I picked this up free on Amazon the other day, and I tell you, I couldn't put it down. So much so that my kindle actually died while I was reading it,I picked this up free on Amazon the other day, and I tell you, I couldn't put it down. So much so that my kindle actually died while I was reading it, because I was so absorbed in the story that I didn't notice the battery warning.
That said, there are a few of my pet peeves -- the hero sees the heroine naked by "accident" (blech), and the turmoil for the sake of turmoil... not so much a Big Misunderstanding, but rather a very painful estrangement that no one (especially this reader) really wanted. In fact, what I WANTED, was to shake both of our protagonists until they stopped being so damned NOBLE and simply TALKED.
And yet I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more from this series, though I don't think I'll go backwards, and will instead read the books that came after this one.
Overall, a very enjoyable (if a bit too emotionally overwrought) way to spend a day reading.
Angst and romance and drama galore. I loved it, though the cliffhanger ending of sorts annoyed me. A minor issue to be sure, since I went into this knAngst and romance and drama galore. I loved it, though the cliffhanger ending of sorts annoyed me. A minor issue to be sure, since I went into this knowing that not only is the author infamous for such things, but that it's touted as her "New series".
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.
Judging A Book By Its Cover:
First of all, this cover is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. The colours bring to mind the classic tale that inspired this one, and the blot of ink over the Rabbit's eye is a beautiful bit of foreshadowing of a horrific something that quickly becomes apparent in the story itself.
All About That Blurb: "Mind-bending", Alice, in an asylum, in a world where the Rabbit is oh-so-real, and a terrible darkness that has escaped along with her? Oh yes, please!
Getting To The Meat And Potatoes:
As a huge fan of the original Lewis Carroll tale, I saw this book advertised on Facebook, and knew that I had to have it (A+ marketing btw -- I bought this immediately upon seeing the advert.). Whether you're a fan of Lewis Carroll, or of the Disney Classic, or of Johnny Depp Tim Burton, this book is an excellent take on the original mythos that we've all come to know as Alice In Wonderland.
Of course, as a fan of All Things Romance, I immediately honed in on the potential romance between Alice and Hatcher, and even though this was a far cry from the explicit love stories that I normally read, I have to admit that their chaste love was quite satisfying. Don't get me wrong -- this is probably the most dysfunctional romance that I've read since 50 Shades of Grey. Hatcher is much closer to Dexter than he is to any traditional romance hero, and yet, he's far more fascinating. Sexy, protective, and certainly dangerous, one of the most romantic things he does is to promise Alice a swift death should they be overcome by their enemies. Never before has a threat of murder been quite so attractive.
But I digress. Beyond the somewhat dysfunctional potential romance between Hatcher and Alice, lies the real heart of this story; one that is never really addressed properly -- is Alice really mad, or is she truly far more than a girl who has been driven insane by the terrible events that have befallen her?
You see, even setting aside the gory violence, the unconventional romance, and the horrors that Alice faces both in her past and in her present, lies the most intriguing puzzle of all: Is what you're reading actually occurring, or are you simply being taken along for the ride on Alice's completely hallucinogenic fever-dreams? Do Magicians really exist? Is the Jabberwocky real, and walking the streets of the Old City, ready to consume anyone in his wake? Or are the Rabbit, the Caterpillar, and the Walrus simply ways that the damaged mind of a traumatized young girl has learned to cope with the horrors that life has dealt to her?
That, my friends, is what's really so wonderful about this story. We never truly learn if the world that Alice lives in is organized into such a social hierarchy, with Magicians outlawed, and evil such as the Jabberwocky able to run free.
You, as the reader, can choose to believe that Alice was unfairly labeled as mad, and thrown into the Asylum as a result of the fear and misunderstanding that she inspired in those around her after a bloody escape from the Street Boss who raped her. Alternately, you can read this from the perspective that an unfortunate girl has been sold into sexual slavery by a girl she thought to be her best friend, abused horribly, and then upon her escape, was so traumatized by those events that she ended up in an asylum where her fractured mind struggled to make sense of all that had happened to her.
This is not a whimsical tale. Alice's story is not a happy one. Very Bad Things have happened to her, and will happen to her again in the future if she is not very careful, and her response to them is certainly not to turn the other cheek. There is violence. There is gore. There is betrayal, and terror, and rape. This is not a Disney Classic where a young girl falls asleep under a tree and has the most amazing dream. Instead, we are treated to a very intense roller-coaster ride of abuse and love and betrayal and redemption, all wrapped up in the mystery of just what really happened to this unfortunate girl.
