Cover Image: Whiteland


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Well I’m glad that’s over. This was a bit of a rough one. What I loved most about this book was the writing but it’s also what I hated most. Make sense? No? Well neither does this story. There is something about the style that I dug so much while reading; I only wish I understood it more. I found myself skimming a lot of passages toward the end just because none of it seemed to matter and I felt bad about it. I will not attempt to provide a comprehensive synopsis of what happens here. You’ll just have to experience it yourself. Maybe it just wasn’t for me presently because I really do enjoy obscure stories and writing. I will recommend this for those that enjoy their fantasy with a sprinkle of mystery and horror. I will not recommend it to those that are looking for a straight-forward narrative. 

Please see below for links. Thank you for letting me read this!
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This books starts off SO strong. There is great atmosphere, mystery, and the beginning of what seems to be an epic adventure as Kira tries to figure out what has happened to her sister. Unfortunately, it slows down rapidly after the first chapters. The pacing was not consistent--some events took a few pages to unfold completely and others took several chapters and felt forced (and, ultimately, irrelevant.) I loved the concept, and I think that Cranie-Higgs wrote the world of Whiteland beautifully, but the plot left something to be desired. I didn't love the ending because it lacked a true resolution and stopped rather abruptly, which sometimes works well, but in this case it left more questions than answers. I did really like the author's writing style; I found all of the characters believable, including their dialogue. I would love to read more books by Rosie Cranie-Higgs in the future!
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I'm not sure what to think about Whiteland. The world-building of this book is amazing, I kept waiting for White Walkers to come. The world of Whteland is creepy and sick and threatening and so are the people who live there. I loved the concept of this book.
But I didn't like the main character, Kira at all. I couldn't relate to her. She does stupid things in dangerous situations. 

Kira and her family are vacationing in Switzerland. When one morning Kira wakes up finding her twin, Rome missing, she and their parens start looking for her. She is found by a boy named Callum and Kira and her parents think they can get back to their normal lives. But Romy is not herself. She attacks Kira. Not Kira, not her parents seem to understand what's happened with Romy. When Kira starts to pry, when she wants to find out what really happened to Rome, she stumbles into Whiteland. Whiteland is a world that shouldn't exist, a world where monsters are real. 

At first I gave 2 stars but then I decided on 3 because of the world-building.

Thank you to NetGalley and BHC Press for my copy.
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“All we see and all we seem is but a dream within a dream.”

