“Alice” by Christina Henry
Synopsis: 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.
5 out of 5 stars
(Warning: Triggering for rape)
I have always loved Alice in Wonderland in all its forms – “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, the Disney movie, Tim Burton’s Alice. All of it, even the story of Alice Liddell who it’s said that the books are based on and the obscure facts about Lewis Carroll himself. As a child it was so much fun and so easy to get lost in that fantasy world, where nothing was quite what it seemed.
This is a very adult and very, very dark and twisted version of the Alice story and I loved it. Alice finds herself in an asylum, but doesn’t remember how she got there or how long she’s been there. She remembers only bits and pieces of a brutal attack by someone with long white ears.
She is befriended by the man in the neighboring cell, Hatch, who saves her when the asylum catches fire and helps her escape. The fire burns the asylum to the ground, but has also released the Jabberwock.
Hunted by the Jabberwock, Hatch and Alice make their way through the Old city where they encounter Cheshire, The Walrus, the Caterpillar, and the one who Alice fears the most – the Rabbit.
I love that each of the beloved characters from the original Alice (whichever one you prefer) has been twisted into something dark and corrupt in this book. They have been made over into Mob Bosses, most of them dealing in the flesh trade by buying and selling girls. The city has been split up into areas that each one controls in a delicate balance. Alice and Hatch threaten that balance and threaten the livelihood of each boss in turn.
Alice, while close to being damaged beyond repair does find that inner core of strength at the end. I imagine that the ending will be a love/hate thing for most readers. I personally loved it and found it very unexpected.
The cover art for this book is flawless, and perfect for the story. I will say, I am waiting anxiously for the next installment in this series!