✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ Empyrean By Adam McOmber ✼ – Dailytradenews.co.uk

Empyrean txt Empyrean, text ebook Empyrean, adobe reader Empyrean, chapter 2 Empyrean, Empyrean 3aab3f In This Hauntingly Original Debut Novel About A Young Woman Whose Peculiar Abilities Help Her Infiltrate A Mysterious Secret Society, Adam McOmber Uses Fantastical Twists And Dark Turns To Create A Fast Paced, Unforgettable Story 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

About the Author: Adam McOmber

Adam McOmber s novel, The White Forest, will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in September 2012 He is also the author of a book of short stories, This New Poisonous Air BOA Editions, 2011 His work has appeared in Conjunctions, StoryQuarterly, The Fairy Tale Review, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Greensboro Review and Arts and Letters He has been nominated

10 thoughts on “Empyrean

  1. says:

    Literary masterpiece The story itself is odd yet compelling The first ten pages are confusing but slowly the conflict takes shape Jane, a somewhat backward girl, senses the living souls of matter Sometimes deafening and disturbing and other times calming and complete, Jane shares her gift with her best friends, Maddie and Nathan Unfortunately, Jane knows little of human nature and petty jealousies The story gathers speed even in nineteenth century England, as Maddie and Jane try to solve the mystery of Nathan s disappearance This will eventually lead them to the charismatic and possibly dangerous cult and persona of Ariston Day.Feel free to leave any pre conceived ideas about Genesis and In the beginning The beginning may have begun before I didn t love the conclusion although it is not disturbing It is the logical conclusion I loved the prose and originality and the way the story reveals itself in a way to be believable in a surreal manner and an enjoyable way to spend a day of reading.It s weird and dark and can be compared to Night Circus in that way but not as much fun as Night Circus.

  2. says:

    Fantastical and haunting, from the start THE WHITE FOREST has me riveted to the page I can t tell if our narrator is out of JANE EYRE or THE TELL TALE HEART, but her measured description of her strange world has me captivated Jane is a contradictory mix of petty emotion and open hearted loneliness, making her grateful and jealous of the attention of her friends Even intriguing, her otherworldly gift seems both dangerous and innocuous, linked both to her mother s death and a meaningless presentation of colors and sounds when she touches certain objects The mystery of THE WHITE FOREST unfolds on so many different levels At the present day, Nathan is missing Below that lurks the secret of Jane s gift and how it relates to both Nathan s disappearance and Jane s future And then deeper still, simmering in the background is the complex alchemy of these relationships Jane and Maddie and Nathan meshed together in friendship, jealousy, and attraction I could never tell if the cynical way Jane views her value to Maddie and Nathan was realistic or not, and that tension as much as any other kept me reading for clues Though many elements of THE WHITE FOREST remind me of other books and movies that I ve enjoyed THE HISTORIAN and Pan s Labrynth to name two , Jane herself is a singular experience Other characters in THE WHITE FOREST comment on her strange charisma, how she isn t as plain as they first thought This never comes across as the romance trope of a plain heroine who doesn t realize how beautiful she is, or only her true love sees her inner beauty Rather, even on the written page Jane seems both muted and mesmerizing Her narration is almost deadpan, but the circumstances of her story reveal very strong emotions I can t even say that I liked her, and certainly much of her actions aren t admirable in the typical heart of gold sense She can be cruel, she feels the seduction of weilding power over another, and her attachment to Maddie and Nathan is almost smothering At the halfway point I couldn t see any happily ever after for Jane, or even predict where this story s strange magic would take me, but I didn t need either of those things to keep me riveted to the page.THE WHITE FOREST isn t the usual thrilling, sexy urban fantasy, but I love it all the for being something rarer Jane manages to be magnetic and fascinating without being charming, she drew me into the mystery of her circumstances without being predictable, and the pathos of the story is certainly one of foreboding and dread without ever dipping into melodrama or horror A captivating ghost story, a gothic to curl up around and savor, I enjoyed slowing down and immersing myself in this strange, dark world As the story spirals further and further outside human experience, I found myself no less affected An ever after of silence and peace, is that happiness Full review to follow.