In The End:
Just as in the original tale by Lewis Carroll, I find myself quite unconcerned with the question of whether or not Alice's fractured mind is creating the entire escapade. The narrative is beautifully written, with just enough references to the original tale to be familiar to fans, yet original enough to keep the reader entranced through the entire experience.
Of course, as a fan of romance, I do wish that the relationship between Alice and Hatcher had been allowed to mature a little more -- yet this is a very minor point of contention for me, since Alice's background in this story lends credence to a much more cautious approach to any new relationship.
I adored Hatcher, who is truly murderous and not even close to sane, and his protectiveness of Alice was completely swoon-worthy.
Another point I must touch on is the ending; I think that a lot of people are going to either love it, or loathe it -- as I don't think anyone could have quite predicted what would happen during the final showdown. However, I truly believe that any other ending would have been wholly unjust, both for Alice and the reader. As unconventional as it may have been, it fit beautifully in with the story as it had unfolded up to that point.
In the end, though, I have found myself already telling everyone I know that they must read this book. And for that, it receives my highest, and rarest, rating.
It was already bedtime when I realized that my preorder for this book had shown up on my Kindle, but being from one of myJC Daniels Never Disappoints
It was already bedtime when I realized that my preorder for this book had shown up on my Kindle, but being from one of my favorite authors, I knew I had to go ahead and read it.
Let me say that this story was well worth ANY ill effects I may have from getting staying up far too late tonight to finish it.
This story isn't a light romance by any means, but then that's exactly what I look for in this author's books.
Our heroine, Silence, has been a slave for the past decade -- ten long years of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse that has honed her into a highly skilled assassin who is dancing the razor's edge of the last bits of her spirit that remain unbroken and demand that she continue to fight, and the sweet temptation to make a final surrender.
This story is not for the faint of heart -- though fans of this author may already be used to Very Bad Things happening to her heroines, this story took it a little further and allowed some of these things to play out in present tense and in explicit detail. While that would normally be a negative point for me, I think that in this case it serves to show us not only how strong Silence is, but also how weak and human she can be.
Of course from the blurb, I had suspected some of how this story would play out, but it's a testament to this author's skill that I often found myself quite literally breathless as I read. Several times I found myself panicking as I glanced at the progress bar on my Kindle and saw that there wasn't nearly as much left of the story as I'd assumed would be needed to reach a satisfactory ending.
I needn't have worried; this story was surprisingly lush in its world-building, while setting a furious pace that was absolutely perfect for the tale that needed to be told.
In short, I loved it, with its teasing dream sequences that have us (and our heroine) grasping for tiny details of her life before becoming a slave to Gold, the edge-of-your-seat moments of tension wondering exactly which course of action our heroine would settle upon, and of course, the hot and gritty love scenes that left my mind reeling.
Overall, an EXCELLENT read that has a satisfying ending while leaving me in agony while I await the sequel.
I do so adore Josh Lanyon mysteries, and this one was no exception.
The mystery part of the story was quite enjoyable, especially when Adam came up agaI do so adore Josh Lanyon mysteries, and this one was no exception.
The mystery part of the story was quite enjoyable, especially when Adam came up against the small-town politics that one must navigate when dealing with people who have known each other (and all of each others' business) for their entire lives. While there wasn't a huge amount of actual action, the tension and suspense was wonderful, leaving both the reader and the characters wondering just who they could actually trust. There were quite a few scenes that had me holding my breath as I read, because the buildup of what was happening was so intense.
I'm will admit that I never completely warmed up to Rob as much as I did Adam. It's not that he was an unlikable character, or even one-dimensional. I think it was simply that his playfulness and sense of humor tended to lighten the mood when the story might have benefited from a more dramatic tone.
I loved Adam, though. A little uptight, sure, but given some of the things we learn about his past, most of his foibles could be forgiven, even when he tended to overstep his bounds in the investigation.
The romance was delicious. There was a bit of an insta-love vibe, but not so badly that it affected my enjoyment. The chemistry between Rob and Adam was wonderful, and the love scenes are just as yummy as we've come to expect from Josh Lanyon. Add to that a sugary sweet epilogue (instead of one of Mr. Lanyon's (in)famous To Be Continued style endings), and I was smitten.
Overall, a great read, and I'm rather hoping that one day we'll get to see more of Adam and Rob.