White Noise was a NetGalley read, although apparently it came out in late 2014. I requested it because it sounded like a superhero story, with the added drama of being kidnapped and framed for murder. Unfortunately, despite the cool concept it didn’t live up to my expectations.
This is going to be a pretty short review, for reasons that will quickly become apparent. It’s also not a wildly positive one, although I want to emphasise that this book wasn’t bad as much as unpolished or unfinished – at least, that’s how it felt to me.
It’s hard to explain the things I enjoyed about the book because they’re mostly spoilers: the concept is a lot more complex than it seemed at the beginning, and the drama is less to do with having powers and more to do with the past of particular characters and what they’re trying to achieve, since it directly conflicts with the goals of the other characters. I like it when antagonists are more complicated than just the opposing side on a good guy/bad guy dichotomy.
On the whole, though, the book seemed a bit messy. The pacing was off, particularly in the early chapters, though also sometimes in the middle. Where there were plot twists, I was mostly just confused rather than shocked. It felt like a sudden change of direction, instead of something that had been planned from the beginning and suddenly revealed. This took away from the complexity of the plot – it seemed more of a muddle than a maze.
As a premise, White Noise had a lot of potential. It’s so hard for me to review it without giving too much away – perhaps that’s why it was confusing? It relies a lot on the very gradual release of information about what characters are trying to achieve, and if I go into too much detail, there’ll be nothing left for the book to do. But at the same time, I can’t give you a decent idea of what it’s about. Too much of it needs to be a surprise to be worthwhile, I think.
Generally, though, it felt that it needed to be more polished. It could have been a fun, dramatic, and diverse superhero story (particularly because it involved sign language). Instead, it read like an early draft that needed more revisions before it was finished.
To my surprise, it’s had primarily positive reviews on Goodreads, so I feel like my two-star rating is an anomaly. It is entirely possible that my view of it was coloured by my own mood these last couple of weeks: my mental health has been making it hard to enjoy anything, so maybe the good points of it just passed me by a little bit.
But book reviews are always subjective, so I’m going to stick to my guns. It gets two stars because it could have been so much more than it was, and I felt disappointed.