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.
I received this eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.
I loved Christina Henry's Black Wings series and was over the moon when I heard about her new series--or at least I hope it's a series--that is a spins a new twist to the Alice in Wonderland story. Alice reads as a standalone or is hopefully the first in a new series as there are still more adventures to be had in this new world.
Alice has spent that last several years in a mental hospital, she was brutally attacked when she was a teenager and based on what she said happen, her parents threw her in the hospital without batting an eye. Then one night the hospital is set on fire and Alice, along with her neighbor Hatcher escape.
The world in this story definitely has a dystopic feel to it. The town has been divided into two cities; basically the wealthy and the poor. It's a dangerous and seedy place, yet it has a colorful feel to it. All around you see what makes this our new Wonderland. There are territories within the Old City, ruled by Cheshire, Rabbit, Caterpillar, and the Walrus fights Mr. Carpenter for the other section. This is not your typical Wonderland retelling and that's what makes it so intriguing!
Alice is set on killing Rabbit for what he did to her years ago. Hatcher wants revenge on the Jabberwocky, who also plays a role in this story. The two find a common ground and work together. There's also a possible romance between them, but it's not as clear as it could be. But there's definitely a friendship between these two that I was fully behind. Hatcher was sent to the asylum after he murdered a bunch of people with an ax. He's dangerous, yet with Alice, he's kind and gentle, and very protective.
The world setting here is very dark. It's not a separate place like the Wonderland of old. This is Wonderland in a sense. Yet it is still as dangerous as we've ever learned. Everyone is "mad" in Wonderland, and that pretty much rings true here too. The people are a bit mad and also, very, very dangerous.
I was surprised to see so much resolved in this one. Again, I am only guessing this is the start of a series. I thought I heard Christina was already hard at work on another title that rings of Wonderland. I can't quite remember said title, but it did fit within the Wonderland world. While this adventure gets wrapped up nicely, there is still another journey to be had. This time it's for Hatcher, he has some unresolved issues that will likely be the center for another book. Only time will tell.
If you like retellings of any kind, I highly recommend this one. While it's not your usual retelling, it's still an entertaining read with a dark and gritty edge! I found myself loving the madness and seeing true evil lurking in the shadows. This read had some sensitive issues and I liked the way Christina executed them. It's rare to see an author not tiptoe around such subjects, or else I just haven't read many books that deal with said issues. Regardless this is definitely a [potential] series I will be keeping an eye on!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars
Alice releases August 4, 2015