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 that 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.
©2015 Tina Raffaele (P)2016 Recorded Books
In this dark twist on a classic tale, Alice struggles to recover from the trauma of her past and her commitment to a mental institution, and to regain her power as an independent and whole person.
What drew me to this book: Reviews for this book are very good, and I like the vintage paper collage look of the cover. I have read some of the books in Christina Henry’s Black Wing series and enjoyed them. Plus, I love retellings of fairy tales. I love the clever ways authors use details from the originals to make a new story.
Why I kept reading: Wow! First off, Alice is not like the Black Wings books. It’s a grittier, harsher, and beautifully written. It’s a different genre entirely; Alice is categorized as horror or dark fantasy. It feels as if the writing intentionally matches the style and sound of Victorian England, in which period the original Alice books were written. Not to the extent that it’s difficult to read, but just enough to give the story character and convey the time period reflected in Alice’s fantasy world.
I adore the way the elements of both original books are used in this story. Having the Walrus and the Carpenter appear as two rival street bosses, for example, is very clever. The uses of some elements are obvious, such as the Cheshire cat or the tea party with a door mouse. Others you may not recognize immediately, such as Alice’s plunge “down the rabbit hole” and swimming through a river of tears, the Mad Hatter, or the oysters that the Walrus and the Carpenter eat.
Though not a young adult novel, one of the themes is certainly Alice coming into her own power as an adult and a survivor of trauma. The book also touches on the idea of loving yourself and others regardless of “imperfections,” and whether or not you can be a good person despite having done some bad things.
I listened to the audio version of this book, and I highly recommend it. The narrator, Jenny Sterlin, does a great job with the voices and the Victorian feel of the book. I’ve already purchased, and am listening to, the sequel, Red Queen.
Why I recommend this book: Alice is a clever and well-written dark fantasy that has depth and substance enough to feel literary. The world Henry has created is fascinatingly awful, but watching Alice own her past and take control of her future is incredibly satisfying.
This book's summary is better than the actual text. This book has an amazing premise (I love ny dark Alice in Wonderland adaptations), but the actual writing falls flat. A lot of cringe-worthy, plain dialogue, a predictable love story, and Henry felt that she had to spell out EVERYTHING for the reader. This book obsessively described blood and fell back on the vague description of "magic" to explain why the events unfolded as they did. The narrator was decent, though she wasn't exceptional. Her "Alice", "Rabbit," "Walrus," and "Hatcher" voices worked well, but I found her "Cheshire" voice annoying.
I don't usually like dark novels, and this one is VERY dark. But I kept finding myself drawn back to listening to it more and more and I ended up liking it in the end. It's fantasy/adventure/horror/romance/social commentary. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next in the series.
10 thousand stars!! Oh my, oh my, how much I loved this book I cannot even explain. I just know that July can't come soon enough. I NEED to read the next book. I'll be dreaming of it every day until The Red Queen finally comes.
Even though the narrator wasn't the best in the Audible edition, the story is just so mesmerizing, so perfectly well crafted and written, each character so greatly represented, each terror more nightmarish than the previous one that I didn't care. In this Alice there are no fluffy, whimsical creatures. What happens here is the stuff nightmares and post traumatic disorders are made of. The villains here are beyond evil. And the heroes can't be bothered with being the better person--which I loved.
It's so refreshing to finally have a heroine that really, really doesn't need anyone to protect her. She wants Hatcher because she loves him (and OMG, I have a new OTP. Alice and Hatcher forever!!!) but she can protect herself just right and even him too if necessary. She is fierce, she is just but she is also brave enough to kill without looking back. This Alice sees red when she has to and she does not let her enemies have a second chance to take her. She does what she has to do to survive and bring at least the hope of a better future for the people in the Old City. When she finally accepts her powers and learns how to use them...I wonder who'll be able to stop her in the second novel.
Christina Henry wrote a wonderful, magnificent tale. Not for children, not for the faint of heart. This is a dark and heartbreaking, yet compelling and lyrical story. I seriously could not recommend this enough. Everyone has to read this book and then talk to me about it. We all have to start an Alice fandom. This Alice, not any others. This badass Alice and Hatcher; I need to have a whole group of people as obsessed about this novel as I am so we can discuss it all the time while we wait for the second one!
Really enjoyed this book towards 50% it really started to pick up and it became more dark. Darker than I expected! Looking forward to more works by Christina Henry!
loved the story, though I struggled with the narration at times. luckily the story was compelling enough to convince me to suffer through the lame attempts at character voices.
A fascinating take on a dark classic. This tale is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
First off, I'd like to mention that the reading voice of this story was phenomenal. Great job madam. If it wasn't for you, I'm not sure I would have listened to the entire book.
That being said.. What an odd story. I thought it was very disturbing and captivating at the same time. I found myself thinking about the story through out the entire day. I can't say I liked it, but I will give the author credit for haunting my thoughts and dreams.
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