  3. says:

    Annotating for reading class, REREAD 2016.REREAD 2016 I reread this book because of the way magic is organic, because it deals with a sort of goddess myth, Victorian magic and superstition, because of tone and mood, and some of the best details I absolutely love Jane I wish I had my first review, but I ve deleted it My conflict with the book on first read was the use of flashbacks, and how some of the story is a flashback within a flashback, and also I wanted The White Forest to be dangerous than it was However, this book really holds up on a 5th or 6th reading It s a fantastic moody, highly descriptive story of a young woman, coming of age in Victorian London area, and facing a great threat to her sanity and sense of identity I adored the Fetches I can t stop thinking about them The whole mythological landscape of this novel haunts my imagination for reasons that are rooted in cunning magic, in the primitive feel of folklore and in the mastery of faith.It s a love story, too It s intelligent It s a book I wish I had written.It s difficult to rate this book, because I have such mixed feelings about it but I am going to give it my best rating because there is nothing like it out there It s original, dark, Gothic, and highly descriptive in a way that makes you feel, see, smell, and taste the words It s also a novel that I wanted to love, even as I read it and felt uncertain I d change my mind on the next page and say, this is beautiful, disturbing and a great novel but then on the next page, I d feel the same frustrations I felt over and over again I do believe Adam McOmber has a great career ahead of him, and that many people are going to love this novel But not all It s too different It s ambitious It follows no tropes or patterns The White Forest is, in truth, an irresistible read that I could not put down It s also a book that I come back to over and over It lingers and morphs and not much fiction does that It s totally original.Some of my notes Completely addictive Flawed Messy Wonderful Sad Gorgeous Jane is an incredible character Wish the end had been different Flashback is not my style who cares.I loved it Must make long review I tend to keep reading bits and pieces of it because I do like it in so many ways.I know I will read it again It s on my Keeper Shelf It just defines labels And maybe that is why people had a difficult time liking it as some of the reviews show But I love it I ll always love it It doesn t need defending It s a little masterpiece of gothic that is gorgeously weird.

  4. says:

    This is a difficult review to write, because it s a well crafted book and I d like to like it, but for me, White Forest misses the mark conceptually and in its overall mood Though some will love its dark pagan undercurrents and fuzzy mysticism, I think it s unnecessarily confusing.The story White Forest is set on the edge of Hampstead Heath just after the Crimean war The main character, a young woman called Jane Silverlake, can hear the souls of man made objects we re already on shaky conceptual ground here Of course, all the noise is rather annoying which is why she likes the peaceful silence she hears from nature Her talent can be experienced by others when she touches them, and when her friend Nathan Ashe discovers this, he undertakes a series of experiments with Jane to try to understand her talent After his return from the Crimea he becomes interested in a secretive cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic, and soon after disappears from the streets of Victorian London without a trace.White Forest is essentially a mystery as Jane and her other friend, Madeline Lee try to work out what happened to Nathan while keeping their secrets from the famed Inspector Vidocq who is undertaking his own investigation The search for answers leads the girls into danger, mysticism, and eventually to Jane s discovery of the nature and extent of her power Readers wanting to confirm their beliefs about the dangerous nature of cults will find plenty to satisfy them here.My opinionThe writing is good, as is the pacing, characterisation, story arc and so on, but I feel that the concept hasn t been fully thought through There s great potential here, but it needs work to make it believable and accessible As it is, we aren t sure what is meant by the soul of objects isn t a soul something only sentient beings have This is probably just a poor use of the word I would suggest inner vibration or some such term would have accurately described what the author was talking about.The basic assumption that there is something inherently pure beneath the surface of the world is philosophically sound, but that it is viewed as a white forest populated with white apes, accessible via the talents of a woman who hears the souls of inanimate objects and exists within the physical being of a woman is highly suspect Though some of the images later in the book hint at a deeper understanding, they lack the clarity of context required for us to make sense of them The nature of and relationship of this pure state to reality is unclear and perhaps that is the main flaw There may well be some Pagan deity called the Lady of the Flowers, and perhaps the imagery used belongs in that context, but it still needs to be woven into a contemporary novel in such a way as to make sense Apart from the conceptual issues which, as someone with a strong background in philosophy, I am picky on than most, I didn t like the main characters Jane is dour and dull, Madeline is duplicitous and shallow, and Nathan manipulative My favourite character was Pascal His sweet innocence and loyalty was refreshing The overall mood was also too dark for my taste, and an end that could have had an uplifting nature was as dour as the main character herself.

