DNF Review for White Space by Ilsa J. Bick

White Space (Dark Passages, #1)White Space
By: Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: February 11th 2014

An electronic copy was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
there is no rating to this one since I DNFed at 7%

Ilsa Bick’s WHITE SPACE, pitched as The Matrix meets Inkheart, about a seventeen-year-old girl who jumps between the lines of books and into the white space where realities are created and destroyed – but who may herself be nothing more than a character written into being from an alternative universe.

Why Did I DNF?
I loved that itty bitty summary; so much potential in those few words. I was eager to request and download this electronic arc and began reading last week. I’d heard some less than stellar things but went into it hoping for the best. I was immediately confused by Bick’s writing style and tried desperately to pick up what was going on in the first chapters.

I began to get a feel for the story and was enamored with the horror aspects. But the more I read the more I had trouble really absorbing the words. The structure of the writing is not one I’m familiar with and felt, to be honest, like a very large run on sentence. It was giving me a headache trying to follow the story as well as keep up with the world building.

I think that, perhaps, if I were reading a physical copy of the book I’d better digest what I was reading. Reading this digitally was just not working forΒ  me so I decided that I’d call it a DNF and try again (maybe) later.

From the very small amount I read I can say that the descriptions were graphic and I loved the little bits of horror sprinkled in. I believe that the storyline would be interesting if I could get absorbed enough into the writing.

Have you read White Space? If so, let me know your thoughts. Is it worth me getting ahold of a physical copy and trying again?


  1. says

    I’m reading this right now (I’m at 57%) and the horror gets better as you go along (I was so scared to read it at night) but the tone just changed again where I’m up to. More stuff/history about the White Space and McDermot’s books and everything is coming into it now and it’s really messing with my head. It is a bit confusing though, and I think reading a physical copy might help…

    Shame you didn’t enjoy it as much as you could have πŸ™ Hopefully you’ll like it better if you try again later.

    • says

      I really do think I’m going to try this one again with a physical copy and a different frame of mind. There were aspects (the horror visuals and basis to story) that I really liked but I just couldn’t get absorbed in it. I’d read a paragraph and realize I had no clue what I just read πŸ™

  2. says

    I feel your pain. I DNFed at 59%. The confusion gets worse if anything. I agree a print copy might make a difference initially to keeping all the new characters’ points of view straight, but when I’m more than halfway through a nearly-600 page book and none of the characters knows what’s going on, that’s a pretty good indicator that the book is not for me. Shame. The premise does sound fantastic.

    • says

      Such a bummer because the concept of this one is so amazing and original. I’m not enthused if you got to 59% and still DNFed…doesn’t bode well for my picking this one back up.

  3. says

    I think I’ve heard of this one…I seem to recall that blurb. And you’re right, it does sound really cool! A sticky writing style is always hard to get into though. πŸ™ I hardly ever DNF…but that’s because I have a weird and vague hope things can get better (they generally don’t).

    • says

      I used to not DNF but I have such a limited amount of time to read I try to focus on books that grab me. Sadly, this one really couldn’t get me interested enough…sort of felt like a chore to read. I think it’s awesome you are able to keep with a book–sad that most times they don’t approve

  4. says

    I’m always impressed when a writer tries something really different, but that’s risky. I’m open to different writing styles, but some offbeat styles I click with and others I do not.
    I do want to try this, though it’s not a super-high priority. I agree that sometimes confusing books are better in hard copy.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    • says

      I’ll be curious to how you react to the style if/when you get around to this one. I wonder if the final copy is much different than the arc. I’ll be curious to ask someone once it releases. I’m typically open to unique writing styles too…this one just felt difficult.

  5. says

    This book was too confusing for me and it made me feel stupid, haha. Just so many strange, new terms I didn’t understand – and there weren’t any descriptions.. I just couldn’t find my way in the book without feeling lost, so I DNF it as well.

    • says

      Yea, I was lost most of the small amount I read. It wasn’t a fun lost either…just confusing and honestly gave me a headache πŸ™ I wanted to love it.

  6. says

    I’ve been seeing low ratings for this one and several DNFs. I’ve heard TONS of great things on Ilsa J. Bick’s other books, so I’m disappointed to hear that you didn’t enjoy this one. At this rate, I doubt I’ll enjoy this one either. :l
    The premise of White Space makes me really want to read this one though!

    • says

      Bick’s writing is very well done–no question. You can see how talented she is. I don’t know why this one came across so confusing but it just made my head hurt trying to fumble through it. I hope you do give it a go and let me know what you think. I’ve not read her other series but have heard great things too.

  7. says

    I actually finished this one recently. The writing/story could definitely be tightened or cut (560 was a little longer than it needed to be). The writing was very stylized; the Writing major in me kind of liked those style elements, but they won’t work for everyone.

    The horror and suspense elements increase as the story progresses. It was more horror and suspense than I’ve read in a long time and pretty graphic. As far as the “Matrix” elements, after taking five minutes one evening to assemble a quick circular flow chart in my head, the world building didn’t confuse me; but, again, it won’t be for everyone.

    I ought to have a full review of it up on my blog next week if you’re interested in the full rundown. πŸ™‚

  8. says

    Aw, I’m so sorry that you had to DNF πŸ™ I have loved the Ashes books by this author, and I do think I will love this too. But I also DNF’d at page 40-something.. but that day I was not feeling like reading, lol :p I’m thinking of trying again once I get my hardcover πŸ™‚ As I agree with you, the problem might be that it is a digital copy. I hope. Anyway. Thank you for being honest. <3 and I hope you might give it another chance πŸ™‚

    • says

      When you get the HC you MUST let me know if it’s been edited down and if it’s easier to read. I’ve heard wonderful things about this author as well and would give it a go if it hits you better reading the physical copy.

    • says

      Yes! Sometimes writing doesn’t translate well in the e-book version. I tend to always connect better to a hard copy book. I’ll be excited to hear your thoughts when you read it.

  9. says

    I really enjoyed Ilsa’s Ashes’ series but I listened to them on audio. When I’m trying something new I find that audio will sometimes help. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one.

    • says

      That’s a really good idea for this one… maybe hearing the characters would help me understand it easier and relieve the stress of reading and. I’ll either attempt audio or reading the physical version one of these days. I could tell that her writing is very good. I’ve heard great things about her Ashes series…should check them out. Thanks for dropping by!

  10. says

    I actually just saw this one pop up for preorder on Audible, and IT’S 31 1/2 HOURS LONG! So, if I do end up picking it up, I will definitely go that route. Bick can be long-winded. It took me weeks to finish the final book in her Ashes trilogy and it was almost 700 pages long. It’s good, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to read something like that. Which I’m guessing is sort of the case with this one. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

    • says

      Good grief that is a lot of hours! I’m not sure I could find that amount of time!! Long winded is right πŸ™‚ haha. I think a different frame of mind and a hard copy would do this better justice. That way I can peck away at it slowly. I’ll be curious if you get it what you think. Maybe you can motivate me to read it.

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