I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading Christina Henry’s Alice. The original Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll are some of my favorite books, so I wasn’t sure about taking those characters and sticking them in completely different universe. Henry does it brilliantly! I could not put this book down, and ended up finishing it in one sitting. Alice is both dark and magical – perfect for fans of Alice in Wonderland who, like Alice, want a taste of something dangerous.
Looking to break up her sheltered life with a bit of danger, sixteen-year-old Alice ventures into the decrepit Old City. She emerges two weeks later covered in blood and speaking of the Rabbit, a man she remembers only as a pair of blue-green eyes and long white ears. For the next ten years, Alice is stuck in the Old City asylum, labeled as mad. Her only friend, a murderer in the next cell communicates with Alice through the mouse hole between their cells. Hatcher tells tales of magic and the monstrous Jabberwock who lives beneath the asylum. But Alice knows there is no such thing as magic – at least not anymore. When the asylum burns, Alice and Hatcher escape along with the Jabberwock. As Alice and Hatcher hunt the Jabberwock, and the object that can fully restore his magic, they must face their pasts as well as the evil powers that control the Old City.
I am still completely enamored with Alice. It took me to a place I wasn’t expecting, and I couldn’t get enough! It reminded me a lot of one of my all-time favorite books, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I thought Henry did an incredible job of developing the characters and creating a believable magical world without much set up. She throws her readers into the middle of a story and lets them find their way out along with the characters.
I should warn you, though, that this book is pretty violent and a bit gory – I thought it complemented the story well, but something you might want to keep in mind if that’s not the kind of thing you like. (There are also instances of rape, though it is mostly alluded to and not described in detail.) I’m not a huge fan of violent or gory movies, but I do appreciate well placed violence in books. I think Henry used violence well to illustrate the depravity of the Old City and create sympathy for the main characters.
I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. I hadn’t even heard of Christina Henry, but I am definitely a fan now! I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland but also appreciates darker books in the vein of Stephen King or Neil Gaiman.
Alice hits shelves August 4, 2015. Both Kindle and paperback versions are currently available for preorder on Amazon.
Alice was provided to me for my honest review by the publisher and NetGalley.