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?
Reading this book made me feel the way they portray taking drugs on television. You're in one place, then things get shimmery, then you're someplace else and how no idea why, then somewhere else, then somewhere else, then the first place again, then you wake up and have no idea what just happened. Does that even make sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is that The White Oak left me dazed and confused. Cora travels around the Underworld, but nothing is explained, so I had no idea what events and places signified or why I should care.
That said, I enjoyed the first half of the book. I was really curious about how Kim White would portray the Underworld and it's inhabitants. Story about what happens after death have always intrigued me. However, as the book went on, I felt like all Cora did was go from place to place in the Underworld, but nothing really happened. And once it does at the end, it reminds me a bit of Alice in Wonderland, but less enjoyable.
There were also a few things that were introduced, then I felt like they were abandoned. First, the mysterious voice Cora hears when exploring the caves. Based on the beginning, I felt like it would be a major part of the story, but it completely disappears until the last few pages. Second, the golden pen Cora receives from Sybil. I don't understand it's purpose beyond vibrating.
For me, the characters fell a little flat and felt one-dimensional. Cora was a bit too single-minded for my taste and I felt like she just did as she was told.
Overall, while this book wasn't for me, I still found it was a page turner (I just wanted to know what was going on). I enjoy the cyber-underworld idea, but I had trouble following what was happening and why.
On the Cover:
I really like the cover. Not only is it beautiful, but I can exactly place where this happened in the book, instead of just a picture of a girl.
Like I said, the characters felt a bit one-dimensional, but I will go with Cora's brother Lucas.
Rating: 2 Hearts
Source: I received an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.
Where to Find It: Goodreads | Kindle
Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter