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.
“Beware the jaws that bite, the claws that snatch….”
This is one hell of a book and it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. If I could rate it and give it a thousand starts I would do it in a heartbeat, that’s how amazing it was.
Although I will say it’s not a book for the faint of heart, there is much disturbing content such as torture and rape and overall violence. It gets pretty hard to swallow so if you’re strongly against reading about any of those things I would skip this book.
Honestly this whole review will be me gushing over how great of a read this was because I don’t have a single bad thing to say about it.
This is a very dark retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” but it’s also an extremely entertaining one. Even the mildest of fans will love how Christina Henry tied the many familiar faces into her story.
I have only seen movies based on the adventures of Alice and I wasn’t lost for a second, so if you’re worried that you haven’t read the original book, don’t be.
So the story revolves around Alice (obviously) and Hatcher who reside in an asylum together in the New City. One night destiny presents to them an opportunity to escape the asylum and disappear into the Old City, but this opportunity also releases an ancient and terrible evil, the Jabberwock. It is now Alice and Hatcher’s job to destroy the Jabberwock and to do so they must travel through the streets of the Old City where they encounter many of our favorite “Wonderland” characters – Cheshire, the Caterpillar, the Walrus, & the Rabbit.
There isn’t really a cliffhanger ending, but you will be left craving the next (and last) book in this duology. That ending was damn perfect and it was completely satisfying, but I really need to read the continuing adventures of Alice and Hatcher. Now…please.
The world building is superb throughout the story, it makes you feel dirty and gritty whilst reading and that’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel. The Old City is a dirty and gritty place after all, full of atrocious crimes and people. Bad things happen in the world, but fortunately we don’t get that messaged shoved into our faces and forced down our throats. Yes, bad things happen in this book but there’s also some sort of justice in it as well….or vengeance whichever you prefer.
The pacing is fast as well, I predict that you’ll have a hard time putting this one down just like I did. Also the writing is perfect, it makes you FEEL everything and trust me with this kind of story you’re going to feel all sorts of emotions .To me, that’s a perfect book when it makes you emotional.
How do I even do the characters justice? They were all so well written, even the villains were well portrayed. You will hate the villains but you will admit that they’re damn good at being VERY bad.
Alice and Hatcher are the definition of a dynamic duo. Together they can pretty much do ANYTHING and I put emphasis on the together part. It’s true one wouldn’t succeed without the other. They’re so different yet they fit together so well. They’re both completely mad but also clever and they’re on the path of vengeance. Who doesn’t love some badass, vengeance-driven, crazy people?
Cheshire, of course, is and always will be my absolute favorite character in ANY Wonderland retelling. This book was no exception either, he’s exceedingly clever and very helpful while also not so helpful at the same time. I can’t help but love him though, such a little shit…..
Of course as mentioned all of our villains are exceptionally…villainous. Trust me they are bad, bad, and worse. They’re absolutely sickening but they’re as well written as any of the other characters. They’re monumental to the story, without characters like the Walrus, Caterpillar, and Rabbit, it would be very dull indeed.
I absolutely adored this book and to me it was perfection, I haven’t a single complaint about anything. I will be (not so patiently) waiting for the next book “Red Queen”.
This is a fantastic piece of work and I raise my teacup and salute you Christina Henry you mad, mad genius!
In the mean time I think I’ll go have a tea party…or maybe just watch the Tim Burton movie…probably safer….
Hells to the yes!
I recommend this to any “Alice in Wonderland” fan and to anyone who loves dark retellings.
However as I mentioned earlier there’s a lot of sexual violence in this book so if you can’t stomach this then I don’t recommend reading it.