Cover Image: Whiteland

Whiteland

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I was intrigued by the opening of this book - a young woman lost in the woods stumbles upon a spooky occurrence...however, the novel then stumbled as much as the protagonist with a fantastical spin that really was not for me.  An 'okay' novel, one I finished but felt a little bit of a slog.
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i want to thank netgalley for letting me review this book. but man this was not for me. i did not like this read at all. the writing for me was very dragged on type. it was really hard to get into it t all. i felt no connection to the characters either. this review is hard for me to write with how much i sadly did not care for this read.
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I fell in love with this book, slowly and then all at once. 

The setting, the writing style (so flowy, hell, even the chapter names rhyme), the characters, the mythology...

Kira is on holiday with her family and all is well...except it isn't. Her sister Romy goes missing (twice), so naturally, Kira teams up with the adorably funny Callum to find her. That doesn't go as planned. Where it does go, however, is definitely not what I expected. 

The spookiness is perfect till around 30 something %, after that it gets a bit slow but picks right back up near half of the book and oh boy, it delivers. It delivers strong. At that point I honestly couldn't put it down. It was sooooo good. 

The people and the creatures Kira and Callum meet on the way are proper fairytale material and I'm definitely going to look some of those things up. 

And the ending, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT SHALL WE? What a cruel way to leave the reader hanging, I love it. I was about ready to throw my phone away when I got to the acknowledgements and saw it was part of a trilogy. PHEW, PHONE SAVED. I'll eagerly be awaiting the continuation of this magical story.

So why four stars and not five? 

The previously mentioned slowness and some scenes could've done with a little less description. Almost perfect but not quite.
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Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the advance copy of this book!

This book was everything I wanted it to be. I loved the plot and storyline in the book. I loved the characters in this story. It gave me all the feels I was looking for when I started reading this. I highly recommend this author. I loved the writing.  I will be looking for other works in the future from this author.
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The first chapter is creepy and ethereal, setting up the horror fantasy Whiteland by Rosie Cranie-Higgs to be a haunting story with a chilly aesthetic. Unfortunately, what ended up happening was not haunting or even spooky. 

Described as being a mix between The Evil Dead and Drag Me To Hell, Whiteland -insofar as I could surmise in the first ten chapters- is nothing like these cult classics. The first chapter, in which we meet sister Romy, does well to set a tone. The writing of Rosie Cranie-Higgs is fluid, Romy's character comes across as troubled, and the cold of the snowy Swiss Mountains penetrates the reader. 

In chapter 2, things derail, and the fluidity of Cranie-Higgs' writing becomes not only stilted but downright confusing. Here we meet Kira, the seemingly more sane sister to Romy, and a woman named Anna. It turns out that Anna is their mother, though the way it's currently written that doesn't become evident for another two paragraphs. The confusion between who is feeling what, and who's habits are who's starts there. 

What follows is a slogging journey through the tedium Romy is always throwing upon her family. Running away is a habit of Romy's, who often leaves with pills and alcohol, secreting away to someplace, but for what exact purpose, the reader does not know. Is she depressed? Is she an addict? Or is she just testing the limits of her adolescence? 

Instead of taking responsibility for their one daughter, the parents, Anna and Matthew, send Kira out to track her and bring her home. On several previous occasions, this has involved Kira stumbling upon a drunk, unconscious sister, with hints of overdoses and emergency visits. The overall lack of interest, along with the genuine indifference over the return of their frostbitten, near-to-death daughter Romy, paints the parents' reactions as downright abominable. The book quite suddenly plummets into the unbelievable. 

Between the impractical character development (or lack thereof) and the inundation of allusions, Whiteland becomes troublesome to read. Over-stylization obstructs the narrative and the reader, who has to digest the onslaught of Rosie Cranie-Higgs' constant vocabularic showing off.
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A wintry horror story featuring Scandinavian folklore? I wanted to love this so badly but I couldn't.

I couldn't even get halfway through the book. I DNFed this pretty early. Which is a tragedy, because that summary hooked me in and the first chapter took my breath away. Cranie-Higgs' prose is a delight! But then the first chapter kept going on... and on... and on... and I was desperate for it to end.

The succeeding chapters don't have the same charm either. The author has a tendency to overwrite herself into circles until she loses all sense of urgency. She spends pages on an unnecessary description that could be squished into one paragraph.

