The White Road begins when Simon Newman, an ex-adrenaline junkie, realizes his desperation to drive traffic to his struggling website. He hires a guide to take him through the dangerous Cwm Pot caves, in the hope of gathering footage of those who have perished in the caves years before. Simon barely escapes the ordeal, and the footage he captures of his trauma goes viral. The next thing he knows, his website is launched into fame.
However, Simon experiences severe mental trauma and depression in the days following the incident. Yet, in an effort to continue the success of the site, his business partner convinces him to climb Mount Everest and film the bodies on the mountain. Simon reluctantly agrees, but not before he begins to question his sanity. He is haunted by the guide who died in the caves, and as he climbs, Simon must face the trauma – or malevolent spirit – that follows him through his hostile journey.
What I Thought
I thought this book was amazing. The first-person point of view was an intimate connection with Simon’s horrifying experiences that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise, and helped create the unsettling tone of the story. However, I found it a little difficult to connect with Simon as a character, as his morals and motivations were dubious, at best. I did enjoy the times when Lotz would break into Juliet’s story, as her character was generally likable. The transition between the two stories was a little incongruent, but it helped to propel the story forward.
In terms of setting, the story was top-notch. I felt like I was walking up Mount Everest with the characters, and the description of the caves was perfectly claustrophobic. Also, there is a natural mystery surrounding natural phenomena, such as caves and mountains, but the way Lotz added the supernatural element to the mix made the story deeply unnerving.
Why You Should Read It
If you enjoy stories that have a mix of adventure and horror, then this story is just for you! I definitely have to agree with the Hodder & Stoughton review of the story, when it recommends it for those who enjoyed The Descent. This is the creepiest book I have read this year, and I have high hopes for what Sarah Lotz has in store next for her readers.
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