  5. says:

    Where I got the book I was offered a free review copy by Simon Schuster in return for an honest review Touchstone, the publisher of The White Forest, is a SS imprint SPOILER ALERT I ve tried very hard not to give the story away, but hints of it may show through in this very long review I m really writing for those who have already read the book and want to know what others think about it So if you re here because you re wondering whether to read this novel, you might want to read it first and then come back.A word about my rating In many respects, I dislike the star rating system for books This is one of those moments when trying to rate a book turns my brain into a pretzel as I weigh up the writer s ability to use prose to create an atmosphere, his fundamental writing skills seen as an art rather than a precise science, whether I found the story s premise convincing or not AND whether another type of reader, looking for different things in a novel, would either love or hate this book The White Forest gets four stars because while I had serious issues with some aspects of it, to be fair as a reviewer I have to give the writer credit for the other elements.The story Jane leads an isolated life on Hampstead Heath, a wild area of north London Since the death of her mother when Jane was six, Jane has experienced inanimate objects as animate beings that give off sound, colors, lights, even memories She can transfer the sensations she feels to other people by touch, and mute their effect on herself by remaining grounded in the natural world notably by wearing flowers tied to her wrist Her abilities isolate her from other people who naturally fear them and her only friends are Maddy, another of society s outcasts because she is the daughter of a medium and a disgraced daguerrotype artist, and Nathan, the object of both girls yearning Maddy fears Jane s ability and is jealous of the hold it has over Nathan, who sees Jane as a way to reach an otherworldly place they call the Empyrean When Nathan disappears into a cult society to which his search for the Empyrean has led him, Maddy and Jane work to bring him back, both together and in competition.What I liked about the novel To begin with, it was well written good dialogue, vivid descriptions, nice pacing and so on I noted a couple of spelling grammar snafus in passing like someone being in the throws of some sort of dilemma but these days that s usually due to overworked, short staffed editing departments And the writing had depth to it I found myself caught up in wondering if Jane was a reliable narrator or a deluded hysteric bring on the hysterical Victorian ladies and transfixed by the sexual imagery of Jane as the doorway something to be opened and explored , the stag, the hole in the tree, the red dress, the animals in the white forest toward the end I began to see the story as an allegory of sexual frustration, a woman taking power over the physical world in a desperate effort to reach fulfillment And there was the overt theme of the imbalance of the male power of technology with the female power of the natural world all very interesting and thought provoking, although I struggled to find a structure to the narrative that would make it clear what the author thought about these matters Possibly since this is a debut novel the inchoate impression I received is due to the author grasping for half formed themes that will be worked out in later writings Given the amount of vapid fluff that makes up about 80% of novel writing, I should be glad to see a writer with some ballast in his brainbox, right Where I had issues Early on in this novel I began to wonder which decade of the Victorian era we were in Those who follow my reviews may know that I m not generally a stickler for historical accuracy and will accept that an author may, for the sake of the story, alter an event or a place from time to time In my own writing I like to invent locations, and I love the world building elements in the fantasy sub genres when done right I was tickled to death, for example, when in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter the reason given for Lincoln s determination to win over the Confederacy was that those darn Southerners were EVUL VAMPIRES The preposterousness of the premise made it obvious that the filmmakers had little regard for the historical record and therefore I could sit back and enjoy the movie without a care in the world about accuracy although others do care, and the list of goofs for this movie on IMDb makes entertaining reading.So why did The White Forest turn me into the History Police It began, as I said above, because I started to wonder when, exactly, this story was unfolding Chapter 1 is subheaded, unhelpfully or is it teasingly Hampstead Heath, 18 and much of the tone of the story seemed to indicate that it was set in the very late 19th century, after 1885, say References to, for example, dream theory and the New Woman sounded very fin de si cle Flipping to the Author s Note revealed only that he admitted to not moving the Crystal Palace to its post 1854 location, but nothing else So what was niggling at me Then I realized that Nathan had just returned from the Crimean War, dating the novel to around 1857 and that pretty much all other checkable references were therefore anachronistic see my updates for details Including the snortable fact that Inspector Vidocq, who comes to London to investigate Nathan s disappearance, died in 1857 so must in fact have been a zombie detective, not a bad idea when I come to think of it Sherlock Holmes, Zombie Sleuth