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Publisher's Summary

The author of Alice takes listeners back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll.

The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash - and hope is nowhere to be found.

Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King. The pieces are set, and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But to win she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful - the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen.

©2016 Tina Raffaele (P)2016 Recorded Books

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A Satisfying Conclusion

What made the experience of listening to Red Queen the most enjoyable?

Red Queen is the second and final book of the The Chronicles of Alice. This dark and delightfully contorted retelling pick-ups where we last left off with Alice and Hatcher. While there is a prologue, I do not recommend reading this title out-of-order or as a standalone. For that reason, I am not going to be providing a recap during this review.

“Once, there was a girl called Alice, and she lived in the New City, where everything is shining and beautiful and fair. But Alice was a curious girl with a curious talent. She was a Magician. Do you know what a Magician is?”

The Chronicles of Alice easily fall within my favorite of retellings. Fast paced, gritty and beautifully re-imagined, Henry gives new life and breath to a loved classic with Alice. I was filled with elation to immediately discover Red Queen was no exception and would follow in the shining footsteps of its predecessor.

We are now accompanying Alice and Hatcher on their journey to find Hatcher’s lost daughter Jenny. But alongside of our familiar heroine and her “somewhat” unstable companion, we are introduced to some new and rather eccentric individuals. This includes Pen the giant and the denizens of their current surroundings. Each encounter provides additional insight into Alice and Hatcher’s quest and the Red and White Queens. The author cleverly relies on this new ensemble to convey the history and fill in many blanks.

The world building maintains the previously introduced, bleak yet imaginative setting that manages to effectively pique the curiosity and encourage further exploration. While the environment is a more limited in this adventure, I did not find it to be any less appealing. It was well-tailored to the direction of the story and serves its purpose.

It is fair to mention at this point that Red Queen is not as dark and graphic as Alice. Do not approach this portion of the story expecting the exact same action packed experience or you may miss all that it actually has to offer. Here we are gifted with a rather unique but welcomed change of direction or turn of events. The tale is now very much character driven and the pacing has slowed but not without justifiable reason. Through fragmented memories, we are exposed to Alice’s past and family life. Any pre-existing questions are answered and the veil is finally lifted from Hatcher as Henry thoroughly examines Alice’s relationship with him. This is Alice and Hatcher’s story.

The writing continues in that very straight-forward, crisp manner that I have come to expect with Henry’s storytelling. She effortlessly manages to balance all elements providing just enough detail to fuel the story but continue to play on and encourage the reader’s own imagination. The end result is an adequately pleasing conclusion that I would recommend to anyone who found appreciation in Alice.

What other book might you compare Red Queen to and why?

If you enjoyed Henry's re-imaging of Wonderland with The Chronicles of Alice, I would also suggest exploring Colleen Oakes' Queen of Hearts series for another fun take on this classic tale.

Which scene was your favorite?

Without spoilers, the conclusion. I feel that the author was successful in providing an ending that felt rewarding and complete.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This final book in the duology was very character driven. I was particularly intrigued by the further exploration of Hatcher's character and understanding his history.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A little magic

I loved the narration, she does an absolutely wonderful job. And the way the story is told is beautiful.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a little magic.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful narration

After a horrifying journey through the Old City to win her freedom and her magic, Alice leaves the city with her companion, Hatcher, in search of his daughter and, perhaps, a little peace.

After listening to and enjoying Christina Henry’s Alice, and Jenny Sterlin’s beautiful narration, I started The Red Queen immediately.

Broken though they are, Alice and Hatcher share a great love. Out of that love, Alice commits to the journey to find Hatcher’s daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby. Leaving the horrors of the city behind, they expect to find a kinder, more sensible land—once one has escaped a tragic situation, one should live happily ever after, right?

As most survivors know, this is not the case. Alice and Hatcher find just as much insanity, just as much treachery, just as much misery as they did in the city. Alice loses Hatcher to the wiles of the White Queen, who has destroyed the land and its people in her battle with the Black King. Now Alice has to decide who she is and what power she has in order to save Hatcher and reclaim her life.

The Red Queen felt to me like a book about growing up, or maybe about transformation. Alice’s growth as an adult had been stunted because of her time in the asylum. Now she’s escaped her past and the indiscretions of her youth, along with her captivity, and can look forward to her future. She has the chance to remake herself, and now must choose who she will become.

This is the last planned book in the Chronicles of Alice. I admit I was surprised by that. Having been told in Alice that Hatcher’s daughter was a famous courtesan in the Middle East, I assumed that the encounter with the White Queen was just an interlude on their way to the end of a trilogy, in which they would find Hatcher’s daughter and rescue her from her own version of The Walrus or The White Rabbit. Plus, I imagined the Middle East might hold some knowledge Alice would need to develop her skills as a magician. However, our protagonist didn’t have to travel as far as the Middle East to rescue children, learn about her magic, or decide what kind of person she would become.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I just wanted it to be over

I thought the first book in this series was alright, but this one dragged on and wasn't internally consistent. I wouldn't recommend it unless you were in love with the first book, and even then, proceed with caution.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J.C.
  • Sunnyvale, CA, USA
  • 04-10-18

No kidding.... REALLY not like Alice!

Great author, great story, but not nearly as compelling as it's prequel "Alice" which was truly brilliant. When I read all the other reviews warning it was quite different... different pace, more character driven, etc, I figured "the original was so amazing it can't be that different". Well... it is SPOILER (sorta) let's just say that while there were pretty much two main characters in the 1st book there's only one in the 2nd.

And if you loved how those two characters related and created the tableaux in the first... well that's about 90% missing in this one. The series is supposed to end with this book but it honestly really does feel like a "filler book" for a three volume set... and there's plenty of room. Perhaps we'll get that and it will find itself well sandwiched between the two main volumes... a little light snack rather than the full meal that the first book was.

Is is worth a read? Certainly... but it's not the masterpiece of original fiction the first book is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining!

Much better than the first book as far as character development goes, but this time it kind of lacked in action, with some battles being rather disappointing and the outcome slightly predictable. Still, the narrator's voice is soothing and her acting skills are good; this book kept me entertained for a long time and I would recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Remarkable story

These 2 Alice books are surprisingly satisfying. They are both tales of growth, good, and evil. The voices are well done by the reader. In fact, her voice is one of the reasons I enjoyed both novels so much.

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Enjoyed book 1 more

Now maybe this is a set up for a third installment, I’m not sure, but I definitely enjoyed the first book a Lot more. The first book was this twisted ride from start to end and I was really excited to see what happened next, but unfortunately this installment was a bit stale in comparison. I am however intrigued enough to check out a next book if it comes and hope that it picks up the same exciting pace as the first.

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great sequel to "Alice "

The author reworks traditional children's stories into adult reality. I recommend reading Alice and then The Red Queen to keep the story transition fresh. She does an awesome job with Peter Pan, another favorite turned gritty reality.

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Captivating

I love when a book takes you there. Alice goes from an impulsive little girl to a strong intelligent woman.