For the first 100 pages, White Horse was well on its way to being a five star read. That's not to say it didn't have problems, it did. * But the story was entertaining. The structure was highly effective. The tale of two girls, one blind, trying to make it in this post-apocalyptic landscape worked well. It was The Road meets The Hunger Games. %
The next hundred pages the book dropped to a 4 for me. My patience was beginning to wane. Too many convenient events coming together. A fight, an explosion, a fight, an earthquake. The novel went from a reflective, but paranoid stroll along the desolated European countryside to an action-based novel moving much too fast.
In the last 100 pages, White Horse plummeted to three stars. Characters who were believable antagonists became larger than life nemeses. Shock for the sake of shock. Decapitations and raining cats in an attempt [?] to recreate Kafka on the Shore.
The novel's concluding pages could've dropped the book to a two had the beginning not been so strong. Everything conveniently wraps up (odd considering this is the first of a trilogy.) In the final pages, the story becomes ridiculous and cloying. I must credit the author for giving the story a nemesis that—when revealed—is a surprise. No one will see it coming. That's because it is so far from left field that it makes no sense. It's something you expect from a poor Star Trek novel.
I didn't have much expectation for White Horse, but I was blown away from the beginning. Though it had some juvenile writing, it had so much potential. I don't know what happened. It just fell apart. It was the story of a believable end of the world and then it became sci-fi melodrama. Unless someone reads the second book in the series and tells me it is a wonderful return to the opening chapters of White Horse I won't bother. What a sad end to a beautiful world.
* For the author's many talents in creating characters that resonate, using imagery that clarifies, creating a storyline that largely is entertaining, she has an issue with metaphors. A few work. Most of them do not. The first bad one was so jarring that I had to reread it three times to makes sure I'd read it right. He jerks me backwards and pulls me against him until his gut is a stuffed IHOP pancake bulging against my back. None that follow are as poor as this one, but there are many that should have been eliminated before the book saw print.^
% Despite the publisher's attempt to sell White Horse as another Hunger Games this is not a YA novel. ^