By Ilsa J. Bick
Series: Dark Passages #1
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Published by Egmont USA
Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it’s as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she’s real.
Then she writes “White Space,” a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard.
Thing is . . . “White Space” is virtually identical to a portion of an unfinished novel about characters who jump off pages into other stories. But she’s never seen that manuscript. No one has since the writer, killed years ago, never completed the book.
Which means she’s blinked into the head of the dead guy?
Or has she tripped into the nightmare of her own story? Because now Emma is trapped in a bizarre, fog-shrouded valley with other kids who have their own dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie.
Now they must discover why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.
I’m not even sure where to start with this book. The premise was so intriguing, and I was really looking forward to reading this. At the start of the book, though, I felt that I’d been dropped into the middle of a story. There was no explanation for what was happening, who these people were, and there were many words and concepts that are not explained to the reader.
I kept waiting for things to make sense, but even when I felt that I had teased out an explanation and was beginning to understand what was happening, I was still confused. Often I felt as though much of this book was just over my head, that the characters were much smarter than me and I simply couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Reading and rereading sentences in an attempt to grasp the concepts was not an enjoyable experience.
I also felt no emotional connection to the characters. There were quite a few characters, and I actually liked most of them, but I didn’t connect with them or care about them the way I always hope to do when I read.
The structure of the book was tricky for me too. Many of the chapters ended in the middle of a sentence, and since most chapters alternate between different characters, it was frustrating to have to wait a few chapters to get back to finding out what happened next to the character whose chapter ended mid-sentence.
There were a lot more horror and gore elements to this book than I expected. The characters kept winding up in horrifying, scary, truly bizarre situations, and I really enjoyed reading those parts. If you are squeamish though, you may wind up skimming much of the book!
This book was a major mind melder! The twists and turns and horror and confusion of it all was both intriguing and incredibly frustrating, and knowing as I read that there was going to be a sequel did not make that confusing, dissatisfying ending any easier to take. After reading 500+ pages, I don’t feel any closer to understanding what this book was all about, but I know I’m going to read the second book just to see if I will finally be able to make sense of it all.
I would recommend this if you have the patience for a 560 page book that will not give you all the answers you’re looking for (and the answers you do get will not be easily obtained).