ARC Review: White Space by Ilsa J. Bick

February 18, 2014 Review 46 ★★

ARC Review: White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Egmontusa
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 560
Release Date: February 11th 2014
Series: The Dark Passages #1
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
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In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the written lines.

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.

Unfortunately, "White Space" turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she's never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she's dropped into the very story she thought she'd written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they-and Emma-may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose.

Now what they must uncover is 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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bec (2)

WHITE SPACE is a book I wanted to love. It sounded so intriguing when I read the summary, I couldn’t believe I’d actually gotten my hand on an ARC, I was so excited to start reading it and then…. Well. I am very conflicted.

There was a lot of potential in WHITE SPACE. So many story lines and directions it could have gone. I didn’t realise it was horror until Terrible Things started happening and

I actually put it down because I was afraid of what would happen if I read it before bed. It was that scary.

Unfortunately that was one of the few really good things I enjoyed about WHITE SPACE. Most of the novel I had issues with, I found myself struggling to find motivation to keep reading, I even considered DNFing (and have read reviews where people have DNFed) because

Some of this confusion is a good thing and part of the story: Are any of the characters real? Why are they here? But when I’m also getting confused for most of the novel because WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON????… That’s not good.

Things that added up to major confusion: lack of explanation about things, weird explanations with words/terms that add to confusion, pop culture references that are going straight over my head. Nothing helped really. And it sucked because I wanted to really like this and I was interested in what was going on but the confusion made me… less motivated to pick it up. And it’s length didn’t help things.

Other things I had issues with that I’m only realising now are we didn’t really get to know the characters as well as we could of. Even though the story switches between them and their own storylines, I feel like I know only the bare bones of their back stories and maybe that’s why I was struggling to connect with them. The romance was also a point of annoyance for me. One couple developed nicely but I’m pretty sure any chances they had were buried at the end. The other couple irritated me because it just seemed like they were pretty much together at the beginning even after having just meant and then there was the new favourite YA scene. You know, the Let’s Make Out In Dangerous Situations When We Should Be Doing Something Important and Not Trying to Die one which really makes me

WHITE SPACE was a confusing novel that I think a lot of people are going to DNF. Things aren’t always explained well and you’re left with a lot of questions. I found some of the romance irritating and characters lacking. BUT, I still kind of enjoyed it. There were some great horror scenes which honestly creeped me out. And the ending was interesting enough to make me consider picking up the sequel in the hope of more, final, clearer answers. It’s a rather conflicting feeling.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 2.2

46 Responses to “ARC Review: White Space by Ilsa J. Bick”

  1. Tanja

    Well this does sound confusing. It’s really annoying when you read about people and some events and you have no idea why something happened. I mean I cannot read mind of living people, much less characters in the book. So sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much. Great review.
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: Shattered Secrets by Kyrstal Wade

    • Bec

      Everything worked out in the end and made more sense, but it took forever to get there. I don’t know if it was worth it, but I do still want to read the next book. Maybe answers will clear things up more.

    • Bec

      It is a really interesting idea! I had lowish expectations too and yeah… Maybe you will like it more than I did though, knowing it’s confusing and stuff.

      Thanks

    • Bec

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about some of her other books, but I haven’t read any of them.

      She is great at horror. Actually, I hope she just writes a plain horror novel one day. It’d be good.

  2. Amir

    I’ve read confusing books too and I can understand when it gets so frustrating that its really tempting to just DNF it. The horror aspect of it does seem confusing but from my experience books like this annoy the hell out of me so I might just give this one a pass. Great review Alise!
    Amir recently posted…Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

    • Bec

      The horror wasn’t too confusing in it’s self. It was actually good. The thing was I didn’t read the full synopsis and wasn’t expecting it so for me it came out of nowhere.

      Yeah it’d probably be wise not to go near it if you think it will annoy you.

  3. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    Oh yikes! So sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you wanted to Bec! I can definitely see how you were drawn into this one…the synopsis is quite engrossing; but it’s a shame that the actual plot was so lacking and confusing. It always bothers me when plots are confusing, and not explaining elements crucial to the plot is just…ugh! And bad romance? No thank you!

    It’s good you at least found the horror elements and some of the story as a whole somewhat enjoyable! It’s always a good thing to find at least one thing you like, right? ;)

    As always, brilliant review Bec & thanks for sharing! I’m probably not going to end up reading this, but if I’m in a mood for a horror novel, I’ll definitely keep this in mind.
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Uninvited

    • Bec

      It sounded so good, and then it wasn’t :'( I don’t mind confusing plots if I have a LITTLE idea of what’s going on, or at least get answers that clear everything up (sooner rather than later).

      Having at least one redeeming aspect is always a good thing. It kept me reading… for a little while (as well as my need for explanations)

      Thanks!

    • Bec

      I’ve probably seen 3 people (other than myself) finish it (you’re included. And they’re all aussie reviewers. Huh.) I was getting worried too, and seeing all the DNFs was making me second guess my decision to continue.

