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The White Forest: A Novel by Adam McOmber

The White Forest: A Novel

by Adam McOmber

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2082391,742 (3.34)6
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret-- an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects-- and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan's interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London's elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean. A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan's disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it's too late.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Interesting book, gothic fantasy with a serving of the philosophiical battle between evolution, creation, or goddess, so true to its time setting.

Who is Jane Silverlake? Where did Nathan Ashe go? What did Ariston Day do to him, and what does Day have planned? What is happening at Stoke Morrow and the Heath? With names like that, the reader gets a sense of all the original gothics rolled into one but also knows that the story is its own unique telling. Good writing and a page turner, but definitely expect a complete new twist on the genre. And, it lingers. I keep wondering what it all means, if anything, which is how I like an author to leave it.

As a side note, I enjoyed listening to original music from the TV series Dowton Abbey while reading. Gave it just the dark melancholic but fast paced sense that was needed. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Jane, Maddy, and Nathan have been close friends since Maddy Jane to join in the other two’s adventures on London’s Hampstead Heath. This friendship continued into their young adulthood. However, the friendship has been threatened since Nathan’s return from Malta and the Crimean War. Both women noticed a change in Nathan’s personality, which only became worse when he became involved with the charismatic Ariston Day and the Temple of the Lamb. The cult had attracted many of London’s young aristocratic males into its exploration of arcane philosophies. One night, after one of the Temple’s rites, Nathan mysteriously disappears.

Jane’s mother died in an accident on the heath when Jane was a young girl. Shortly after, she discovered that she possesses a supernatural gift which enables her to see the souls of man-made objects, a gift that can be shared with others during physical contact. Although Nathan and Maddy had kept Jane’s secret, which could be disturbing to others when shared, for years, Nathan shared the secret with Ariston, who became convinced that Jane was the “doorway” into a mysterious world known as the Empyrean and could be the instrument in removing the barrier between the two worlds, an action Ariston believes would unleash paradise. Jane hopes to find Nathan using her gift while avoiding being drawn into Ariston’s plans that Jane believes would unleash hell rather than Eden.

Although I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t without its flaws. I initially found the plot convoluted, which made it difficult for me to follow. This wasn’t helped with the addition of characters I thought would be major ones only to scratch my head regarding the reason for their inclusion. The pace dragged at moments but plot elements would be added as Jane discovered what happened to Nathan, which kept me reading. I especially enjoyed the evolution of Jane’s gift and her increasing awareness of her abilities.
( )
  John_Warner | Jan 19, 2016 |
Seriously? ( )
  picardyrose | Feb 27, 2014 |
The White Forest is a Gothic wonder that draws one to the outskirts of London and into the lives of Jane, Maddy, and Nathan; this novel reminds me of another novel - Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. I appreciate the way McOmber slowly unravels Jane's world through mysterious prophecies and leads the reader toward the netherworld or, in this case, the Empyrean. ( )
  KarenRinn | Nov 2, 2013 |
From my blog:

The White Forest by Adam McOmber is a novel in its own league. From the tone to the characters to the magic, I honestly can’t compare it to anything else I’ve read. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about it any time soon, and it has high re-read potential just so that I can try to make sense of all the blissfully odd pieces. I honestly haven’t read a lot of gothic stories and only a few historical fantasies, but I definitely liked my introduction!
Note: I received The White Forest from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of The White Forest is quite original. A girl can hear sounds and see colors from man-made objects that seem to be the souls of the objects. In most YA this would have a direct use and she would solve the mystery with her power and go on her merry way. The White Forest is not that story. There are trees that aren’t trees and goddesses that may or may not be goddesses. Nothing follows the direction you expect it to and it was so much fun to explore.
The tone of The White Forest is very classic. I immediately was reminded of English countryside and tea ;-). It just fits the setting so perfectly and really sets the mood.
The main character, Jane, has a very unique personality. She is not very good with people and just seems to be odd. I was delighted to realize that this made complete sense in the end!
I had to look up what a heath was, but once I did I quite enjoyed the setting. The White Forest is set in London and there were several clever uses of various historic sights during the book.
Wow, that ending…. You’ll guess some of it sure, but I don’t think anyone will be able to guess all of it. The perfect end to such a trippy ride, hehe.

While Jane is an interesting character, her personality made it so that there weren’t very strong relationships even with her best friends. I was left feeling that the other characters had only existed to assist Jane’s forward momentum.
To go along with the very appropriate tone, The White Forest lags at times. I ended up mostly enjoying drifting around the peaceful parts, but it definitely wasn’t an edge-of-your-seat experience for me.
There are frequent jumps between the past and the present to fill in information, but there aren’t any indicators of when time jumps are happening. You can generally tell from the context, but it was a bit disorienting at times.

The White Forest might take you several days to read due to its pacing, but they will likely be very enjoyable days. If you are looking for something fresh and original, you’ve come to the right book. Even as a long time fantasy reader, I was surprised and delighted at the creativity shown in The White Forest’s plot and world. If all gothic books are like this, then I’ll have to start reading more of them!
( )
  anyaejo | Sep 7, 2013 |
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When Nathan Ashe disappeared from the ruined streets of Southwark, I couldn't help but think the horror was, at least in my part, my own design
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