Author: Christina Henry
Publisher: Ace (Penguin)
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Acquired Via: Ace Roc Stars
A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll…
In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.
In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...
Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.
Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.
And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.
If I could only choose two words to describe Christina Henry's Alice, they would be "whimsical" and "gruesome". The book deftly captures the essence of Lewis Carroll's classic, while giving it a gory twist that will thrill horror fans. Readers familiar with the original work will find most of their favorite characters, but none of them are as they will remember.
Each of the characters in Alice seem to be an exaggeration of their counterparts in Carroll's work. Caterpillar smokes it up, whose side Cheshire is on seems ambiguous, and the Walrus is not just eating oysters. *shudders* The Jabberwocky is pretty scary, too, but it's more of the idea of him versus his actual appearance. The idea of Rabbit is a lot worse, but I won't go there.
I would have liked to have seen a lot more explanations of various backstories in the novel. I didn't really understand the idea of the magicians, why there were inner and outer cities, or even what I was reading at times. I felt like there was so much focus on making the characters and locations more terrible versions of their original selves that something was lost along the way.
To concede a point: it worked. I couldn't read Alice at night by myself. That's why it took me so long to finish this book.
If you're a fan of horror, this book is for you. I think you'll have a great time reading this novel, and it honestly is one of the best Alice in Wonderland reimaginings that I've read. Pick it up - if you dare.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.