Whiteland is beckoning, and she can only obey. Kira, her sister Romy, and parents, Anna and Matthew, are on holiday in a lonely Swiss mountain village. One their last night, Romy disappears, and when she returns, everything has changed. On the following day, Kira’s parents disappear. Determined to find out what haunts her family, Kira sets out into the forbidden land – Whiteland. 
Rosie Cranie-Higgs has managed to pump in every element expected in a horror novel. Dark world-building, creepy whispers, misty figures, unknown creatures, snowy mountains, mystical rivers, and the feeling of terror that gnaws at you and makes you sit up straight. 
The story is unique. Nothing I’ve read before. The twists in the story were also unexpected. I loved the book. It haunted my dreams when I read it late into the night. Isn’t that the whole point of reading a horror story? The thrill the book makes you experience you when you aren’t reading it.
The incident between Callum and Kira sinking into snow as if it was quicksand was my favorite chilling scene.  The characters were very realistic with Kira’s persistent struggle to help her family out of the catastrophe, although she was terrified to venture out alone. Romy’s descriptive reactions and behavior were also quite well-imagined and written. The description of her haunted eyes specifically was incredibly creepy. 
It was surprising to read about Kira’s acceptance and fascination about the paranormal towards the end. Envy is a strong emotion, and to read about its manifestation in a tale so spooky and sordid was entertaining. 
And yet at times, I thought the dialogue between Callum and Kira was repetitive. There was one whole chapter that I could make nor head nor tail of it. I was confused. Also, I felt like Callum and Kira's narrative was unnecessarily stretched and wasn’t needed for the story. It made it feel like a very lengthy book, although it is only around 300 pages long. What started with a bang fizzled out weak in the end.
I rate the book 3.5 out of 5 stars. In my opinion, making the story a tad bit more concise would make it perfect enough for a perfect score. 
I recommend this book only to an adult audience because of the adult themes of abuse, murder and supernatural discussed in the book.
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Top marks to whoever wrote this blurb - low marks to whoever edited the novel. From the description it seemed like an atmospheric (LOVE a snowy horror, LOVE folklore), tightly plotted piece of horror. Unfortunately the pace dragged, the prose was very overwritten, and the characters were inconsistent. In general it all felt a bit amateurish and overlong, suggesting a lack of confidence and not enough editing. A judicious use of red pen would have really helped - the whole book should be half the length. I do think a lot of these are beginner mistakes though, and I think as the author writes more this will all improve, so I’d read more from her in the future.
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Great read. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Looking forward to more from this author in the future. Looking forward to suggesting this for Halloween reads.
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I received an ARC of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This novel had a great concept but the execution of it took way too long. I didn’t find this scary and I consider it to be more of a fantasy novel, with Whiteland being compared to a more adult, murderous version of Narnia. 
While on an innovent vacation in Switzerland, Romy, the more troubled sister, wanders into the woods during the night and stumbles on Whiteland. She’s later found sleeping in the snow and is brought back to her family but, she’s not regally Romy anymore. What follows is a series of events with her sister trying to discover what actually happened, figure out what Whiteland is, and determine who and what she is as well as her family since they seem to have a legacy with Whiteland. 
The middle bit has to much back and forth in the real world but once Kira starts exploring Whiteland, things get more interesting. I’m still left with a ton of questions, like who’s this Peter person Kira keeps talking about? Did I miss something? It’s totally possible. 
I wasn’t attached to any of the characters though Kira started growing on me. The basis of the world building is strong but I feel like it needs more work. I was hoping to be awed by Whiteland and all its intricacies but I really just feel like at this point, Kira’s just walking through an icy stark forest with deadly creatures in it. 
Anyways, I think I’d pick up the second book in this trilogy just to answer a few questions. This novel wasn’t bad, it just could have been better
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Romy went out overnight and was returned changed. She was found in the snow by Callum and she should be dead. Instead she was violent and not herself. Romy’s sister, Kira goes to see where Callum found her older sister and the two of them find themselves in another world. They endlessly walk though the woods and on a road only to end up back at the resort where they started. Eventually all of Kira’s family goes missing and Kira and Callum risk their lives to find them. 
The writing was interesting, almost a cross between poetic and English as a second language. Some very unique phrases and word choices. 
DNF. I got 65% of the way through before I decided to quit. There are just to many good books out there to force myself to read something that I am not enjoying. Not compelling at all. The characters were okay but nothing had been explained and I did not care enough to find out.
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After reading this twice, I'm still not entirely sure what was going on in this book. It started out normal enough, but after the first few chapters, the plot got very confusing. There was a lot going on with background characters, such as the inn/hotel keeper and the lady that was the family friend of the guy (who was killed later). They were built up as being key players in whatever was going on but then those plot threads were seemingly abandoned with no explanation. Once the two main characters got into Whiteland the second time, the story flow completely fell apart and was very disjointed. While there was eventually some explanation about the main girl's mom, the reveal fell flat. Did I also mention there was a talking fish? No, well...there was a talking fish that literally came out of nowhere that would have been more at home in a trippy anime. I honestly cannot recommend this book.
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A family of four is on a vacation at a secluded, and snowy Swiss mountain village. One of the daughters goes out at night, to get some air, and enjoy some freedom. But something dark and dreary creeps into her, and what comes back the next morning, is not her, is not even human!

