Published: August 4 2015
Number of pages: 304
Genre: dark fantasy, horror, mystery, psychological
Audience: adult fiction
Rating: 5/5 owl hoots
In the Old City, there stands a hospital and inside is a woman named Alice. She doesn’t remember why she is there except for a memory about a tea party from long ago, and someone with long ears and blood. Then a fire erupts and Alice has a chance to escape as she tumbles out of a hole leaving her free to uncover the secrets behind a lost memory from all those years ago. But something else has escaped with her…something dark and powerful, and to find the truth, Alice must find the beast in the Old City where the Rabbit awaits her.
This is the goriest, violent, creepiest, and psychotic story I’ve read! And strangely enough, I loved every mad twisted scene including the really horrific ones. The best re imagined Alice in Wonderland story and so I’m so excited that the author is turning this into a series!
The story begins with Alice but not the Alice we grew up with from our childhood. First of all, she’s found in an asylum with her blond hair hanging in tangles and she has no clue as to why she’s there. Second, she meets this psychotic serial killer named Hatcher, who carries around an axe, and together they manage to escape from a fire and the place that they felt imprisoned in years. From then on Alice feels inclined to uncover the lost memories of her past to find out what really happened during that tea party and how she ended up with blood in her hair and a scar across her face.
Everything about this story is twisted; even the characters from Lewis Carroll were added with twice the madness and insanity. The most fearful are the Cheshire, the Caterpillar, and the Rabbit but these aren’t talking animals, they’re men living in their own territory of the Old City’s underground, managing their own trade, and with characteristics similar to their Lewis Carroll counterparts: Cheshire with his big smile, the Rabbit with long ears, and the Caterpillar with an elongated body. But out of the three of them, the Caterpillar is the scariest and most disgusting of the bunch; he owns a lair selling girls and carving butterfly wings on them, and keeping them trapped inside glass enclosures. That whole scene after Alice and Hatcher arrived at the Caterpillar’s house made me nauseous to my stomach. But there were a lot of other scenes that made me nauseous too like the tea party turned raped scene that was really disturbing.
Aside from the violent, and dark and disturbing scenes, there was also magic, mermaids, magicians, and the Jabberwocky. Then you have the mystery behind Alice and that she may not be the normal girl in the blue petticoat dress we all came to love. There’s something really strange about Alice, she has a hidden past and another identity that is secret to her and her family. She’s also more short tempered and is capable of wielding a knife when she has to, but compared to Hatcher, she’s not as bloodthirsty. Alice is stoic and brave against the Jabberwocky and when she finds out about her new destiny Alice is determined to carry it no matter where it takes her as she and Hatcher continue their journey through the Old City.
I loved how Christina stayed true to Lewis Carroll’s creations while adding a unique spin to each character. This is unlike any trip down the rabbit hole I’ve been to and after finishing Alice I was hoping there would be a sequel because the ending didn’t do the story justice, hanging in mid air like that. Until I found out on Goodreads that the author is coming out with a sequel next year! This is one of the rare moments where after I finish a debut book and hoping that it gets turned into a series.