might be a worthy contribution to the recent spate of mashups aimed at bored kids who despise history and literature anyway Can t be much worse than the Robert Downey Jr version Harrumph.But I digress, and heaven knows this review is long enough without the digressions At some point while I was merrily pointing out the anachronisms on Goodreads the author contacted me and cheerfully admitted that he was playing with the historical record And yes, I knew going in that this was supposed to be a Gothic fantasy novel I felt that a fantasy reader looking purely for the thrill of strange theories and weird happenings might have no problem with the anachronisms, and actually I d rather like comments from readers with a taste for fantasy based in the past what bookfriend Ashley called historically influenced fantasy as opposed to simply fiction set in an historical period with some small fantastical elements So can a Gothic story ignore the rules of historical fiction The best quote I could find about Gothic novels was by critic Ellen Moers, who said, But what I mean or anyone else means by the Gothic is not so easily stated except that it has to do with fear In Gothic writings fantasy predominates over reality, the strange over the commonplace, and the supernatural over the natural, with one definite auctorial intent to scare I have read very little by H.P Lovecraft to be honest, I can t stand Cthulhu but I did recognize this novel as Lovecraftian, a sub genre of horror fiction which emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown in some cases, unknowable over gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present So we re talking about writing in which the emphasis is on creating a certain atmosphere and eliciting chills by putting the reader imaginatively in touch with a supernatural world, and The White Forest does this pretty well.On the other hand, this novel is packaged so as to attract the historical fiction reader, although the cover of my copy a Blair Witchy trees in the night design is less overtly HF than the original back view of Victorian chick motif And indeed it first came to my attention because it was being added to the lists of HF readers Now, the readers of historical fiction tend to expect a certain level of trust in their authors they want to feel that said authors have at least tried to locate their story within a certain historical framework and gone to some effort to ensure, if not accuracy a slippery word when applied to history for example, the discovery of the Mary Rose in England radically changed many ideas about life in Tudor times , at least plausibility The debate about historical accuracy in fiction just never dies, as the recent flood of writing about the televised version of Philippa Gregory s Cousins War books shows, and I m constantly coming across great writing about where fact ends and imagination begins and how genres such as steampunk deliberately manipulate the past to the delight of readers.Some readers get extremely upset about novelists altering history to suit their own purposes, especially when they imbue real historical people with traits often negative that readers do not think they had COUGHCOUGHPHILIPPAGREGORY While writing this review I followed a Facebook thread about how casual i.e historically uninformed HF readers tend to be smug about this viewers of Gregory s series now believe Edward of Lancaster was a rapist and this is WRONG The past, many readers feel, is not the novelist s private playground these were real people who lived and died, sometimes horribly, and did or did not love their wives they are, in fact, us, and how would we feel if a novelist misrepresented us in all our glorious complexity So the argument goes that any writer who attempts to set his or her work in a defined historical era must try to be true to that era s history and the psychological makeup of its people.So when a writer like McOmber begins to play around with the historical timeline, some readers may be incensed For many of the HF readers I know, anachronisms are a dealbreaker So my next thought is, can the same be said of the readers of literary fiction Because The White Forest could also be dropped into that bookshelf due to the quality of the writing and its themes AND the fact that it doesn t fit perfectly with either historical fiction or fantasy I find myself wondering if the new cover and the fact that it has a reading group guide is an attempt to push the novel in that direction I feel I ve spent way time on this novel than I really should, but it has certainly raised some interesting questions Reading being the incredibly subjective art that it is, many of those questions will never receive satisfactory answers, and I m the last person to suggest that writers should be bound and gagged by a set of rules In particular, I want to see new writers explore and struggle, and I think that s what I m seeing here Some writers decide they are going to write in a specific genre, learn the rules of that genre thoroughly and then apply them rigorously That s a pretty quick way to commercial success if you also have some talent, but to my mind it s not doing the craft of writing or the writer any favors I read many, many, many HF books where the writer has applied the formula beats, acts, layering, short sentences, blah blah blah with greater or lesser success, but somehow that formula always shows through like black paint under white I have a great deal of time for writers who write what they want to, and damn the consequences I will therefore be looking out for what McOmber does next.

