Author: Christina Henry
Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publication: August 4, 2015 by Ace
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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.I love Alice in Wonderland, who doesn’t right? I’ve read my share of Alice in Wonderland retelling, re-imagined and for the most part they’re all pretty good. But they all were Young Adults. I think any Alice in Wonderland fan at one point or another has wondered if there was ever going to be an adult book based on Alice. Well that time is now and it’s Alice by Christina Henry! If you ever wanted an adult version of Alice in Wonderland this is it. Henry’s take on the classic story by Lewis Carroll is wonderfully imaginative and unique; it’s bloody, gritty, dark and delicious. This is a book I’ve been waiting for!
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 had to categorize Alice, I’d say it’s a Dystopian through and through. The world of ‘Wonderland’ is comprised of two cities, Old City and New City and as the city names suggests one area is rich and one is poor. However, this book focuses solely on Old City as we follow our heroine Alice and her protector, Hatcher in search of their pasts and the sword to slay the Jabberwocky. I love, love Henry’s world building. It had all the elements and characters of the originals but Henry puts her own spin on them to create a fresh and one-of-a-kind read. The Old City is divided into different territories and each turf is controlled by a gangster. There’s Rabbit, Caterpillar, Cheshire, Walrus and Carpenter. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the fun but the gangsters and their territories fit their personalities perfectly! The gangsters are fascinating and terrifying all at the same time…I loved it!
I also really liked Alice and Hatcher. Being institutionalized for 10 years will no doubt have long lasting effects on a person. The two are plagued by their unknown pasts and Hatcher has his spurt of ‘nonsensical madness’ but they’re both fighters; and they fought hard all the way till the end. Everyone from Alice’s past expected Alice to be the same frighten 16-year-old but now at 26, Alice is a powerful bad-ass who doesn’t back down from anyone and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. I totally dig this version of Alice! And then there’s Hatcher who is a protector, warrior, and companion to Alice. I loved how protective he was to her and the way he showed he cared. To say it’s unusual, is putting it mildly (once you read it, you’ll know what I mean). Their relationship is different than any couple I’ve ever read. For 10 years they have kept each other sane, communicating with one another through a small hole in the wall that separated their rooms. Though they never saw each other (maybe an eye here, a nose there), they understood and accepted each other for all the good along with the bad…which is all anyone can hope for.
I loved this book! Alice had everything I look for in a novel; incredible world building, realistic characters, original story and a fast paced plot. Fans of retelling, re-imagined classics will be captivated by Alice. I highly recommend Alice to already Alice in Wonderland fans and Dystopain-Fantasy readers. This is a book you don’t want to miss, entertainment reading at its best! I hope Henry writes more Alice novels…I want more of Alice and Hatcher!