Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DNF: White Space (Dark Passages #1) -- Ilsa J. Bick

Release Date: February 11, 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Published by: Egmont USA

White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa J. Bick - Goodreads | Purchase

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.

DNFed this book at 25/560 in the e-ARC. Call me cruel or dense or whatever, I've put down books after fewer pages than that, but I did want to give White Space some time, since it's a review book with an incredibly cool premise (Matrix meets Inkheart; realities are created and destroyed via writing & books). Unfortunately I think this is a case of my incompatibility with the writing style used. Not only is third person present my least favorite writing style, but I'm also just confused about what I read.

 This is what I think happened/what I know:

*One of the characters in the Dad's story came to life and was staring at Lizzie and her mother all creepily in the attic, and this sets off a fight between the mother and the father. The mother is afraid that the characters have started to gain independence from the father.

*In general, the mom is very frightened and the dad is trying to reassure her. The daughter, Lizzie, is just watching her parents argue? But they're arguing with each other via their thoughts? It's italicized, and I can't quite tell if that's supposed to indicate their thoughts and some sort of mind-speak like characters on a page or if this is all a part of the book concept? 

*The world consists of the Mirror and the Peculiars and skin-scrolls and thought-magic and White Space and Dark Passages and the Sign of Sure and monster-dolls and five-forever and "forever" and Dickens and Drood and special ink and Lovelies and ...? I don't know what any of this means, except for maybe the White Space and Dark Passages, because I think there was a line about how you can travel through the different realities through one or the other. Some of this, I suspect, has to do with the Dad's abilities, but I don't know and I don't really understand why only he'd have this ability...?

*Something happened in London. The dad lost control of one of his characters? His books have to be sent to a special vault because of their powers - they're either invited or bound? He can't stop writing though because apparently the stories would still leak out of him like a virus. Maybe? He might also be addicted to whatever power in this writing? He lost the mother in London because of what happened and she may have been cutting herself or there's something up with her arms, if I'm remembering correctly. Neither the mother nor the father completely remembers what's happened to them either. Maybe?

*But this isn't what the summary talks about?

The dangerous book/creation elements all sound cool, though, right? But I think about how hard it was to understand just those bits, and a part of me doesn't even want to try to get through all 560 pages for that reason. I'm sorry. I wish I felt more invested. Clearly it's just me, so check out these other reviews:

[4 stars] Karen: "fortunately, after those rocky first 30 pages, this turned into exactly my kind of dark fantasy."
[3 stars] Melanie at YA Midnight Reads: "White Space, is one of those books that start off really crappy and end so amazing you just need to sit down and stare into oblivion for a while."
[1.5 stars] Emily May at the Book Geek: "I also think this book is going to be a real mind-blowing favourite in the hands of the right reader, but I know that myself (and quite a lot of other people I know on goodreads) won't be that right reader. This is my first read by Bick so I can't compare it to the author's other work, but I will say that it's a complex, densely-written mindfuck."


  1. This was a DNF for me too. I honestly got lost when I was reading it and had to reread parts. I gave up after 20%. I've read Bicks other works and enjoyed them but this wasn't for me.

    1. It's good to know that her other works aren't the same -- I'd love to try more from her another time even though this wasn't the book for me!

  2. I don't think it's just you. Goodreads was half DNFs. This makes me sad, because I was really excited about this book. Maybe I'll still give it a try, but I'm definitely nervous about it. I don't actually mind third person present (I love third person), so maybe that will help. (Also, I realized I read your review on Goodreads without realizing it was yours. :P )

    Sarcasm & Lemons

    1. Definitely give the book a try!! If you love third person, go for it. Sometimes there's a lot of DNFs or neg reviews for a title that just ends up working for you, and if you connect to this, then all the better, right?! :)

  3. " I don't know what any of this means" HAHAHAHA I don't either. This is exactly the case with Song of Fireflies which I DNF-d today. Me, and most of the GR community along with my friends on GR and blogosphere, just don't get the book. I've seen the exact same thing about White Space. Eh, well. It wasn't on my tbr and I'm not really interested to read it. I totally get why you DNF-d, I'm just overly confused by all of what you just said. Maybe it's my overly tired brain, but still. *eyeroll* I hope Panic and F&F are working out better for you (if you are indeed reading them as I can see from your currently reading update on the sidebar.)

    1. Lol my "currently reading" sidebar has been that way for a long time (I always forget to update it). I need to read Panic before March 4 though... C'MON CHRISTINA!!! You can do it! lol. I hope you're enjoying whatever you're reading right now too!

  4. Those are exactly my thoughts. I believe I DNF it around 30 pages, but I just didn't understand ANYTHING. I felt so confused and stupid, it made me completely uninterested in the story.

    1. :/ Well here's to hoping her other titles work out for us!

  5. Oh, man. How EXTREMELY disappointing. It has such an awesome premise (although somewhat confusing already), but to not get what's going on and since it sounds pretty sloppy, I don't think I'd give this a chance. All the things you mentioned made me cringe and then I see Mel's comment above about it making her feel stupid and I'm like, "nope, not gonna happen." Thanks for the heads-up, Christina!

    1. :( I'm sorry you don't think it'd work out for you. It didn't make me feel stupid - and I'm sad Mel felt that way - but I understand why you might not try it out. I wouldn't say that it's sloppy - actually, having so much in those first thirty pages would make me think it's got to be really intentional to put that much info, but all the same I get what you're saying. Thanks for stopping by, Sunny! (I see you changed from Sunny to Summer - do you prefer Summer or Sunny? AHHH)


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