April 27, 2012

Review: The White Oak

The White Oak
Kim White
Imperfect Darkness #1
Genre: Fantasy

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Greek Mythology when Teenager Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole during her abusive father's funeral and finds herself in the Underworld! Together with her strange and not entirely trustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must navigate the Underworld to find her genius brother Lucas. But what's a living girl to do in the land of the dead?

The White Oak suffers from a raw narrative riddled with short, choppy sentences. However, there is an undeniably captivating quality regardless of the overall unpolished feel. From start to finish I was pulled into the strangely wonderful world White has created. The chapters are a reasonable length making it easy to read one chapter at a time during a busy schedule, but you may find it difficult to stop. Cora's surroundings are so unique and fantastic that you will devour many chapters at a time just to see what comes next. Despite its obvious Alice roots, the entire reading experience fondly reminded me of Jim Henson's movie Labyrinth with all the bizarre and fiercely beautiful creatures and locations.

My main problem with The White Oak is that it felt more like half of a book than a whole one. Just as the conflict with Minos began to reveal itself, the story ended. I felt like the moment I began to truly love this tale, it was over and I was left feeling like I had been majorly jipped! There was just not enough actual story and there is no real character development in sight. I never felt like I got a chance to really know Cora as a person. I understand this is going to be a series, but this felt more like a novella companion than an actual first novel in a set. I really would have liked it to be much longer 

Although this book didn't match up to my standards with length and polish, I still can't deny there is something magical about this book. An immense potential lingers in the background showing itself in brief spurts throughout the novel.  I kept waiting for it to reveal itself during my read, but just as I thought, "Yes! Here it is!" the book abruptly ended. Regardless of my disappointments, you can bet I will be reading the next book in this series. This author has the potential to be amazing, and I want to be reading her books when that happens.


Shanon (Escaping With Fiction) said...

Lovely review, Jess! I haven't heard of this book before, but it definitely sounds like something I'd read. It's unfortunate that it ended so abruptly--that would frustrate the heck out of me as well! But I'm super intrigued by the premise. Thanks for sharing!

-Shanon @ Escaping With Fiction

Jennifer G said...

I'm adding this one to my Goodreads list. I hadn't heard of it before, but it looks really interesting. Thanks for reviewing it :)