Title: White Space
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Series: Dark Passages
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 2.93
Published: Feb. 11th, 2014
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.
"Characters writing characters that bring other characters to life..."
Reading White Space was like willingly submerging myself into a nightmare. The story within the pages is like those hateful nights where your brain somehow decides that all you are going to do is run away from the monsters in your head. I usually don't read horror stories full of gore but White Space is a highly imaginative tale that piqued my interest and kept me glued to the page; that is when I was not scratching my head trying to figure out how exactly everything in the tale was possible or how it all worked.
White Space was a different experience for me because it was like a bunch of short stories coming together into one but at the same time they all belonged together. Also there was a LOT of blood, and cut off sentences where you knew something just incredibly creepy or scary was just about to or had just happened. It can definitely get your adrenaline going. For me the book was most about the intrigue and the puzzle, trying to fill the blinks that are like a movie in Emma's mind that gets paused at the most intriguing/frustrating moments.
Emma is the main character of this story. She is a fairly normal girl in that she likes frappuccinos, goes to school, and lives just like the rest of us. But she has also seen a lot of things she wishes she could forget. An abandoned beaten orphan she was taken in by her guardian, Jasper, at a crucial point in her life. Then there's the headaches and blinks that take her through a moving reel of what appears to be someone else's life. Trying to put some space between herself and the freaky parts of her life she, and her friend Lily, go out into the mountains only to get trapped in a snow storm. That's when she meets Eric and Casey under the most awful circumstances. Eric is the Marine boy with a heart of gold and Casey is the kind little brother. Then there's Rima, the teenager who can hear the whispers the death leave behind, Tony, the nice guy who reads horror stories, and then Bode, a soldier with a tragic past who is being haunted by his past mistakes. Together they are thrown into the eye of the storm into a true nightmare, a nightmare they don't seem to be able to wake up from.
The whole idea behind the novel is very interesting. It kept blending between the possibility of multi universes and different "book-worlds", both options where presented. There's one particular chapter in the novel in which the characters try to figure out exactly what is happening to them in which they discuss the many possibilities which was very helpful but it is still a little hard to get your head around it. I won't give it away in this review because I don't want to ruin it for the rest of you, but just know that the theory is very interesting when you start to unravel it in your head. Makes you wonder if you are really real or maybe not... (definitely real here, my life is too mundane to be part of a novel).
White Space is definitely more plot driven than character driven, at least to me it was. I really liked the character of Rima, Emma, and Eric, even Casey at times, but what made me come back every time I took a break from the book was the mystery. Some of the mystery I managed to figure out early on but not all (and that in itself is marvelous because some things did manage to get me by surprise). Even the ending was a mystery of itself, and I have no idea why the characters ended up in that position... but I would love to find out. Just be prepared to be confused, a lot. This may put some people off to be completely honest, but to me it only fueled me on.
The reason I gave it a 3 star rating was mostly because horror in itself isn't my cup of tea. I liked reading the novel and I loved the idea behind it, but a lot of it was really all in a sort of abstract reality where all your nightmares come true. Also, the book was really long (over 500 pages!). And yes, well, for the most part of the novel the reader is kept in the dark, with only slight glimpses of what might be real, and that can be a drag. Sometimes all you want is solid answers.
Once White Space's sequel comes out I will definitely be in line to buy it. The ending of this novel left me incredulous and so, much alike through the whole novels, I am in a need for solid answers. White Space is a thrill ride indeed, one who might leave you with a slight headache but a thrill nonetheless.