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The Balance #1

Child of Nod

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Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.

Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.

Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen.

Kindle Edition

Published March 17, 2020

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Clayton W. Snyder

27 books119 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Tyler J Gray.
Author 2 books209 followers
February 23, 2018
Actual Rating: 3.5

Honestly I don't think I have a lot to say about this book but I did enjoy it! It kept me interested and wanting to know what was going to happen. It's an interesting retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It has gore, zombies, someone made of memories, traveling over a weird landscape and more.

At first it's sort of confusing as to why certain POV's exist but it all makes sense by the end. I liked Alice and her companions and the world was intriguing. I'd definitely be up for continuing this series. I liked the plot twist. The whole book did have me thinking at times as it was thought-provoking and religion played a part in it. I was worried about where it was going but in the end enjoyed it just fine and had no problems with it personally.

I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea but if a weird Alice in Wonderland retelling with some horror sounds up your alley check it out.

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Profile Image for Dyrk Ashton.
Author 11 books631 followers
August 27, 2017
One of the most imaginative books I've read in a long time. The wonder, awe and adventure of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Chronicles of Narnia, with the gritty horror and razor-sharp edge of Simon Green's Nightside. No matter what you might think from the beginning, this ain't for kids. Extremely well written, thoughtful and engaging. A fabulous re-imagining of fairy-tales old and new. I particularly appreciate the asides that tell us how these characters came to be who they are - without naming them specifically. One of my new favorite opening lines in a book, too: "Once upon a time, there was a girl who was dead."
Profile Image for Diana.
1,701 reviews214 followers
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December 8, 2017
Maybe it wasn't the moment for me to read this book, but I didn't seem to be able to fell into it. We got Alice who is dead but we don't know it for sure until we read an episode from her killers POW. But she knows she has to pay for the ferryman before she even acknowledges to us -or to herself- she is dead. Here, instead of a cat named Cheshire we have a dog who maybe follows Otto. And also some secondary characters who may or may not be dead when they first appear as it wasn't clear to me sometimes which side we were on. I guess the killer was alive and crossed into the other world to ensure someone got Alice's death notched on their belt for whatever gratification needed.
I don't know, I guess I wasn't sold into the story, or the characters or the story itself, so I ended up stoping the lecture.
Profile Image for Justine.
191 reviews55 followers
July 11, 2019
Once upon a time, there was a girl who was dead.

What a way to start a story! I'm going to be completely honest, this book is not what I expected at all, but instead it is so much more. When this was first recommended to me, I thought Child of Nod would be a just be a dark(er) retelling of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, possibly in the vein of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, but I was oh so wrong.

The tale begins with a girl, Alice, finding herself in a strange land we later learn to be Nod. After emerging from a mysterious tunnel, she is led further into the world by a seemingly random dog not quite sure of her final destination. However, she soon finds an evil known as The Hunt nipping at her heels for reasons unknown to her. Along her path to elude this mysterious foe, she encounters a variety of enigmatic people, ghastly landscapes and a world that seems broken to its core. This story is her journey to find the answers to why everything is the way it is and what her role may be in fixing it.

While the focus of the book is Alice and her adventures, fraught with faceless monsters and lost souls, there are multiple POVs and companions she gains along the way that add to the madness. Several of these characters have their own interlude chapters, set in our own world, describing the chilling and atrocious acts that have aided their transportation into this land of the dead. While some may feel this a distraction from the main plot, I feel they successfully add to the eerie feeling of the unknown I believe the author is conveying.

This book is so haunting and beautiful and artistic. Snyder's prose is alluring and poetic, reminiscent of a fairy tale of old, often times making me feel like I cracked open a big, lumbering leather bound tome, gilded in gold with thick cotton pages. I thought it was brilliant of him to fuse the well known story of Alice with aspects of folklore and myth with splashes of horror throughout to make it something familiar, yet completely unique. The story is nicely paced and the revelations are weaved in such a way that leave you satisfied, yet yearning for more.

If you're looking for something a little whimsical and a little dark, this is definitely one you should read. Its sequel, Queen of Nod, is due out later this year and I wholeheartedly intend to continue my journey through Nod as soon as it's released.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
884 reviews273 followers
October 22, 2018
Did not Finish - 15%

Just in case there weren't enough Alice in Wonderland spin-off or inspired by teen books out there; C.W. Snyder brings us her take on the beloved tale. The Child of Nod brings Alice into Nod (essentially Wonderland) which appears to be some sort of land of the dead. We start out with Alice dropping down some sort of hole and being carried off by water. Sound familiar?

*Yawn*
I broke my usual rule of reading at least 30% of a book before giving up because I honestly could not keep my eyes open. Snyder's writing is too matter of fact for me; she lacks a real deep essence to her writing that I want in fairy tales. There needs to be a spark of magic early on to really drawn us into the world construct; unfortunately Land of Nod made me nod off.

Errors Galore
I know writing is touch. And finding a good editor is even harder. And yes Land of Nod is published by a small house that likely doesn't have a lot of resources (or money) for writers to drawn from in order to get a good editor. And that's okay. Amazing stories don't have to be perfect. But they do need to have basic grammar and spelling check ran on them. Almost everyone other page I was finding an error or needing to re-read a sentence that was awkwardly phrased. Never underestimate the need for a good content editor AND a good technical editor.

Overall
This just felt like a yawn fest and with so many great books in my queue I decided not to stick it out. Additionally, if you are going to write a novel based on the premise of a famous story, you had better be sure it's solid. Everyone knows the story of Alice and would be far more impressed if you took that construct and really made it your own. It's certainly possible that as the Child of Nod carries forward it gets better. I'm okay not ever knowing and moving onto the next Alice in Wonderland inspired novel. It's not like there is any lack of them.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,431 reviews128 followers
February 21, 2018
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley

I'm sure some people will enjoy this, but it was not what I was expecting and I just couldn't get into it. I liked the idea of the story and the world, it's great that the author created a land where a bunch of different afterlifes are all kind of patched together and I liked how we had characters from all of them like Cain, Cerberus, and Fenris. I caught some Alice in Wonderland references [obviously] but I'm sure there were more that I missed because I'm just not super familiar with the source material. However Alice herself just seemed kind of two dimensional and I never really connected with her or came to care how her or the ongoing plot at all.

Also I went into this basically expecting like ...a whimsical [if a bit dark] middle grade level story and that is definitely not what I got. Just for example, somewhere in the middle there's a flashback where a guy gets locked in his basement and has to eat his dead wife's corpse before he gets let out and while I wouldn't mind that if I was reading like ...a mystery thriller or horror novel or something, I felt it was so out of place here with what I was expecting from the cover and summary of this story that that is pretty much the point I gave up all hope of getting into this. It just wasn't for me.
218 reviews27 followers
December 19, 2017
Child of Nod: A peculiar+ Zombish take on Alice in Wonderland!

"Once upon a time, there was a girl who was dead." 


Basic Keywords and Intro:

-This is the 1st book in The Balance series.
-Nod is a corrupted fairy tale land.
-A zombie version of Alice in Wonderland meets The Wizard of Oz meets Tim Burton
-Third person Omniscient Narration + Multiple POV.
- There is a spirit who is being chased in what I call "the in-between".
-Alice’s spirit doesn’t remember her past, or even her purpose in this peculiar land.
- A Murderer who has orders to take Alice’s 2nd life.
-I recommend to read the book without reading the entire blurb. It has some spoilers, so be careful.

You’ll owe her.” Zee shrugged. “It’s the way the world works. No money, only favors on this side.” 



Points to address:

1)The story within a story element.
-The use of this literary device gave the story multiple layers of morality lessons, bizarreness, and a sprinkle of greek mythology.
-I wouldn’t really consider them to be “ Frame Stories” because the story could be told without them.
-But, the story would lose 60% of its intriguing and gore factors.
-My favorite ones are the stories told to Alice by Clotho, Atropos, and Lachesis.
-Don’t know what those words represent?
-Those three are supposed to determine an individual’s moment of death. Clotho spins the thread of human fate, Lachesis dispenses it, and Atropos cuts the thread.

2. The Retelling of Alice

-Alice in Wonderland is a story that must have a billion of retellings.
-One would think that Child of Nod would be super predictable, but I  promise you that it isn’t.
-It is a pocket full of plot twists and crazy turn of events.
-Besides, Alice is a spirit in the in-between world.

3. The writing style

-I will only say this, and nothing else....
-The writing is basically beautiful words that are dipped in the ocean of gore.
-If I can personify the writing style, and create a scene out of this character, I would say that Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride is dancing to Lorde’s album in the Land of the Dead.

Things I liked:

-The crazy, intense, mesmerizing spin on Alice in wonderland that kept on surprising me.
-The vivid description of feelings, hunches, and emotions gave me goosebumps.
-The bizarreness of the characters, and the world of Nod.


Things I didn’t like:

-It was a bit difficult for me to keep up with what was happening at first. I had to reread the 1st few chapters a couple of times.

I received an eARC in exchange with an honest review.
Profile Image for Roberta R. (Offbeat YA).
360 reviews34 followers
April 22, 2018
Rated 4.5 really.

Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA.

Pros: Imaginative, multilayered tale weaving lots of literary and mythological references into a fresh story. Evocative prose.
Cons: All the different characters and their stories - and Nod's many facets - might not come together smoothly until a second read.
WARNING! Contains elements of horror and gore.
Will appeal to: Both the young and the adult reader seeking a strong, dark-but-poetic example of revisited and enhanced tropes.

First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this book from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an honest review. To be more precise, I specifically requested a review copy. That didn't affect my opinion and rating in any way. All the books I've received from CQ so far have come with no strings attached, and it's always a pleasure for me to work with them and discover more (sometimes underrated) gems.

BLOOD SUGAR DEATH MAGIK

Afterlife books are my biggest weakness, as this post testifies. But CON is so much more than that. Building on a classic prompt - Lewis Carroll's Alice slipping into the alternate world of Wonderland - C.W. Snyder spins a dark, yet poetic tale about loss, pain, fear, courage, loyalty, violence and purity of heart. Alice - our Alice - travels in a rich, imaginative version of the afterlife, pursued by an unknown enemy and aided by a bunch of sometimes suspicious, sometimes charming, always quirky characters. This afterlife has lost its Balance and has been partly turned into a wasteland since the Red Queen was born; for reasons we are to uncover through the story, Alice is the only one who can fight the Queen and restore the Balance. It's a classic Chosen One story, except it's not, since Alice's peculiarity is rooted in facts, not in random gifts granted by a superior entity. And though, while traveling through Nod, she does pick up information and abilities that will be needed for the final showdown, she still manages to retain her humanity and a sense of wonder. [...]

Whole review here.
Profile Image for Permanently_Booked.
756 reviews54 followers
March 17, 2020
"We all have to be a little mad here, from time to time."

When you die where do you go? What deep, dark hole do you fall through and what do you find on the other side? Snyder takes the afterlife and wraps it in the plot line of Alice in Wonderland, reclaiming this place as The Land of Nod. Add a dash of mythology, the Pied Piper and other fairy tales and you're almost prepared to embark on this journey.

There are multiple POVs in this story and characters are introduced in the beginning without preamble. It can be confusing and hard to follow but it all comes together in the end. This is a darker version of the classic. Murder, cannibalism and character deaths that come unexpectedly. I personally liked the underlying theme of memory that played throughout this story. The strength of our most cherished ones and the destructive force of the ones that fester.

I will say this is not an easy read. It takes time to follow the story and dig through the weirdness of Nod. I enjoyed this take on the classic but can tell this is not for everyone. However, for those deep readers who can handle a bit of madness amongst their pages, I'd recommend this read.

Special thank you to Parliament Press and the author for the opportunity to review this e-arc for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Shawn Wickersheim.
Author 6 books79 followers
July 16, 2018
Unique, unusual, bizarre, twisted, good, elegant...just a few adjectives that crossed my mind as I read this book. Very well done.
Profile Image for Queen of the Geeks.
101 reviews2 followers
November 20, 2017
*No Plot Spoilers*
I really loved this book. The premise and imagination that went into the book is first rate. The imagery of the the Afterlife in Nod is both frighteningly dark/terrible and beautiful. Some reviews have noted that it was hard to get into or care about the main protagonist Alice as it took a long time to get to know her and other characters in the story. On this I agree and disagree. The book is set up to be a series so I appreciate the fact that the author took the long road to introduce both the setting and the characters and it was not a data dump of plot and characters. The story is both liner and told in small snippets of flashback that progress the story and knowledge of the characters, and only culminates in a real understanding of both at the end. This makes sense in the setting as we are introduced to the main character Alice as she awakes in death in Nod, and neither she nor the reader understands who she is, what has just happened to her or even why. The reader finds out as she does in a slow reveal of story and plot. I actually appreciated this as you feel like you are right with Alice discovering everything with her. The other characters in the book are illusions to Death, shepherds of souls, lost souls, guides and monsters that exist in many beliefs, religions, or myths that might inhabit an afterlife or in-between place of life and death. The author spends a lot of time describing Nod and the place Alice must journey, a place that is a cross between beautiful fields and forest in the idea of Elysium and a dark frightening place with monsters that would fit within a Guillermo del Toro movie. The author is also very generous with wonderful cultural and pop cultural reference and images he called, "Reference Soup," poems by Longfellow and Robert Frost, jokes referencing Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, all of this along with bad puns and sarcasm giving the text beauty and moments of levity. I cannot wait for the continuation of the story in the next book.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,443 reviews99 followers
March 10, 2018
A Darker and Edgier Alice

Here's what strikes me as an important thing to know about this entertaining book. It is very twisty, but you always understand what's going on. You start out in the dark. Then you get just enough exposition to take another step. And then another step. Every digression loops right back to the main thread. Every flashback or apparent detour just serves to move you a little bit further along, or to make some important connection. Alice always has some sort of companion who makes just enough of a cryptic comment or observation to keep you on track. That means that as you read you have plenty of opportunity to marvel at the sights and subtle jokes and connections, but never at the risk of losing the main narrative thread. It's refreshing to find a fairy tale reimagining that is both full of rich, twisty bits and yet still clearly plotted and crisply told.

This is not one of those reimaginings that takes a classic and just reworks it to change the setting or add something the author felt was missing, (violence, sex, a political or gender statement, zombies). Rather, it seemed to be that the author here took the idea of Alice, stripped out the funsy whimsy, and then added lots of new ingredients to mix up a much different sort of stew.

So, instead of falling down a rabbit hole our Alice is shot and pushed in front of an oncoming subway car by a villainous character working at the direction of an even more villainous character. Off we go to meet Acheron, cross the Styx, and head out on our quest. But here's the thing. Just a bit in we meet Cain, (who wasn't in the Wonderland books I read), avoid the Great Hunt, (ditto), search for the children of Hamelin, (ditto), chat with the Fates, (ditto), and meet a fair number of undead sorts who feel more like zombies than Wonderland folks. Heck, even "Nod" is from a different comic strip.

That's all O.K., though, because this book is strong on its own and doesn't need to be a parody, a knock-off, or a reimagining. Alice's quest is interesting, mysterious, legitimate, and vaguely mythic. Alice is a no-nonsense, self-reliant, not easily rattled heroine who is more than up to the task of taking over her own narrative, which makes her tale worth following.

This is all enhanced by the author's restraint. There's a lot of atmosphere, but it's sketched in with a combination of broad strokes and little details. We aren't burdened with some laborious world building. Characters are cryptic and none of their connections to Alice or to other stories are underlined or italicized. (If you don't notice when Alice arrives in the childless town of Hamelin, well, no one is going to beat the point home to you.) Alice is also a bit deadpan and understated, so we don't get a lot of drama or angst or emoting. She just has some sort of existential problem here and she's going to soldier on through it, and she's starting to get a little fed up.

For what it's worth, this book has a surprising amount of gore and horror, but also a light touch with dialogue and some very amusing and wry supporting characters. Every now and then Alice screams and laughs in the same paragraph. Talk about "balance".

So, this was a fun read that was much more rewarding, and much more deeply crafted, than I expected, and it struck me as a fine and happy find.

(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Dani N.
445 reviews60 followers
March 22, 2018
This review may also be found on Books, Vertigo and Tea.

I shamelessly admit, that the cover originally attracted me to Child of Nod. When I read the blurb and realized it was a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, it was a done deal. Anyone who knows me or half follows the blog is well aware of my passion for retellings, particularly of my favorite classic. But this very fact also means that I hold some seriously high expectations when approaching such titles.

Alice awakes in the land of Nod to find she has met her end but cannot recall how. Her memories seem to be missing. She does the only thing she can and sets out to retrieve them. However, she is not alone. She is being followed, this much becomes clear. What she does not know it that her pursuer is someone very significant. Meeting an eccentric and at times terrifying group of individuals, she soon finds that she will bring about a revelation that could forever alter the land.

Was that vague enough? I do hope so. I almost feel like this is a story best entered blindly. So I am keeping this review light and highlighting what worked so well for me.

Boasting an ensemble unlike any I have ever encountered and offering a completely original take on a timeless tale, Child of Nod delivers something I feel I rarely experience as a reader. Not be confused with a child’s tale, this not so friendly rendition is unnervingly dark at times and brilliantly pieced together in all facets.

There is a feeling that we remember when we look at childhood favorites. It is as enchanting as it is inviting but often not without a bit of fear. Many favorites such as Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz offered some frightening moments for young readers. Here were are returned to those familiar emotions through clever narration and beautiful character development that manages to encompass the very elements we have come to love in such stories while successfully tailoring them to suit an adult audience with an added flair that will feel reminiscent of mythology while embracing the supernatural.

Multilayered, Child of Nod cleverly offers stories within a story through character the process of character exploration and revelations. The result is a rich and complex read that is at times unsettling but also impossible to put down. Nothing is to be expected but the unexpected.

Fans of Wonderland, dark fairy tales and elements of horror will find this to be a surprisingly rewarding read!

*I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press & Netgalley for my copy. The above review is my own, honest & unbiased opinion.

Pairs well with a nice cup of double spiced chai.

Profile Image for Maddie.
895 reviews130 followers
April 11, 2018
This was an interesting book, and the cover foreshadowed that XD No idea what the cover had to do with anything, but it definitely drew me in. All of the insight into the side characters was very different, but also a little bit confusing. I ended up getting the backstories confused when names were mentioned. I liked figuring out who was behind the names though, and how they came to be in Nod. It's not every day you read a book from the perspective of a dead person.
Quite a lot happened in this book that made me feel uncomfortable and a little queasy. I'm not sure why it's tagged as a horror book, but it was quite gory and more than a little bit strange.
The whole book did feel a little bit rushed though, and not very fleshed out. Oddly enough, I felt like I got to know every character APART from Alice. I quite liked Zee until And then I feel like we got too much backstory in proportion to how much we actually read about each person. It didn't seem right. Wish I could connect with this more.
Profile Image for Carly Wilson.
577 reviews38 followers
March 15, 2020
My favourite childhood book was ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’, so this book intrigued me from the onset. I loved the mysterious artwork of the cover, and the premise of a dark fantasy retelling of a classic had me hooked.

The book is about Alice who is abruptly taken at the time of her demise to the land that is Nod. Within nod there are lots of eerily creepy going’s on, enough to make a sane man crazy, people to lose their memories and others to become lost souls.

Amongst it all, the story develops as Alice learns more. It is incredibly well-written and took me longer to read than most books due to the level of detail, and my mind being afraid to miss anything.

I love the darkness of the story blended with the familiar characters from innocent fairytales and it was a very good original story, with an ending I did not anticipate.

This is the ideal book for all dark fantasy lovers, and those who like off the wall retellings of a classic childhood story.
Profile Image for Noel Brady.
204 reviews10 followers
November 19, 2017
(I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.) Child of Nod is a well-written, imaginative, fast-paced story with a hint of Alice in Wonderland and a dash of shivers-inducing gore. In other words, ingredients for a great read! I wish I had been able to connect more to the protagonist, who doesn't remember much of her identity and thus makes it hard to get to know her, but there were plenty of other intriguing characters with emotionally resonant backstories. Also, "Queen of Blades" - is that an awesome name or what?
Profile Image for Taylor.
143 reviews7 followers
April 2, 2018
I received a copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is basically a dark, bloody, twisted version of Alice in wonderland. And it has zombies! Need I say more? I loved it!
Profile Image for Megan (ReadingRover).
1,478 reviews37 followers
May 10, 2020
First of all, this is an extremely loose retelling of Alice in Wonderland. What I mean by that is that there is a girl named Alice in another world, she has an animal guide (similar to the Cheshire Cat I guess) and several companions that obscurely resemble characters from the original tale. There is also a Red Queen. That’s where it ends.
Second, this book was sooo slow. Not only did it take over a month to get through it’s measly 250+ pages but it actually felt like forever. The pacing was so bad. It was just tedious for the most part. There were pockets of interesting storyline but it was too few and far between. Also, things didn’t even get going until I got at least a quarter or more into the book. I almost gave up several times. When I finally would get some answers to what was going on things would just basically come to a halt. Then to make the whole thing worse the ending was so horribly anticlimactic. The whole book was build up and then you got this pretty good explanation like 50 pages before the resolution and the big ending was just blah.
I want to read the second book because I want it to be better but I just don’t see it improving that much. The writing is beautiful but the style of it makes the pace and storyline die before it even gets started. Ugh. Such a disappointment. I feel like I wasted hours of my life.
It almost would have been better if the cover wasn’t to amazing. It’s gorgeous but again don’t get me started. Like what the fuck does it even have to do with anything in the book?!? There’s no rabbit. There’s no pig. There’s no flamingo. There’s basically nothing darkly whimsical like the cover infers. It’s all just plain dark and boring. It’s literally a trek through the fields of Asphodel with some stops in the Pied Piper’s Hamlin and other random places. There aren’t even pretty dresses.
2 stars and that’s being generous because it was well written. If I pity read the second one and it’s half as bad as the first I will stab myself in the eye. Rant over.
Profile Image for Karen Mace.
1,778 reviews65 followers
January 4, 2018
Swooning over the cover!! And that is what drew me into reading this along with the exciting blurb of a corrupted fairyland and the promise of some interesting characters! And the book is full of them!!

Alice is dead and finds herself in this fantasy nightmare world where very little makes sense! She is accompanied by a dog who she finds leads her on an adventure into trying to make sense of why she is in the world of Nod, and why memories of her life and past keep appearing in her mind. She also encounters a number of characters along the way, some sent to help, some to hinder and the plot slowly evolves as she reaches different places. Alongside Alice and her story, we also hear of John and Jack and how they play a part in the scenario that Alice finds herself in and this added some extra interest. There are often quite dark elements - as in all good fairy stories! - and it did remind me a little of the tv show Dead Like Me, where the main character had died and was just trying to come to terms with that fact and make sense of it all, so there was a good mixture of humour and darkness.

I loved the world that was created which the author had brilliantly brought to life, but just found some of the characters were difficult to connect with as very little was known of their past, and the pace of the story did move quite quickly to begin with so it didn't give you a chance to build up a bond with them. I did find it enjoyabe to read but often found it a little confusing and messy, so possibly if I went back and re-read it then maybe more would sink in and more would make sense to me as a reader!
Profile Image for Lauren Kelsen.
448 reviews34 followers
June 8, 2020
Child of Nod was such a unique, creative, perfectly crafted blend of Alice in Wonderland and the Land of Nod. It came with tasteful biblical references and mythological beings such as Cerberus, Cain, and a hit that served as Hansel & Gretel’s cabin, the home of Baba Yaga, etc. This is definitely a dark tale that will provoke many a thought from any reader. It has creepy elements with wraiths, wastelands and ghosts. I think my favorite part about this story was the representation of good vs evil and how it is portrayed with Alice and all of the trials she overcomes throughout the story. I will definitely think on this book long after having read it, and if you enjoy a darker read that will lead you through a rollercoaster of emotions then I highly suggest you pick this up!!
Profile Image for Carrie (brightbeautifulthings).
811 reviews29 followers
April 25, 2018
I received a free e-copy through NetGalley from the publishers at Curiosity Quills Press. This was another recommendation from Roberta at Offbeat YA and an Alice in Wonderland interpretation, so there was no way I could pass it up! Trigger warnings: death, violence, gore, body horror, serious illness, cannibalism.

Alice is dead. Well, she’s pretty sure she’s dead. She’s arrived in a strange afterworld called Nod where characters from mythology and fairytales gather, but even the afterlife isn’t safe. Someone is hunting her, and the chase leads her to various regions of Nod and its inhabitants, some dead, some not, some trustworthy, and others with their own agendas. Throughout her travels, it becomes clear that Nod has been corrupted by its Red Queen, and it may be up to Alice to restore the balance.

Not surprisingly, this is a very weird book. It’s pretty much on a whole other level of weird. It has a number of interesting concepts in it, but I never felt like they were adequately pulled together. In theory, I like the idea of having characters from all different stories and mythologies (Cain from the Bible, the Piper of Hamlin from fairytales, the Fates from Greek mythology), but in reality, there wasn’t enough explanation or overlap to justify throwing them all together. It felt like a pastiche in the worst definition of the word–a pulling from various sources without any understanding or sensitivity to their contexts and no attempt to bring any further understanding to those stories. Why is Cain the only Bible character present? Why include Cain without invoking the mythology of Cain, such as the Mark of Cain or the murder of his brother? In other words, why is this character the Biblical Cain and not just any random character with that name?

For all the cool ideas in it, it’s also incredibly slow. There are a lot of overzealous scenery descriptions. (Not Tolkien-level zealous, but I get it, it smells like earth and trees pretty much everywhere.) There are a lot of short chapters, chapter breaks, and shifting perspectives that make it difficult to get into the story, since we’re constantly being jolted right out of it. There are frequent detours into the histories of minor characters, which are interesting but… so what? They’re only loosely connected to Alice’s situation, and their colorful backstories often don’t provide much insight into their current actions. Again, I felt like there wasn’t enough work being done to connect all the many layers of this story. Alice is the main character, but she’s possibly the flattest of all of them. We have no insight into her age or physical description and very little into her history or motivations. There’s no sense of character development. With one exception, I have no idea how she feels about anything that happens to her.

Misgivings aside, the horror elements of the story are very well done. They’re by no means the main point, but I enjoy a story that doesn’t shirk from the grotesque. From a man who contracts leprosy from his tattoos and a queen with swords perpetually stuck in her back (AWESOME) to a madman who’s forced to eat his wife’s corpse, Child of Nod has some very gruesome and vivid imagery going on. I can see by the reviews that this turned a lot of people away from the book, but it was basically the only thing that saved it for me. (Because I’m disturbed, obviously.) It has one of the weakest epilogues I’ve ever seen; the novel has almost no closure whatsoever, and I’m not sure I have it in me to continue with the series. For twisted Alice interpretations, I’d much sooner go with Christina Henry’s Alice and Red Queen.

I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
Profile Image for Radioactive Bookworm.
826 reviews15 followers
February 22, 2018
Goodreads Synopsis:
Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.

Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.

Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen.

My Review:

Let me start of by saying, this book is a slow burn. This book reminds me of one big long creepy and otherworldly dream. It's scary at times, and I really enjoyed reading it. The viewpoint is mostly from a young dead girl named Alice, but it changes to whoever it needs to be throughout the story. I really liked the chapter title font, and the cover, and they stood out to me.

Basically, this is one big adventure of a girl through a strange world. She picks up friends along the way, she helps people who need to be helped, and most of all she tries to stay alive. Well, as alive as she can be, in her afterlife. She's being hunted by a man named Jack, who also picks up friends along the way, although a much different kind. Her memories come to her in flashes, along with other peoples memories when they touch her. Sometimes it's hard for her to tell between real and fake memories. A crazy naked man chases her through the sand for a single coin, the water is filled with creepy bodies, a man turned into beast. What else can I say? It's exciting to say the least.

Overall the characters, as well as the world they're in, seem really well thought out. My favourite character probably would be either John or Alice, just because of the history in their stories. It's interesting to learn about, and I'm glad I got the chance to read it. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.

Here's a link to the book on Amazon, and another link to the authors Twitter.

https://www.amazon.ca/Child-Nod-Balan...

https://twitter.com/claytonsnyder2?la...

Thanks for reading! Check out this review and more at my blog.
(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com)
Profile Image for Heather.
31 reviews5 followers
March 16, 2018
CHILD OF NOD
(THE BALANCE #1)
C.W. SNYDER
Curiosity Quills Press
Published Nov. 7, 2017
274 pages
Genre — Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, fairy tales and myths, horror, DARK FANTASY

Warning: Not written for children or those who can’t handle gore, this book gets a little gruesome at times!

MY SYNOPSIS
(Even Goodreads seemed to give too much away!)

Alice finds herself confused and alone in Nod, the land east of Eden, with only faint memories of how she got there, and quickly discovers that not only has she been murdered, she is still being hunted.