  6. says:

    Well, if you compare any author to

  7. says:

    The author has crafted together a winner of a story on many levels.He has chosen the dark and Gothicness of Victorian London amongst the days of Edgar Allen Poe and Percy shelly and set the story around a vast evergreen of beautiful and haunting of the Hempstead Heath, plagued with a deep ancient mythical past that has an ever present energy calling a particular woman Jane that traces its origins possibly back before man and religion treaded upon its soil.There are big questions over the main protagonists supernatural and paranormal abilities and the missing of one man Nathan who one discovers is caught in a love triangle between two women, childhood friends.Jane needs to understand many things but amongst all the splendour and talk of other worlds something dear and humble she needs to understand her one first love her mother and what legacy she left behind.As the story travels down a road to an eventfully grande conclusion of discovery and truths you ll find yourself compelled and steeped in a sense of place and intrigue This adventure made me think of the movie Stardust which was adapted from the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name This was a great effort for a debut and displays a storytelling quality that has supernatural and history mixed together with some nice writing similar to the authors like Neil Gaiman and Robert McCammon.As you walk with Jane you will enjoy all that the author brings to the table,step back into a Dickens like world with Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe as your guides The Heath remained a memory of younger days when our friendship was still elegant not yet fettered by jealousies or thoughts of unnatural forces The three of us had forged our bond walking those houseless heights beneath the great marble skies watching storm dark clouds cast shadows on the tall grass We passed through forests of hawthorn and birch that rose above purple bogs and walked fields lush with wild iris and lavender Hampstead Heath was like a chapel, serene and godly, and I loved the feeling of the wind burningmy cheeks as it swept down over the hills When I walked there, I felt the poetry of Keats and Coleridge clinging to its winding paths But such poetry was nothing compared to the presence of my friends Our walks provided a sense of stability and comfort that I hadn t felt since before my mother died When I was with Maddy and Nathan, I was no longer the lonesome girl lurking in shadows Instead, I imagined I belonged I could laugh and even felt that I might one day fall in love He was the well born son of Lord William Ashe been a soldier in Lord Wellingtons brigade in the Crimea and was adept at archery and fond of pistols He possessed a kind of ethereal Saxon beauty, and when he entered a room, those present no matter how they felt about him socially paused to admire his stature Nathan disliked the law and abhorred his fathers House of Lords He was a free spirit who read poetry and, on than one occasion, was found curled on a doorstep after a drunken night at the Silver Home But none who could make such a list knew the true Nathan Ashe that Maddy and I came to know He was filled with the sort of fret and despair that needed tending At the same time, he acted as though we were his equals, taking us on adventures most would have considered too dangerous for young women We were the ones who truly loved him, and yet we too were left without him I turned the envelope over and let the button drop into the palm of my hand As soon as it touched my skin, I experienced the flash of an image that was quite distinct and unlike anything I d ever perceived from an object before What I saw appeared to be a stage set populated by painted trees, and above the trees was a black sky decorated with odd bits of glass that were meant to look like stars The entire false forest was contained within some type of stone chamber, reminiscent of a catacomb It was so dark there that I could barely see, and the acrid smell of paint that had been used to create the illusion of trees filled my lungs I had a sense that what I was seeing was an actual place, somewhere in London Then I heard the distant sound of a trumpet, the sort of horn that signaled the opening of a hunt F rom a distance, the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park appeared quite impossible as if the whole of its turreted glass structure was nothing than a grand illusion It seemed an endless and transparent mirage, drifting over the park s grassy field, blazing in the sun It had opened its doors in May as a showplace for the stunning achievements of Victorias empire, and though I hadn t dared to pay a visit as most of London had, I d read numerous reports The palace was a marvel of human invention, composed entirely of glass some three hundred thousand panes, suspended across a scant metal skeleton that encompassed a great expanse of the park Many viewers attested that being inside the structure was initially disturbing The structure produced a dizzying sensation, as sunlight was amplified by the glass panes, and some said they feared being crushed by all that dazzling light The queen herself visited the Crystal Palace, showing particular interest in the great aviary that was filled with fifteen hundred canaries It was well known that Victoria was a lover of birds, and this particular display was said to provide a marvelous and disorienting rush of color and noise The view of the Southwark slums from Blackfriars was one of crooked houses inked on a vellum sky Dwarf stone walls circled cinder gardens An exhaustive tangle of streets for which no map had ever been drawn, sprawled in all directions The Roman soldiers had used the area to bury their dead, and in our time, it housed many of the city s stink industries glue factories, vinegar makers, tanneries, and the like A brown haze drifted across over the cupolas and towers, nearly obscuring the skeletal dome of the pleasure garden called the Temple of the Lamb, beneath which we would find Ariston Days Theater of Provocation.

