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Something Evil’s Lurking In The Dark

Are you sleeping too well at night? Try reading Ilsa J. Bick's White Space.

Something Evil’s Lurking In The Dark

BOOK REPORT for White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa J. Bick

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Nail-biting
Bonus Factors: Mindf*ck, Horror
Relationship Status: One Night Stand

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

Helloooo, gorgeous! The starkness of this cover catches your attention, and then the complexity of the black mass lures you in. Are those birds? Trees? Shadows? The uncertainty only adds to the foreboding tone of the design, which is all you need to know that this book ain't a ray of sunshine.

The Deal:

It's tough to describe the premise of this book without including major spoilers. It's also just tough to describe, period. But I'll give it my best shot, because I love you guys.

Basically, the story centers on Emma Lindsay, a teenage girl prone to massive headaches and memory loss thanks to the brain damage she sustained as a baby. (Her dad mistook her for a basketball and threw her into a hoop. Then he went to prison and committed suicide, so I guess it all worked out.) She's just been busted by her English teacher for plagiarizing a story written by Frank McDermott, a massively successful and wildly eccentric author who was killed by his wife, who then disappeared with their young daughter, Lizzie.

The crazy thing is that Emma has never read McDermott's story. But when she leaves school and drives into a raging winter storm, she discovers that she is somehow connected to the dark world of his novels, and the nightmares contained within are no longer content to remain on the page.

BFF Charm: Nay

I had a hard time getting to know Emma, mostly because I was too busy alternating between being confused and TERRIFIED. She's nice and much braver than I am, but her character development took a backseat to all of the world-building and dizzying action. Plus, given all of the danger that seems to follow her, you best believe I am keeping my weenie ass as far from her vicinity as possible.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

The winter storm brings a seemingly random group of strangers together, including Eric, an all-American boy who has spent his life protecting his little brother from their horribly abusive father. He's definitely a good dude, and I liked him, but he lacked the foxiness of Tom, the main love interest in Ilsa J. Bick's Ashes. Maybe it's not fair to expect the same level of hotness in a new and completely separate series, but the romance between Eric and Emma just didn't have any heat.

Talky Talk: Nail-biting

This book is scary, y'all. We're talking YOL - Yelp Out Loud. Like Ashes, it's supremely gory (I don't recommend picking it up right after a meal), and the monsters are grotesque and horrifying. There were certain passages that I simply skimmed because CAN YOU DIE FROM FEAR?

Thankfully, I was able to catch my breath whenever Emma attempted to unravel the true nature of her world. The premise of the book, while creative, is pretty overwrought, and no matter how many times Emma compares it to The Matrix (which is a lot of times), the concept of the story is clunky and weighs down the pacing considerably. It feels like Bick got too wrapped up in her own creation to remember to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for her readers to follow. Making it past the first few chapters requires effort, and the payoff isn't necessarily worth the struggle.

Bonus Factor: Mindf*ck

This book hurt my brain. I mean that in a good way... mostly.

Bonus Factor: Horror

I don't enjoy have the shizz scared out of me per se, but it was refreshing to read a YA novel that went to very, very dark places. The ghastly creatures were straight out of a Lovecraft story, and the Stephen King-esque scenarios made my skin crawl.

Casting Call:

Emma Stone as Emma

Maybe it's because they share a name and the same coppery hair, but picturing Emma Stone made me root for the heroine that much harder.

Relationship Status: One Night Stand

Book, we had a pretty wild time together, and I'm not sure when my adrenaline levels will return to normal. You were a freak in sheets, no doubt, but when you weren't thrilling me, you were kind of a complicated mess. I mean, I get it, you've got a whole lot of shizz going on. I just don't think I'm gonna stick around to see if you can figure it all out.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Egmont.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). White Space is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).