Alice

Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
Series: Chronicles of Alice, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,422 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Weird, yet captivating...

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.

54 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb writing and narration

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.

85 people found this helpful

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Alice in Nightmare Land

What a wonderfully dark and twisted book! You will see hints and shades of your favorite characters from Alice in Wonderland, but you will hardly recognize them here. From Alice, who wakes up in an insane asylum after having been brutally raped, and kept in a drug-induced fog for years...to Mad "Hatcher" the axe-murderer who loves Alice but periodically loses himself into violent fugues where he has no memory of his actions...to Cheshire and The Rabbit and The Walrus: all warring crime bosses with magical powers and ulterior motives. Every time you turn a new corner in this book, there are surprises, betrayals, and horrifying glimpses into the darkest corners of human psychology. Oh yes, and the Monsters are quite real. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and will be looking for more by this author.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great Idea, Poor Execution

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.

44 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very dark, but I was hooked by the end

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.

23 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ti
  • 09-30-17

Quite Enjoyable

What a wonderful production. Terrific writing and brilliant narration. The characters were drawn and spoke with such detail and nuance. The gore, brutality and the human trafficking were a bit gruesome, but the love story and the inner awakenings of the characters, save the day. Overall, what a wonderful ride; through the dark side of the looking glass.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even Darker Then The Original Tale!

A fascinating take on a dark classic. This tale is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

Any additional comments?

I was expecting something lighthearted like Alice in Wonderland. It held my interest as it was an interesting twist on an old classic, but I would never have bought it if I had know it was about rape and the sex trade. Not really my cup of tea, The book was recommended to me as was The Red Queen,but I am not going to bother with the second book.

44 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Gross and creepy. Not in a good way.

Of course I'm a fan of the one and only capital-A Alice. I'm also a fan of a lot of the fanfic and works inspired by her. I love American McGee's Alice, for example. I like a dark Alice.
Starting with the good, Jenny Sterlin was fantastic and I can't wait to pic up another one of her narrations. There were also many enjoyable aspects of the writing. Henry has a very readable style, and she wonderfully brings to life a dark universe.

But this book was gross. There was some really nasty stuff in here. Henry takes graphic content and tries to make it family friendly by using kiddie names for the anatomy. It is really creepy and weird and not in a good way. Just take the most disturbing scene you've ever read and then enact it using Teletubbies or Rugrats and you'll get the feel for Alice. I like dark works. I like horror. To me, Henry even stepped past taboo into something I'm going to call "yech". Parts of this book were quite deep into the yech, and unfortunately I can't unread it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

I enjoyed this so much that before it ended I ordered two copies for each of my daughters. although I wish they could listen since the narrator did an excellent job. This one I will hear again.

5 people found this helpful