And we have our characters who I truly couldn't connect with. The dialogue feels super weird. They're calm when they should be panicking. They spend so much time talking and dragging their feet when they're faced with a dangerous, life or death situation. I really don't get it.
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- Kira and her family are on Holiday in a small snowy town.
The night before their departure her sister Romy wanders out in the snow at night. Romy is discovered by Callum (ski instructor) who brings her into the hotel to her families surprise.  Romy should have froze to death! 
Romy awoke as someone else, Kira knows it. 
One by one, Kiras family dissappears
Kira sets out with the aid of Callum to find out what could be possibly happened to Romy and where her family went. They soon find more than they expected. -
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3.5/5 .... only because it seemed extremely long in order to tell what we now know about 'White Land'.
However, with that being said I believe it was extremely long in order to set the tone for the following 2 books in this trilogy.
I anticipate they'll be better than this book!
I've read a few reviewers who put the book away at about 40% or so into it, it gets better. At least for me the story did.
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In the sequels I hope to see Callum return and have learned things about White Land that Kira and Romy haven't.  As well as his character developing and taking things a little more serious. 
I'd like to know more about Lena, her back story and how/why she travels to the Outside as well as WL. And her connection to Callums mum.
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I was given an ARC for free in exchange for my honest review.

Kira was about to sum up her vacation with her family in the winter slopes when something strange happens. Her sister, Romy, wanders off one night. Romy was always a trouble maker in the family but when she returns, she is different. She is someone else. 

Kira delves into a mystery to find out what happened to her sister and what is wrong with this entire town. 
This story line blended classic mystery with a tinge of horror, so it is not easily comparable to another book. I found the concept invigorating and the first few chapters had me at the edge of my seat. I wish it had stuck to only Kira's point of view though, so we would only experience the drama through her eyes. Rather, at times, it took on an omniscient approach to really stir up the mystery. In that regard, there is a large portion in the middle of the book that has no answers but only more questions.

Overall, I thought the concept was unique and Kira a likable character.
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Thank you Netgalley and the Publishers for this ARC. Sadly I didn't enjoy it and had to force myself to finish it. It started interesting enough but the story wandered back and forth without any real conclusion. It was very wordy without actually giving insights or descriptions.
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Thanks for the opportunity to read this book. I enjoyed this story very much and thought it was a brilliant debut novel. I love supermarket myth type stories. I hope this author writes more.
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Stretching her mouth to an inhuman gape, the woman starts to scream.




The beginning of the book was really creepy and I loved it. But, for me the story just fizzled out and became a chore to read. 

I really hope others love it and you should decide for yourself at any rate. 

*Thank you to Netgalley and BHC Press for a digital copy of this book. 

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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I received an e-ARC through NetGalley.

Rated 2.5/5 rounded down.

I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. It felt as though I read two different books; the first half of this was a strange supernatural horror-ish story, the second half was a fairy tale about sacrifice. The main reason I'm not rating this higher is this inconsistent feel of the style. It reminded me of the book Hekla's Children, which is another book I very much enjoyed, but which read as two very different types of stories.

The best part of this was definitely the language; poetic and compelling and fitting with the fairy tale vibes. Although some of the pop-culture references felt unnecessary and forced, overall I enjoyed the writing a lot.

The less good was the inconsistency in POV and the attempts at twists that weren't very surprising. There was really no need to throw in random little chapters from a minor character's POV here and there. And I've seen other reviewers say the ending was unexpected, but I just felt as though we didn't read the same book.

I admit to being a bit disappointed on the whole. But if you're looking for a new adult dark fairy tale, this may well be the book for you.
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« ‘I know where you’ve been’, she whispers. Her voice is sore but firm. ‘You and him. I know where you’ve been’. She sits up stiffly, jerky like a jump cut, backing into the headboard. ‘Pinky promise.’⠀
Kira raises an eyebrow. The flippancy quails inside her. Romy has never said that in her life. ‘And where is that, exactly ?’⠀
Righting her head with an awkward spasm, Romy smiles. ‘Whiteland’ »⠀
⠀
WHITELAND is Rosie Cranie Higgs's debut horror novel.⠀
The story takes place in Switzerland. An ordinary looking family is on holiday and everything seems normal, until the youngest daughter is found completely frozen but still alive.⠀
When she wakes up, her behaviour changes: she starts attacking her sister after she asks her where she disappeared to. The nightmare has just begun...⠀
I particularly liked the beginning of the book, the plot develops quite quickly and the author's pen is pleasant to read.⠀
There was a moment towards the middle when I got a bit lost because there was a lot of information about Nordic folklore at the same time, information that for me didn't add much to the story, but knowing that this is a trilogy, I suspect that the author has certainly prepared the ground for the last two volumes of her trilogy.⠀
I found the character development quite successful (I loved Callum and his humour and I could see Romy in my head with Linda Blair’s face from The Exorcist).⠀
I also liked the different references to pop culture (Sam is completely in love with Frodo, we definitely agree on that).⠀
I have to admit that every time I read "Hello", I had the Adele's song coming to me and it was quite disturbing. ⠀
And the ending... It's just barbaric to finish a book like that, leaving the reader with even more questions, just saying... ⠀
⠀
WHITELAND will be released on October, 15th, 2020.⠀
Thank you @netgalley and @bhc.press for sending me this ARC book.
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Whiteland is an interesting story that ended in a completely different way than I expected.   I was into it in the beginning, the plot and characters were creepy but then it turned into this fantasy land with so many characters and lands that it was hard to keep up.   I enjoyed the two main characters and their chemistry together, but was not a fan of the repetitive movements that they kept making throughout.   The ending really disappointed me.    I struggled a bit to finish this book because I wasn't that into, and kept thinking that I was almost done and there was so much left to explain.   Turns out, a lot was just left unexplained.      I would not recommend this book.    