This is a folk-lore cum dark-fantasy and horror all merged into one. The first thing I noticed was how well written it is, even at times, when the story stopped working for me, I continued because of the writing, and I think it was the writing style and the tone of the writing that made it a 100 times more creepy than the story was supposed to be.
The starting hooked me in completely, but then it all went downhill from there. The atmosphere is eerie and creepy from the get-go and only increased in intensity as the story progressed. There were typical jump scares and characters all mindlessly doing what they weren’t supposed to, just like in a horror movie, lol. But it all worked till the middle of the story, and then it became a chore for me to continue. It did pick up a bit towards the ending, and I think the ending made up for everywhere it lacked previously, I love dark endings and this one delivered just that.

I think this story is more suited for a younger audience, I found the witty back and forth between the characters ill-timed and sometimes jarring to read, especially given the circumstances. Having said that, I think it’ll do great if it’s adapted for the screen, it has all the components to make it there and do well.

Thanks to Netgalley, author and publishers for a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book has so much potential. Whiteland is chaotic at times, haunting, imaginative. The writing style is something like stream of consciousness, but it gets repetitive (hiccup is used a lot). Some character development seems rushed or simply forgotten about, particularly near the end when the reactions dont necessarily make the most sense. I am looking forward to the sequel. With good editing it could be a defining series, dark fantasy series.
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this. Unfortunately, I could not finish it.  
The start was really good. Loved the first few chapters, with Romy’s mind being all dark and foggy and interesting, and then the beginning of the plot was just WOW. It hooked me up real quick. But then it just… became boring, and pointless, and the prose was no longer interesting and rich but repetitive and purple. I struggle so much to finish this book that when I tried to pick it up again, the app would direct me to a comic, and well, I could no longer download the ARC. I know I won’t buy the book to see how it went. I hope people enjoy it! I just couldn’t.
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Whiteland has an intriguing premise but I unfortunately couldn’t get myself to stay interested. I am unable to finish this book, I don’t believe I am the target audience for it. Thank you very much to Netgalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy!
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Honestly, I’m just going to come out straight away and say this: this was the worst book I’ve read in a really long time. For the right reader I’m sure it will work, and I’m normally not too big on horror stories as it is anyway, but. This definitely wasn’t for me. 

To begin with, there’s nothing offensive or anything about this book so objectively it’s definitely not terrible. What made me really dislike this book was how stupidly boring this was. I’m really a chicken, literally everything that even touches on being horror usually scares me half to death, and a big thing about this book for me was that I wasn’t scared at all. Not even creeped out in the slightest. I mean, whenever I read horror books – which very rarely happens – the point is to be scared, but instead I found myself wanting to put this book down (and I never do-not-finish books, ever) or actually skim reading it, which also super rarely happens.

Moreover, I found Kira to be a privileged, unsufferable main character while also feeling pretty…flat. Same goes for pretty much all characters in this book, and the romance had me roll my eyes very hard.

I also found the writing to be pretty confusing too big a portion of the time. I’m also pretty mad because I normally love Scandinavian-inspired things but I found myself really not caring at all.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this book really wasn’t for me.
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Unfortunately, this isn't my cup of tea. I wanted to love this book. The plot about Scandinavian folklore fascinated me. But it was hard for me to grasp the story with its prose, and I was feeling more detached as I kept on reading it. I found it too verbose, like the writer was trying to impress the readers with her style? Sorry, I don't know. I just wished it was written in a simpler way and condensed.

Thank you for the ARC.
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This book started off really strong. It had a very palpable atmosphere and setting. You could almost feel yourself surrounded by the cold. The horror events started right away and that made me immediately interested and excited. 
It also did a really good job of setting up and immediate connection between the main character and the potential love interest. The dynamics between the family were well established and interesting.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book.

Unfortunately, I hated the second half of the book. 
The pacing is abysmal. So much time is spent doing nothing that I started to feel like I was losing my mind with the main character.
Nothing in Whiteland is well explained which I understand was the point but it makes for a very boring reading experience. The book seems to lose any sense of the characters motivations. 
The longer the book went on the lower my rating got. I truly think that a third of this book could be removed and that it would make for a stronger book overall. 
There's a good story in here somewhere but as it is, it's not enjoyable.
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I have no idea how to describe how I feel about this one. I didn’t like it was much as I thought I would, but I enjoyed it more than I feel like I should have. 

