse.
I was kindly granted early access to a Kindle version of White Horse through NetGalley.com.