Cover Image: Whiteland

Whiteland

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Member Reviews

I found 'Whiteland' difficult to put down - I read it in two days (and it's not that short!). Consider my expectations for where the story would go well and truly bucked - there's a helluva lot going on under the surface...

The prose and the narrative instantly drops the reader into an atmosphere of disquiet, of surreality, of isolation. Almost Silent Hill-esque; that horrible feeling of being trapped in a nightmare when everyone else around you is safe and oblivious. And I'm going to continue with a few comparisons, if I may - firstly, the style and the plotting reminds me distinctly of another great horror YA author Dawn Kurtagich; and secondly, there were distinct tingles of Naomi Novik's 'Spinning Silver'. This may be horror, but it's a breath of fresh air to read a beautifully imaginative horror story set mostly in a mystical snowy land (basically a twisted Narnia).

Character-wise, I think I found it a little hard to warm to Kira - she's a tad pretentious. But it really helped to get snippets of her backstory, her life back home. Callum, meanwhile, is fun and almost puppy-like - and while I originally thought he seemed to care for Kira too quickly, later plot developments revealed the reason for this. 

A few caveats to my enjoyment of the book (possibly making it 4.5 stars, but I have to choose 4 or 5, sooo) - I think the length could have been edited down, and I did find it over-described sometimes, the turns of phrase a little too laboured. Then again, there were some dazzling sentences - two favourites: "his skeleton is tense enough to split its skin" and "They could sit and drink tea, have a beer in the other hand, and misquote poets".

I suspect this book is going to linger in my thoughts a while yet.
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Cranie-Higgs is bursting with potential that could easily give Melissa Mayer and Rowling some competition, but unfortunately there was a lot of confusion going on with how sentences were compiled and written with a narrative that ended up being more confusing than descriptive. 

I applaud the author for her brilliant use of words she chose to use and how she executed them, but there just wasn't that much effort she put into just trying to tell a story. I don't compare authors to other authors in this specific regard, but there are plenty of popular authors out there who write great stories without needing to use the prettiest words or smartest grammar. 

They say 'easy reading comes from hard writing', though I confess I don't know who the hell 'they' are or where this quote originated from, but it does spark some truth to the matter.

Cranie-Higgs has created a fascinating world of wonder and curiosity and her characters are truly unique in the way she wrote them, the cover is creepy AF and I will definitely be on the lookout for another of her books in the near future. She writes beautifully descriptive prose, but I just couldn't make much sense of some of the descriptions she wrote.
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Rosie Cranie-Higgs' debut novel "Whiteland" is an incredible and immensely fascinating novel that draws on Norwegian and Scandinavian folklore to create an illusory, darkly fantastical and dreamlike tale that is highly unique in its narration and genre. Everything about Whiteland is outlandish, elusive, and morbidly vicious. It's a place so beyond comprehension and understanding that it draws people to it, but once there, all they want is leave.

The story follows Kira, who is on a family trip in the snowy mountains of Switzerland. When her sister Romy wanders out one cold winter night and is found nearly frozen to death, she's different. Malicious, wild, and violent, Romy is taken to the hospital with the hope she will recover in time to return home. Anxious to know what happened to her sister, Kira wanders out into the forest with a local named Callum, and together, they enter the strange and horrific realm of Whiteland and encounter its grotesque monsters. 

The first half of the novel was a bit difficult to follow because the writing was disjointed and fragmented, a clear reflection of the characters' mentalities and the dreamlike quality of the setting. It disrupted the flow and left a lot of information to be deciphered, but I did enjoy the style of the author's writing because it was so distinct and unusual compared to other writers. Not many try to create a jerking, sharp tempo to their pacing throughout the story and I think for the most part it really worked, the details just need to be flushed out a bit more for comprehension.

There were a few times in the novel where Callum and Kira's casual conversations felt a little misplaced when I felt they should be panicking and not just accepting the situation. Likewise, Callum's constant inability to accept they must rely on those who live in Whiteland to help them navigate the land does get frustrating. It would've been nice to see his perception change slightly as their situation becomes more desperate. 

