Book Review: The White Forest, by Adam McOmber

4.5 to 5 stars

Every once in a while, I come across a book that I love, yet cannot seem to put into words why I love it. This is one of those books.

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Jane can see the souls of inanimate objects. [side note: I’ve seen some reviewers complain that only sentient beings have souls. This is explained in the book by saying primitive cultures believed everything created by the gods has a pure soul, and anything man-made has a restless soul because it was made my something impure.] The objects hum and vibrate and extrude colors. Her friend Nathan is interested in everything occult, and performs ‘experiments’ with her, all with the goal of reaching a hidden world, the Empyrean. He joins a cult and eventually disappears, leaving Jane and her friend Maddy no choice but to hunt for him, using Jane’s talent to guide them.

At first, I wasn’t even sure I would finish this book. I got fifty pages in and didn’t know what to make of it. The beginning is a little confusing because the author plops you down in the middle of an event, then does a lot of flashbacks while continuing the present story line. It was a bit hard to keep track of what was happening presently, and what was past. (Another reason I could’ve taken longer to get with the program is because it’s written in the Victorian fashion, and it’s been a while since I’ve read anything like that.)

The author’s choice of vocabulary is beautiful. It reminded me of The Night Circus and The Dream of Perpetual Motion, an odd story line, yet poetic, almost lyrical prose. McOmber clearly did his homework on the atmosphere of the Victorian era; he portrays it beautifully.

Honestly, I’m not sure what else to say about this book because it has so many layers that it’s hard to explain, and continuing would give too much of the plot away.

If you like historical fantasy and the Victorian era, check this one out.

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