  8. says:

    More akin to a New Weird, a Fey fantasy or even Urban fantasy than to a real Gothic novel Twee descriptions and prissy characters do not add up to a faux Victoria novel The characters are much too modern to ever feel like you re experiencing the past Constant and irritating digressions dull what very little pace there is I was very much looking forward to a Gothic novel, and I did not find one here It s billed as a scarey read It s not It s boring from start to finish.

  9. says:

    Written in beautiful, 19th century sque language, full of visually sumptuous sceneries and vividly depicted, memorable characters, The White Forest is a gorgeous gothic novel that combines elements of historical fiction, fantasy, horror and romance Set in Victorian England, this seductive and mysterious novel tells the story of one young man s sudden disappearance and the frantic search that ensues The well born son of Lord William Ashe, Nathan, goes missing It happens not long after Nathan fascinated by the occult and metaphysical realities gets involved with the Temple of the Lamb A daring and spirited soul, Nathan is always searching for answers, trying to look beyond what s instantly visible, experimenting, opening himself to the supernatural Jane s extraordinary talents seem to have only deepened his curiosity for the otherwordly things Now, Jane Silverlake, one of Nathan s closest friends, takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of his disappearance and hopefully get him back Driven by love and guilt, armed with sharp intelligence and unnatural talents, Jane will not rest until she finds her dear friend And soon she ll realize that she might be the only person in the world who can achieve that The story starts off rather slow and at first nothing suggests that The White Forest is anything than a good historical novel That, however, changes within the first few chapters, as we learn about Jane and her unnatural abilities, as well as the mysterious Ariston Day and his dangerous cult The tension while practically non existent at the beginning slowly but steadily builds up to an almost heart stopping crescendo of panic at the end At first, I had some trouble getting used to the snail like pace of the story, but don t let that fool you It is not a slow paced novel all the way through You ll be surprised at how fast you ll be flipping the pages in the second half of it The story flow is very gentle, almost dream like It allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the plot and enjoy all the fabulously depicted visuals I was amazed at how descriptive the prose was Adam McOmber s writing style doesn t strike a single awkward note it s sensual, mesmerizing, perceptive, and it engages not only your imagination, but also your senses You can practically hear the soft rustling sound of leaves in the wind and you can feel the morning fog wrapping its cold, sticky arms around you And, while the novel s pacing might feel just a tiny bit slow at the begging, the intensity of the gothic world will not make you bored or impatient Adam McOmber places heavy emphasis on atmosphere, using eerie settings and rich but concise prose to build suspense and a sense of disquiet in the reader The plot is build around a mystery of Nathan s disappearance, pervaded by the feeling of threat and unease, enhanced by the unknown Unexplainable things are happening all throughout the story There are omens, ghostly apparitions, disturbing dream visions and seemingly prophetic phenomenons haunting the main character, Jane The story is full of dramatic events, insightful flash backs that while very important to the plot often than not raise questions than they answer , and emotional, almost too intimate to witness moments between the characters I loved the gentle but lustful prose McOmber s vocabulary is rich and appropriate for the time period It helps set the mood and creates an unforgettable, dark atmosphere that defines the gothic The first person narrative is dynamic, stimulating and engaging, and I found it nearly impossible to put the book down At the same time, though, it is quite a demanding read that requires 100% of your attention If you lose your focus, or try to skip a passage here and there, you ll find yourself going back to re read certain parts in order to fully understand what s happening This is, after all, an adult novel, and one that is not only thrilling and beautifully written, but also quite fascinating thanks to all the historical details it offers I was especially excited to see the famous French detective, Vidocq, be part of the plot His character added a realistic touch to the story, as well as a whole new different kind of threat to the well being of our characters All in all, The White Forest is a fabulous, richly imagined read, and one that is bound to make a huge impression on readers If you loved Kenneth Oppel s This Dark Endeavor and Such Wicked Intent, you ll definitely enjoy devouring this book, too It s a real treat for fans of anything dark, sinister, eerie and gothic.

  10. says:

    Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.The White Forest was not what I was expecting at all Perhaps I should have been, but I tend not to read blurbs at all or not closely, because they sometimes contain spoilers Anyway, I thought this was going to be a gorgeous novel of historical fiction, and it certainly starts out that way Then it changes into fantasy horror, so be prepared for that.The writing of The White Forest is lush, dark and gothic I very much appreciate McOmber s style and use of language, even when the story went down paths I wasn t entirely thrilled about Though the book does not have much action, the story moves along at a nice steady pace, jumping from the present to the past, as we unravel the mystery of what happened to Nathan Ashe.The opening chapters focus on a friendship, that of Jane, Maddy and Nathan The three of them formed an unlikely bond, one frowned upon by the rest of society Two girls and a boy should not be so close, others felt, suspecting something unsavory Jane, Maddy and Nathan could not care less about the opinions of others Maddy and Nathan are both beautiful, meant perhaps for better things and company Jane, so plain and boring and unworldly, feels so lucky every day to be important to them She doesn t want anything to change between them ever.Changes, of course, cannot be avoided as they grow older Both Maddy and Jane struggle with an attraction to Nathan, and the jealousy of not knowing where his affections lie Maddy especially felt jealous, hating Nathan s interest in Jane s supernatural powers Nathan, on the other hand, has been tempted away from them by a cult led by the mysterious Ariston Day Maddy desperately wants him out of the cult, justifiably, but to no avail Then he disappears.Jane s power initially seemed to me a sort of curiosity, but it s not it is, in fact, the whole point, which I felt stupid for not figuring out sooner Jane can see and her the souls of objects, this whole other world the rest of us have no sense of By touching another person, she can let them see this as well, in a process she calls transference Carrying flowers helps minimize the effect, so Jane stays flower bedecked.Her power, which she deems a curse, is of great interest to others, who ascribe many disparate meanings to it Many, including Maddy, think this is a sign of witchery, that Jane has been touched by the devil Others believe Jane and her powers can lead the way to paradise Jane s mother, strange herself, says that Jane is the daughter of a tree This basic concept of Jane s power wowed me The cult, convinced of Jane s divinity, too, was a horrifyingly creepy and awesome element.Unfortunately, as the book became completely fantasy, the story got a bit weird for me, likely especially so because I was not expecting the book to go there The way everything turned out just seemed overly strange to me, especially the white apes and everything at the end I love fantasy, but this world just did not ring out to me This part reminded me strongly of H.G Wells or H.P Lovecraft, and their classic fantasy and horror If you like their stories, I suspect you will enjoy this aspect much than I did I, however, found it too crazy, and read on in disbelief, no longer especially interested in the characters, though still entertained by the pretty writing.Personally, I would have preferred if the book stayed historical fiction However, if you like dark, creepy fantasy, The White Forest just might rock your socks off.

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