by Rosie Cranie-Higgs
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Pub Date 15 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2022
Blending Scandinavian folklore with dark fairy tales, this creepy and atmospheric debut novel by Rosie Cranie-Higgs will take you on a psychological joyride down a rabbit hole into a terror-filled realm known only as Whiteland.
You’re only going to get burned.’
‘Monsters,’ she calls into the night. ‘And girls who go looking for them.’
In a lonely Swiss mountain village, Kira’s holiday erupts. It’s winter, it’s eerie, and out in the woods something imbeds its claws into her sister.
When Romy returns, she’s different. She’s violent, inhuman, and by rights, should be dead. Even though things aren’t normal, all their parents care about is that she’s still alive.
In the otherworldly forest, Kira starts to pry, but secrets like to be kept. With the help of Callum, a sarcastic Scotsman, Kira stumbles upon the folkloric world of Whiteland, eating all she knows.
If Kira runs away, she’ll be safe. If she doesn’t, her family might not survive. In the end, there’s no mercy in revenge.
A Note From the Publisher
“…takes readers down a terror-filled rabbit hole in the Swiss Alps. This powerful series launch will haunt readers well after they’re done reading.” —Publishers Weekly
“Winter time. In the woods. Swiss folklore. Female lead. Revenge! …there is plenty to capture your interest. I genuinely shivered…” —Scream Magazine
* Extensive advertising on NetGalley: Debut Author Category spotlight (Aug 2020), Featured Title Placement, Homepage Title Listing, and Cover Love
* Online and print advertising, including Publishers Weekly and Scream Magazine
* Targeted marketing to ALA
* Special contests and series promotions with hidden easter-egg content
* Social media campaign with emphasis on Instagram
Key Selling Points
* One of the most unique horror books ever written, readers will love the fresh and dark Scandinavian folklore of huldra, kyo, and other creatures in this dark, wintery world.
* Crossing genres of horror, supernatural, fantasy, psychological horror, and dark fairy tales, Whiteland will appeal to a massive fanbase of readers and movie fans alike, including Imaginary Friend by Steven Chbosky and aficionados of Sam Raimi’s cult classic movies The Evil Dead and Drag me to Hell.
* Younger characters have huge crossover appeal to older YA audiences.
Average rating from 95 members
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
« ‘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.
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.
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.
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.
I really enjoyed the beginning, I loved the beginning. But, after the first start I had a harder time enjoying the book. The book was still a good read but the author did a lot of repetition. A good amount could have been taken off the book and still have the story.
Kira is on a holiday with her family, when her sister disappears twice so Kira teams up with Callum to find her. The people or characters that they meet on their adventure remind me of a mixture of the grims brothers fairy tales and narnia kind of characters. I think that this is a new ground for me because while I have read Stephen King books but I really haven’t read anything Fantasy Horror. I love the creepy eerie feelings, while I do have a lot of hope for the trilogy I think this book has a lot of potential and I am definitely looking forward to finishing the next installment in this series.
I really enjoyed this book. It was full of Intrigue and I was so gripped. I really enjoyed something a bit different because I usually like a romance novel.
This book is exciting and keeps you involved right from the beginning.
Whiteland is a brilliant book and I think the concept of it is so interesting, nothing like I've read before.
The twoing and froing between Kira and Callum is quite amusing in parts and I was looking forward to seeing what was going to happen with them
When Kira is in her dreams I feel like I'm there in her dreams with her, its so we'll written.
I really enjoyed the references to Game of Thrones and Lord of the rings.
Lastly I loved at the end of the book at you find out Whiteland is based where the author lives. It sounds both spooky and beautiful.
The narration seemed to have a very staccato rhythm that gave the writing an extra momentum and the scenes and setting extra eeriness.
I would recommend this to readers that want to move with the main character through the story.
An innovative mix of horror and fantasy drawn from Scandinavian folklore. Elements of a dark fairy tale that will appeal to teens and young adult. The writing style is a bit different than I've encountered reading other horror novels, A promising start that fades into a slow burn; areas of repetition burden the plot at times. I do recommend this book but its appeal may not be for everyone. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC.
What is in a name you say? Depends on who you ask. For some, it is the name of a murderess. For others, it is the name of a beloved mother.
A holiday for the quintessential modern family turns into a nightmare with a step into the woods and an ending that you will not soon forget.