Generally speaking, Kira and her family are on vacation in Switzerland when her sister goes out for a walk at night and nearly dies. She is somehow changed when she gets back, terrifying and otherworldly and her parents just seem to want to pretend like it’s not happening. She makes friends with a local boy, Callum, who helps her even though no one is exactly sure why he would. 

I felt for Kira throughout this book, mostly because the real horror seemed to be how childish her parents were and how much they relied on her to be the adult... it continued on in the most annoyingly unacknowledged way and that was truly frustrating.

The horror elements are based on Scandinavian folklore and are passably frightening, at least in the beginning—I feel like this lost me around halfway and I never really got back into it again. It seemed like it had a little too much filler, especially around the middle. But I still generally liked it... perhaps it reminded me more of a screenplay than a novel.

thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I just couldn't like this one. I really tried and am glad I finished it but it was so...strange. It had a good premise but I just didn't end up liking it
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Sadly other book I'm DNF , been trying to understand what is going in for an Hour and half and i'm so confused .
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* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review* 

This was definitely not for me and I'll be honest, I really struggled to finish it. Learn from my fail: for better or worse, blurbs are a product of marketing, whose intention is to sell books, not match the right reader to the book. The blurb SOUNDED like everything I love: magic! Folklore! The forest ! Scandinavian gods! This is not what the book delivered. So I'll address all of the things that led to this being a 2-star review, which I loathe to give because I take no pleasure in a writer whose work missed the target. However, I also wouldn't want someone who paid money to be as disappointed as I was. 

First: It is about 25 chapters too long. Instead of filling extra chapters with bloated, overwritten stuff that drags the plot to a grinding halt, this could have easily been edited down to 25, well-paced, tightly written scenes. I hold the editors and publisher more accountable for this, because its clearly there to beef up the page count. I was ready for the book to be over at the 44% mark, but I soldiered on because I hate writing a review without giving a book the chance to redeem itself. (This book did not.)   

Second: Like many YA novels, it falls victim to "writerly writing", full of unnecessary adverbs and awkward cliches. There's sardonic grins, sly looks, scoffing, grinning (sardonic and otherwise), droll smiles, huffing, hissing, glaring, chortling, chuckling, wry smirks, snorts, groans, exclamations, upturned chins, etc. Again: I blame the editor as much as the author. You had ONE job. 

Next: The story is told in 3rd person present tense, which is weird for a reader because it sounds like a script. There is also a lot of passive action, instead of active voice. It was also clunky that the main characters parents are consistently called by their first names, because the expository action was overly confusing. There are also very strange turns of language like an " engine kangarooing" or an emotion that "washes over like a suicide" that I guess are supposed to be creative but felt like a reach. 

The characters act very unrealistic vs how actual people act (for example, how many families do you know where if one of their children were carried home unconscious from frostbite would be more concerned with making their flight than going to the hospital?) This makes for characters you can't relate to and stakes that only feel high because the author tells you they are. 

I am also SO over YA novels creating an aggravating, insulting, condescending, conflict riddled interaction between a male/female pairing and then trying to sell it to us as "romance." I am so tired of seeing a male character talk down to a female (who is usually THE PROTAGONIST), make overly familiar jokes at her expense, yell at her, antagonize her, question her competence.... Only to be rewarded by getting his face kissed. Boring, and honestly really bad for a pre-teen or teen reader because you're basically planting the seed of the idea that men who make you feel bad are boyfriend material. Its the 21st century, come on. Create romantic pairings that defy hetero normative couplings and treat each other well -- aren't those the characters whose faces deserve to be kissed? 

By the end of this book I was not invested in any of the characters, and I honestly can't believe there's two more books planned in the series, except I can, because the ending was incredibly unsatisfying and yielded no answers. I won't be along for the ride on the next two, but if this book is your jam, more power to you.
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