Reading Level: Adult
Length: 304 pages
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Chronicles of Alice
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got this book for Christmas and have been wanting to read it forever. I love Alice in Wonderland retellings and this was a very good (if very dark) one. Although it is more of an extension of the Alice in Wonderland story than an actual retelling.
Alice has been locked in an asylum for years. Right before being institutionalized she was found raving about a Rabbit and something very bad happened to her…something involving tea-parties and a man with long ears and blue green eyes. Her only companion in the asylum is an ax-murderer named Hatcher whom she talks to through a tiny hole in her cell. When the asylum burns down Alice and Hatcher escape but they aren’t the only thing to escape…a deep dark violence escapes with them…a violence known only as the Jabberwock.
Alice and Hatcher are determined to stop the Jabberwock before it wreaks too much violence on the streets of Old City. Alice is also determined to find the Rabbit and find the pieces of her memory she is missing.
This is an interesting retelling of Alice. The book is set in a very dank and dark old London type of setting. There are a lot of gangs and much violence going on. This is definitely a book for adults the violence and gore is pretty explicit and there is quite a bit of sexual violence and discussion of rape.
I loved how the different elements of the Alice in Wonderland tale are woven into this story. All the main characters from the story play questionably noble (Cheshire Cat) or very sinister roles (the Walrus, the Caterpillar, and the Rabbit). The book is more magical realism blended with horror than straight-up fantasy. At least in the beginning of the story you can’t quite tell if these characters are just dark and greedy gangster types or if they have some dark magic at their disposal.
I absolutely loved both the characters of Hatcher and Alice. Hatcher is the Mad Hatter character and (as portrayed in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) he is both noble and insane. He was a fascinating character and I really enjoyed his unpredictability and his respect and faithfulness to Alice. Alice was also intriguing; she undoubtedly questions her own sanity at times but she grows a lot in confidence as the story progresses. Both characters have the unshakable ability to do what needs to be done to protect otheres…no matter how awful or vicious that deed has to be.
The story is well written and stops at a good place. I am incredibly eager to continue reading the adventures of Hatcher and Alice.
Overall a very dark and incredibly well done extention of the Alice in Wonderland story. I enjoyed the characters a lot and loved the dark and dank world. The gore and violence does get pretty intense and there were quite a few scenes that had me cringing (so not for the weak at heart). I would recommend to Alice in Wonderland fans who enjoy horror. If you enjoy this book I would also recommend A.G. Howard’s Splintered series (which isn’t quite as dark but is delightfully creative) and of course the Alice in Wonderland movie by Tim Burton (which is absolutely stunning).