I was given a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I'm sad to admit that I couldn't finish Whiteland. I usually love supernatural horror, especially those with fairytale elements. However, this one just wasn't for me. I put it down and picked it back up several times, but about 60% of the way through I felt I had read enough to have a well-formed opinion of my thoughts. 

Whiteland is not a poorly written book by any means, but I did find it to be overly written. The prose tends to be almost too lavish and this over-abundance took away from the times when the writing really stood out. The POV was also a little odd in my opinion. It was omniscient to Kira's thoughts, but the sentences would not always seem to be written in a way that fit with her character. 

The first part of the novel was really hard for me to follow, I think partly due to the characters unrealistic reactions to the situations they were in. I was not expecting Kira to be so blasé about her sister's attack, so it really threw me for a loop when she was suddenly hanging out with Callum on a ski lift. This sort of whiplash feeling happened several times over the pages I did read.

Thank you to BHC for the chance to read and review Whiteland, it just wasn't for me.
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Whiteland is a difficult book for me to review.  This book is like an adult fairy tale -- a combination of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, folktale, and Norse mythology all rolled into one epic horror fantasy.  This definitely has all of the makings for a truly remarkable story and as I was reading I thought several times that it would be a beautiful movie.  Unfortunately, it was a bit sluggish to read through and was downright confusing at times.  I acknowledge that the confusion was intentional at times, but there were so may characters and creatures discussed and who at times randomly appeared for brief scenes.  There was also a good bit of narration that did not drive the story forward.  There were pointless conversations occurring during moments that it seemed completely unnatural.  Rosie Cranie-Higgs has created an amazing fantasy world and I could see this being an entire series of books, but it felt a bit overwhelming.  There were a few times during the 5 days of reading (I typically read books in 1-2 days) of reading that I contemplated not finishing.  So overall I feel it's a great idea, but it just didn't work for me as it is written.
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Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this book. I typically can plough through just about any book but this one just did not hold my attention. As an avid fantasy horror reader, I struggled to follow the somewhat repetative but disjointed plot. This just wasn't my favorite.
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I  got about 35% through this book before I put it down and didnt have the need to pick it back up. I like where it was going within the first 25 pages. It caught my attention immediately. Spooky vibes right off the bat. However. the plot seemed to get lost within the descriptive aspects of the book. First I was focused on a character then it sounded like the plot was going somewhere but really, I just got lost. I did enjoy the descriptive parts of this book-I think it really made this book be in the horror/thriller category. I just wish there was more. I was searching for more however, I plateaued.
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This book was ok, it just wasn’t my taste of writing.......................................................
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I received an e-book ARC of Whiteland from NetGalley and BHC Press in return for my honest review, which follows below. I thank both for this opportunity. 

For me this novel fell into the Did Not Finish pile. I made it to about 44% before I had to realistically ask myself if I wanted to read the rest of the book, and the answer was no. It doesn't happen often, but does occur. I don't think the author's writing style worked for me. 

The opening scene was well written; it seemed to set the tone for a creepy tale. Romy is found in the snow by Callum, a ski instructor at the resort her family is vacationing at. Her sister Kira senses something off about her almost immediately. Romy is violent and self harming, her parents at a loss on how to handle this. But for me the story stalled after that, I made it to 44% of the book, and nothing new had really happened. Callum and Kira went to the woods and found something confusing, but their interactions fell flat for me and made it hard to sink into. After they got back, chapters went by without the story really moving forward, it felt like nothing really happened. I started to feel bogged down by how long it was taking for the next big plot point to be revealed. After trying to make myself read more and really struggling to get into a rhythm, I decided not to finish the book. 

The author was trying to make the narrative feel as tumultuous as the characters mindset, I think, and it made it hard for me to enjoy. Others may not have that issue, I'm not trying to dissuade people for checking out this book. But for me it's a no.
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