Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: White Space

White Space (Dark Passages, book one)
By Ilsa J. Bick
Expected publication February 11, 2014 by Egmont USA

Emma has these weird moments where she "blinks" - she watches scenes of someone else's life while still living hers on autopilot. They seem to be happening more frequently. And when Emma finds herself in a truly bizarre situation, she hopes she's uncovered the truth behind her blinks. But does she really want to know?

I'm sorry. That summary is awful. Mainly because almost two weeks after finishing this book, I'm still going, "what the what did I just read?" Unfortunately, dear reader, I don't have a proper answer for you.

I spotted this book on Edelweiss and, despite not completely loving the earlier novel of Bick's that I read (see review here), the premise sounded too awesome to pass up. A girl with the ability to jump into the white space of books, between the lines, where the worlds in books are created and destroyed. ABSOLUTELY YES, SIGN ME UP. But - I don't think this book is that.

I read this book almost entirely while on vacation over Christmas and I quite frequently said to my boyfriend, "I don't know what is happening in my book. My book is really, really strange," or something along those lines. Because that is absolutely the truth. This book makes no sense. This book throws you face-first into an incredibly complicated fantasy world that the characters try to explain to you with complicated, high-level scientific jargon and, even by the end, I don't think you know which way is up. Maybe I am just not smart enough to understand media like this - after all, I don't think I really *got* Inception. But I think I'm a pretty smart girl so maybe it's just that this book is way too complicated and crammed full of every crazy thing that Bick could think of. Oh, and don't forget - it's only book one!

I'm honestly not sure that I can judge any aspect of this book fairly because I don't think I fully understood or followed any of it - and that includes things like characters and plot. The narrative style, even, is pretty out there and I can definitely see it putting some people off with its seemingly random head-jumping and many, MANY unfinished sentences. What I think is that Bick set out to write the most mind-bending book she could think of and I guess maybe it's just not my kind of book. Maybe some of the confusion will be cleared up in future books but my main reaction to this being book one of a series (upon completion) was, "where in the world is Bick going to go from here?"

I think this book will definitely have its fans and, I should note, that I did, in fact, read the whole thing (and rather quickly - the book is over 500 pages long). So, there is something about the book that is compelling, even if I don't completely get it.

Have other people read this? Someone explain it to me!

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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