The second half of the novel was ... morbidly delightful! It was full of all kinds of incredible beasts and creatures, and these highly imaginative landscapes that were so beautiful and compelling to read. I wanted more of these folklore-ish beasts because the concept is so cool and really added to the dark deception that underlies all of Whiteland. Cranie-Higgs' definitely knows what they are doing when it comes to writing horror and I can't wait to see what the rest of the series brings, especially when there are so many questions left unanswered. This is a novel I'd recommend to people with an interest in folklore, but also a storyline similar to inception. Of course, anyone who loves horror is guaranteed to love Whiteland.

Thank you to Netgalley and BHC Press for providing me with an e-arc of Whiteland in exchange for an honest review. Look for Whiteland by Rosie Cranie-Higgs on October 15, 2020 and add it to your Halloween Horror Book List!
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Great book. More or less read this in one sitting. Twists and turns that kept me.guessing.with an ending that I wasnt expecting. Really enjoyed the story very creepy
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I tried reading this one, but I just could not get into it and decided to DNF as per my review policy. I do not think it's a bad book, but it was not my kind of horro4 story and I really was not enjoying it. I enjoyed pieces of the story, but the narrative just felt so fragmented and did not work for me. I typically do not publicly rate or review books I do not finish. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.
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Whiteland is a spell binding adventure into a terrifying world of the supernatural.
Kira needs to help her sister, and with the help of Callum maybe they can face the unimaginable.. Nothing is as it seams when they enter Whiteland.
Really enjoyed reading and felt like i was part of the heart pounding adventure.
Highly recommend it!
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Something has changed to Romy. When she returns she's different, she's violent, inhuman..... She should be dead! 
This is a dark, supernatural book. 
I enjoyed reading this as I'm not usually into supernatural books. But this one held my attention pretty well throughout the book. 
The reasoning have this a 3 star review is because it was slow and never really picked up for me. 
Thank you NetGalley and Rosie for this ARC.
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What the hell did I just read? Granted I don't read much fantasy horror, I think I should still have some idea what is happening in a story straight off the bat. The beginning was very strange, with the reader thrown completely into the mix. Romy is drunk in the woods but is she hallucinating or has she already entered Whiteland? Is she bi polar or possessed? I was hoping for the later but sadly (for me) it was more fantasy than paranormal. After a manic episode the story quickly snaps again into Kira enjoying a ride on a ski chair lift? For pages and pages... What is happening?

I was completely confused throughout the entirety of this story, right to the end. I was left with so many questions and even after finishing, I have no clear answers. I understand this is the beginning of a series so perhaps the answers will come in later books. By no means is this book bad, it's just long winded and confusing. However, it's clear the author has potential. The story was dream-like, like entering Pan's labyrinth, which is mentioned.  If you're into bizarre surrealism this book is for you. Perhaps I'm the wrong audience or this just wasn't the right story to really get me into fantasy horror, but I struggled to finish. 

Thank you to the publishers for providing my copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a truly unique dark/horror fantasy. Rather than using the typical techniques to set the tone, the narrative was used with tremendous result. The clipped, jerking tempo grew into a character of its own, feeling as if it were a dread, thumping in the shadows. I've seen this done in scenes where building to a climax or to show an insane character's thoughts, but not typically for the duration of narrative. While it serves to make you feel utter dread and keeps you flipping pages faster, it also demands breaks in places. I had a few breathers, cups of coffee, etc as I read, which I also think served to add to the heightened sense of something awful is just lurking out of reach.

There were some really frightening parts when the imagery I conjured also gave me pause... more coffee and deep inhales. In the hospital with Romy was one that stands out. All of the parts in Whiteland held me enthralled. I think this will have a broad appeal. Fantasy with a darker edge, horror, even those of us who love fairytales with teeth should find this a tense/intense reading experience.
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