Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: The White Oak

The White Oak
The White Oak by Kim White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy/Mythology Reading Level: Young Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook eGalley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In The White Oak, the first book in the Imperfect Darkness series, Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuilt it, trapping human souls in a mechanical, computer-controlled city that lies at the core of the earth. To survive, Cora must rely on her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, an artificial intelligence built by Minos. She is helped by a mysterious voice, and by Sybil, underworld librarian and author of each person’s book of life. Sybil’s collection holds the key to humankind’s intertwined life stories. When Cora’s own book is destroyed, Sybil gives her a magical golden pen and sends her to the underworld city to write her own destiny. Along the way, Cora finds the ghost of her dead brother, Lucas, a genius programmer who alone is capable of finding the chink in Minos's armor. But will he be able to get Cora out alive, or will they both succumb to the seemingly inescapable underworld trap?

My Thoughts: Generally speaking, when reading fiction based upon mythology, I like things kept fairly closely to the mythology. If the fiction creates its own mythology, that is fine, but it should create a complete new world, not just recreate the old one – or at least, that’s how I prefer things. I’m not sure if I like this technological wasteland they’ve made of the Underworld – using a combination of pagan and Christian mythology – nor am I certain that I will follow the series going forward. However, the book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, and I also hate being left in the lurch like that, so maybe I’ll read the next one, at least, out of curiosity.

I think many readers of YA fantasy, especially that based upon mythology, will probably like this book, however. While we only get a cursory idea of the characters, what we do see is fairly intriguing, and the plot flows smoothly with few errors. So, while it wasn’t really my thing, I can still recommend it to those who might like this sort of story.

Coming up (info on the series as a whole): In an adventure spanning four novels and three worlds, Cora and Lucas overcome a curse that has plagued their family for generations. With seeds carried into the underworld from the land of the living, a sword forged from the soul of their dead father, and a golden pen that can rewrite the past and shape the future, they embark on an adrenaline-fueled quest to free not only themselves but the souls of the dead.

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