If I could only choose two words to describe Christina Henry's Alice, they would be "whimsical" and "gruesome". The book deftly captures the essence of Lewis Carroll's classic, while giving it a gory twist that will thrill horror fans. Readers familiar with the original work will find most of their favorite characters, but none of them are as they will remember.
Each of the characters in Alice seem to be an exaggeration of their counterparts in Carroll's work. Caterpillar smokes it up, whose side Cheshire is on seems ambiguous, and the Walrus is not just eating oysters. *shudders* The Jabberwocky is pretty scary, too, but it's more of the idea of him versus his actual appearance. The idea of Rabbit is a lot worse, but I won't go there.
I would have liked to have seen a lot more explanations of various backstories in the novel. I didn't really understand the idea of the magicians, why there were inner and outer cities, or even what I was reading at times. I felt like there was so much focus on making the characters and locations more terrible versions of their original selves that something was lost along the way.
To concede a point: it worked. I couldn't read Alice at night by myself. That's why it took me so long to finish this book.
If you're a fan of horror, this book is for you. I think you'll have a great time reading this novel, and it honestly is one of the best Alice in Wonderland reimaginings that I've read. Pick it up - if you dare.
- 3.5/5 Stars -
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me....more
It has been a long time since I've read a book before there was even a cover. Hell, it's been a long time since I've read a physical book. (AudiobooksIt has been a long time since I've read a book before there was even a cover. Hell, it's been a long time since I've read a physical book. (Audiobooks have been my jam since Life has gone crazy.) But this book. This. The Continent. It reminded me of why I'm a reader. I got adventure and escape from the unpleasantness and monotony around me. I got to hang out with a tough girl named Vaela Sun who should get the Survivor of the Decade award.
There's NOTHING better than finding a book to make you fall in love with books again. The Continent rekindled that romance.
Since I've fallen off of the reviewing bandwagon in the past year, I was a turd and forgot to write down all of the various names of things from the book. Yes, they are important in the Grand Scheme of Things, but if I make up how something is pronounced in my head, what is written doesn't stick. I'm warning you before I start with the plot and stuff.
The first thing I loved about this book is Vaela wasn't some wretched, angst-ridden teenager waiting on some sparkling vampire to come along and Change Her Life. No, she had a great relationship with her parents, she had an apprenticeship lined up, and she was a happily normal young person. That's rare in YA, and I didn't even notice that until I read this book. Well, anywho, Keira Drake decided to shake all of that up because Vaela didn't get to float on Cloud 9 for long. She got to know the natives a little better than she would have liked. There are two tribes, and only one of them is civilized.
I'll leave it at that.
I appreciated the world Drake built in The Continent. I won't lie - I was a little confused by the Spire and Continent thing. I read so much science fiction that I assumed the Spire was some manufactured or magic kingdom in the clouds. They took airships to the Continent, so that made perfect sense to me. As I read the book, I started to realize that maybe that's not how things were. I didn't dwell on it, though - I was too interested in what was going on with Vaela. That's saying a lot because I'm usually picking these things apart. *shrugs* I'm hoping for a map with the finished copy so I can get a better idea of what is going on. (And yes, I plan on reading the finished copy or at least listening to it if it's on Audible.)
I don't want to get too spoilery, so I'm not going to subject you to the made-up names. I'm going to stop. But first I'm going to say just this - if you're looking for a book to be excited about reading this winter, The Continent is it.