“Alice” by Christina Henry

Hey everyone! Guess what book I finished listening to about a week ago? Any ideas? Any clues? This post may or may not have everything to do with “Alice” by Christina Henry. I’m leaning towards more along the lines of nothing. So, goodbye. See you.

…still here? Really?

Okay, I guess if you’re still here, you want to know my thoughts on “Alice.” And I have thoughts. Many of them. Buckle in. “Alice” is a very intense joyride.

First, this is not Disney Alice. This is not the nineteenth century Alice. This is your nightmares dropped into an R rated film Alice. There’s sex, violence, and abuse. If that’s not you’re thing—Run. Run far away. Luckily, I like dark and gritty retellings as long as the grit is tastefully used. “Alice,” did just that.

I got this audiobook because it was on sale on Audible. I also got this book because Jenny Sterlin was narrating it. I can never, never, EVER refuse a Jenny Sterlin book. So for narrating, I am biased. I will love every little bit of the narration as if Jenny’s voice was sent from Greek Gods. So, there’s that.

“Alice” is about a girl who used to live in the New City—aka, the rich, clean, and high class city as opposed to the Old City which is dirty, crime ridden, and a cesspit. After going to the Old City with her friend Dore, Alice comes out sliced up, bleeding, and alone. She babbles about a white rabbit and is half mad from her ordeal. Instead of being concerned parents of a 16-year-old girl who was clearly horribly molested, they stick Alice into an Insane Isylum located in the Old City. Great parents.

Alice is locked up for ten years. She becomes friends with another inmate, Hatcher. He’s there because he killed people with a hatchet. The two escape and withdraw into the Old City thanks to a fire that sets the isylum ablaze.

There’s now the threat of the mysterious Jabberwock who threatens to destroy everything, and the White Rabbit who will sooner or later find out that his Alice is back. Alice and Hatcher must take out both opponents if they want a happily ever after.

For the most part I had a great deal of fun with this book. All of the cozy characters from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” are back and reimagined as bloody murderers out to use and abuse the world. Everything still fits and is cohesive in this world where no one, especially women, is safe. The threats are real. People get brutally killed. I was honestly afraid for our main characters.

Because I was having so much fun listening, the aspects that didn’t really gel stuck out like sore thumbs for me.

Alice was like a stubborn mule. Of course, she has the right to stop and think, but she simply refused to explore a concept about herself that would have literally saved the day as soon as she released it.

Hatcher didn’t seem to be of much use. Yes, he’d cut up a few people to protect Alice, but he didn’t really do much. He’s suppose to be the love interest, but I really didn’t the love from him. We are told that he loves Alice, but I didn’t get it. I felt like in this setting, we didn’t really need a love interest for Alice. Again, yes, she is allowed to have love, but she just came out of a ten year daze full of medications and isolation. She needs time to heal and find out who she is.

As for some plot devices…they seemed too convenient. They made the stand offs between seriously scary characters—the Walrus, the White Rabbit, the Jaberwock—seem very anticlimactic. I was really hoping for Alice to have a splendid revenge. She gets one really good blow in and then is kind of just there for the others.

Just imagine Voldemort coming out of nowhere after a terrifying buildup in book one and Quirrel being all like- “Naw, I had enough of this.” And offing Voldemort by drowning him.

NOT THAT SATYSFYING, IS IT?!

Despite all this, I really enjoyed the book. There’s a second one after this that I hope to get to at some point. Right now, I’m going to listen to another series to clean my palate. I don’t really rate things here, so all I can say is that if you can stomach violence amidst a fantasy setting, go for it. This book was engaging and fun with familiar characters turned killers. I would definitely listen to this again.

(PS: Cheshire was the best character hands down. Fight me.)

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