      Thanks

  4. Cait

    I haven’t read any terribly positive reviews on this one yet! Majority rules for me, I’m afraid, and I don’t think I’ll read it. I got confused reading Divergent for the first time. Come on! That’s not a particularly difficult one! So, I’ll definitely be floating in white space without a paddle. ;)
    Cait recently posted…Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

    • Bec

      I’ve read one positive review and one meh review. Most others have been DNFs though. You won’t be alone in that decision.

      bahaha, brilliant.

  5. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    Oh man, this looked so promising! I didn’t realise this was shelved under horror either, but I’m up for a good scare. The romance and insta-love is very off-putting, and I’m not sure what to make of the confusing plot line. Definitely not a book that can be read over several sittings right? I will add this to my TBR pile, but I probably won’t get around to it for a while. Thanks for the lovely review Alise! x
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

    • Bec

      The horror is the really good bit!

      I read it over several sittings. Because I found it hard to continue when I had no idea what was going on and I needed a break. The book is also almost 600 pages or something, so it would be a long single sitting.

      Hope you enjoy it more than I did when you do get around to it.

  6. Pam@YAEscapefromReality

    I have had this one forever on my Kindle but I haven’t started it yet and the more reviews I read, the more I don’t know if I should read it. I did read her Ashes series and I had issues with it (so many different POVs, some confusion, etc) but I still really enjoyed it. It sounds like this one has those issues as well, and possibly amplified. It’s one thing to be a little confused because the book isn’t giving you all of the information on purpose, and is slowly revealing it as the characters figure things out, which can be fun, but quite another to be just completely lost throughout the whole thing. I’m conflicted. Thanks for the honest review!
    Pam@YAEscapefromReality recently posted…Help! Need Completed Series to Read

    • Bec

      I haven’t read her trilogy so I can’t compare, but it is definitely confusing and sounds like similar issues. Every review I’ve read says so. It’s not that it’s not giving you the info, it just isn’t explained all that well. I think the element is supposed to be mysterious or something but… meh.

      No worries

    • Bec

      Aww :( It’s not getting the most positive of receptions, is it? But there are still people out there enjoying it. Just not as many. And you might like it!

      No worries

    • Bec

      Big yay >< The pop culture references were from either things I had no clue about, things I haven't seen (like The Matrix), and the two things that it's compared to in the summary. Mostly I didn't understand any of them so they only added to confusion.

    • Bec

      Yeah, there were a few good aspects that made it enjoyable at times. And it’s definitely unique.

      Thanks! I’m off to read yours right now :D

  7. Rashika

    MATRIX MEETS INKHEART????
    I cannot believe that they couldn’t pull this off *sniffs* It’s really sad since I’ve been looking for a book that has a similar concept to Inkheart for a while. I think that a book like this is bound to have some confusing moments but if you’re lost for the majority there is no point in reading it :/

    I am sorry this didn’t work for you :(

    Great review though! :)
    Rashika recently posted…Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

    • Bec

      I haven’t read Inkheart (yet) but it is a very interesting concept. Just because I had issues doesn’t mean you will though.

      Thanks!

  8. Kirsty-Marie

    Yeah…that’s pretty much my reaction. The blood and gore was the only thing that really kept me reading, because yeah, there really wasn’t much more. I love being confused in books, not knowing who to trust or what the hells going on, but there’s that, and then there’s White Space. :(
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Secret Diamond Sisters

    • Bec

      Being confused can be a good thing! It adds to mystery and suspense. But when it’s confusion because nothing makes sense… yeah. That’s not so good.

    • Bec

      Most of the other reviews aren’t too positive, not the ones I’ve seen anyway… A lot of people are having similar problems to me.

    • Bec

      Yeah, twas a bit like that. And it’s really something I don’t like to feel when I’m reading because I KNOW I am smart but the books make me doubt myself. John Green books make me feel stupid…

  9. April @ My Shelf Confessions

    I was super excited to get my hands on this one too – esp since I loved her other trilogy SO SO SO much and I RARELY DNF books.. but this one I couldn’t even get like 10 pages in without realizing I was majorly confused.. and then I read so many other reviews that say the confusion doesn’t clear up.. So for now I’ve set it aside and will maybe try to pick it up again when I’m in a slump or something? That’s mainly why I set it aside (besides the confusion) is that I’m on a great reading streak and I could tell this was gonna slow me down and/or put me in a funk..

    Bummed to hear it was so confusing for you! Although I do admit I feel better that it wasn’t just me. I hope at some point I’m able to make it all the way through and feel the same as you do – that the next might be worth reading. I honestly WANT to love this one SO bad, that’s what makes it so sad!

    • Bec

      Aw no :( I hate when you’re disappointed like that but yeah, it happens. Maybe pick it up later and take your time with it. I’d suggest when you’re NOT in a slump, because this could push you further into one (or maybe not. It could bring you out of it. Everyone’s different). It does clear up a bit after the start and then gets confusing again…

      It definitely wasn’t just you. So many people are struggling with it.

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