Going to Switzerland for Christmas was meant to be fun, not end up with a visit to Narnia meets Alice In Wonderland. When Romy is brought back in the arms of a young Scot named Callum after going on a near death excursion to the woods at midnight, she isn’t the same. Although always dark and brooding, this just wasn’t the same! Is this really Romy or someone pretending to be? Kira needs to know and goes on a quest that would take her to a place she would never imagine, not even in her wildest dreams. To Whiteland.
On this journey she meets the unimaginable and sees things she can never unsee or forget. Will she find out who Anneliese is? Why is she so important and more importantly, why is she so important to Kira and her family?
With subtle hints of Scottish wit and dry British humor, this is a book that will keep you coming back for more and make you question whether an ending is ever the end.
Great read. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Looking forward to more from this author in the future. Looking forward to suggesting this for Halloween reads.
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.
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!
this was a really scary read, the topic really hit home for me and it was so well done. I loved the use of Scandinavian folk lore. I look forward to more from this author.
WHITELAND is a story of a girl trying to bring her family together and it is full of folklore and mystery. Kira accidentally learns of Whiteland while she is trying to find out what happened to her sister. Once she realized that Whiteland is not part of her imagination but is actually a different realm than her world, the story took on a different light. I was expecting different creatures but was surprised and thrilled to learn of something new to me. The worldbuilding was fabulous. I knew I was reading about a different realm when Kira was in Whiteland. Her travels through this new world helped paint the picture in my head. The climax of the story was believable. I was a little disappointed in the ending of the story. It seemed a bit rushed. I’m hoping it will be remedied in the sequel, which I’m looking forward to reading.
Spoiler – I was hoping to see Romy come back to herself somehow and separate herself from the Kyo.
I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley and am leaving my honest review voluntarily. I will be adding this review to my website EveHallows.com.
'Whiteland' by Rosie Cranie-Higgs is a blend of horror and fantasy with folklore and dark fairy tale elements. The book starts on a horrifying and chilling note and I was instantly drawn into the world weaved by the author. But the enchantment cast by the author seems to fade in the middle and I felt the novel lacked the chill invoked at the beginning. The story seemed to drag a bit; while I liked how the bond between Kira and Callum grows, the number of near-misses the duo encounter could have been minimized to maintain the tempo. I also felt that the later chapters was a whirlwind, with too much of elements blending in a bit of a haphazard manner. Personally, I found some aspects of the end guessable, but that didn't really make it any less creepy to read. I loved the imagery employed by the author, I really could visualize the scenes in my mind and I feel that's the selling point of this book. It got me involved with the adventuring experienced by the duo and I can say, I do feel like I travelled to Whiteland alongside Kira and Callum. If some chunk of the book in the middle had been trimmed, this would have easily gotten a 4.5 or higher from me.
Overall, a very scintillating read albeit a bit dragging in some places.
Thank you NetGalley and BHC Press for the copy in exchange for my honest review.
When I started this book, I thought of it as a fantasy horror story on steroids. I was sucked in immediately, ready to go down the rabbit hole of a unique fairy tale adventure. The beginning blew me away with uncertainty, and I couldn’t read fast enough to unravel the mystery.
Then, everything started to sputter. Dialogue between the two main characters became repetitive. The adventures felt drawn out without a real sense of direction. The tension so brilliantly developed in the first act now dragged and nearly vanished mid-book. I started skimming and had to reread sections. Part of it was my own impatience. The delicate folds of the plot simply didn’t unravel fast enough. The reaction scenes seemed unnecessarily drawn out when I longed for more action. The protagonist’s arc didn’t develop quick enough to hold my attention which left me unenthusiastically cheering for her throughout the final moments.
It was disappointing, and I even found myself wondering how the shift had occurred. The actual writing style was well done. There’s vivid imagery and lovely descriptions throughout the entire book, and the action scenes incite all the senses, but even with this stellar technique, I couldn’t stay focused on a plot that simply lost speed in the middle.
While this book wasn’t for me, I’d absolutely read another book by the author. It’s a unique premise with lots of imagination spilling into the story world. The author clearly is a skilled wordsmith in terms of syntax and sentence construction, and I’d love to read more in the future in hopes that plot development would continue to improve.
This is a awesome read. It has a wonderfully well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the very beginning. .I loved the characters and found them very believable. The suspense was great and I found myself second guessing myself throughout the entire book.
Whiteland is perfect for you if you're the atmospheric reader. The writing has a literary feel which could be a hinderance to some readers, but it a great snow day read. Set in a small Swiss village and the forrest nearby, it is a setting for a creepy tale. For me, the characters interactions seemed a bit stilted and I had trouble finishing. Overall, 2.5-3 stars.