Rated of 5
The White Forest
The word "forest" certainly is an appropriate word in the title, because for most of the book I felt like I was, indeed, stumbling around in a dark (or in this case, milk white) forest trying to follow some sort of mythical trail of crumbs.
It always pains me to have to admit that I did not really enjoy a book, especially when I know that someone labored lovingly to bring their vision to light ... but I just really did not enjoy this book. In fact, I finished it with an oddly unsettled, creepy, is that all there is sort of feeling, as if I had stepped an inch too far off the pathway and was now hopelessly stuck in the middle of that same Empyrean the characters in this book were struggling so hard to attain. Perhaps that is what the author was aiming for, to create that unsettled feeling in the reader ... if it was then he certainly succeeded on that level.
I did admire the craft that went into this book. The ability to reproduce that florid, over-blown verbiage that Victorian gothic novels had without requiring the endless wading through adjectives to get to the salient point was very well done, without being "overdone." Something I know can be very, very hard to do.
At times there were certain sentences that resonated, "She was a woman born of plant matter," that I have to admit did keep me reading, hoping that somehow the plot line would do something to live up to those intriguing lines, but in the end, the plot just sort of petered out into a less than satisfying denouement.