She meets fantastic characters, some famous from mythology, others from fairy tales, and others still from some unsettling corner of the author’s mind. Still, she and her new companion, Dog, who may or may not be mythologically significant, must find help. Just as there is a force after her, there seems to be another helping her along, but why?

REVIEW
I would hate to tell more than this about the story because it is such a delight as it unfolds. Even mentioning the well-known characters and fables the author twists into this novel might be spoiling it for you.

C.W. Snyder’s writing style is fantastic and his descriptions are excellent. The (often creepy) characters and landscapes are beautifully sketched out in the text, giving the reader an awesome view into the Neil Gaiman and Tim Burtonesque world. It’s almost a place I’d like to visit.

I love how many stories are melded and warped into this one, giving depth and a new perspective to all of them while making this unique story feel faintly recognizable. I even had to brush up on some things to fully appreciate the intricacies of the story and still think I’ll enjoy this more on my second read! (This does NOT give the author my permission to dawdle on book two!)

While I noticed most of the lower ratings on Goodreads were from people who didn’t finish reading it, most seemed to give up because they couldn’t understand what was going on or the book was darker than they expected. I didn’t think it was confusing or a hard read. I will say I wondered at times why we’re told so much about certain characters, because I thought they might drop off, but all of the stories elucidate who they are, what they do, and what they are willing to sacrifice. The book wouldn’t be the same without them.

Also, a novel that begins “Once upon a time, there was a girl who was dead” should give a pretty fair warning that it isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows!

DID I MENTION HOW BEAUTIFUL THE COVER IS?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Highly Recommend!

Can’t wait for the next one!!!

Thank you, NetGalley, C.W. Snyder, and Curiosity Quills Press for this ARC.
For more reviews, please visit, https://heathertasker.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Brandy {The Review Booth}.
187 reviews28 followers
July 1, 2020
The basis of this book in that Nod is comprised of various common belief systems, folklore and fairy tales is a rather beautiful concept. As the people that believe in one thing are no longer in Nod they fade away which in turn paves the way for the new but I don't believe they're truly gone. It seems that in some cases they are almost adjacent to Nod - kind of like other nations. I have read and played various retellings of Alice in Wonderland and this one has become one of my favorites.

Child of Nod is a very fast paced novel and you learn about Nod itself as Alice does. It is not told solely from Alice's perspective though but also other characters that she comes into contact with - sometimes before she inevitably meets them in person as well as after. C.W. Snyder does a fantastic job with creating the world that Alice suddenly finds herself in as well as describing past/current events going on in our "reality". I had no issues imagining the kinds of places Alice and the other characters were in - no matter if they were disturbing, beautiful or haunting.

Alice's character is well molded and even though she can't fully remember her entire life before her death she does remember bits and pieces that further her character and the story. The supporting characters are equally fleshed out for their roles though not quite as fully as Alice herself. The exception to that seems to be the Red Queen - her story seems to be a little less than the others which was a little surprising. Some of the background characters are left a little hazy but I would hope that serve a purpose in the second book.

If you are a fan of dark and sometimes tortured retellings and the meshing of various literary works I would highly recommend this book. I would put this book in the same category as two of my favorite Alice in Wonderland retellings: the graphic novels Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice in Wonderland from Zenescope and the video games American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns. I am intrigued to see where Queen of Nod takes Alice and I will be reviewing it as soon as I finish it.

Content advisement: religion, cannibalism, language, prostitution (mentioned - not detail)
Profile Image for Pinkiebookishgirl.
110 reviews7 followers
March 22, 2020
I am very happy that @theparliamentpress has allowed me to collaborate. Child of NOD - A retelling of a awesome Classic.⁣ A new release. ⁣
It is a very sinister retelling, a version of Alice in Wonderland, very distorted and very intriguing.⁣

Alicia arrives in the land of NOD and is chased by a man who wants to end her and because the Red Queen wants her.⁣

Your memories are lost in the land of NOD until you become a wandering soul. People suffer and are not happy, many are trapped and many take refuge in their memories.⁣

The Red Queen has a dark past, one that has traumatized the inhabitants of the Land of NOD, many wonder if she still lives ... If she still lives what has left the people perplexed since that birth.⁣

Will Alice be able to leave the land of Nod? Will she ever remember what happened to her again? Will Alice break the mystery of the land of NOD?⁣

(ESP) ⁣
Es un retelling muy siniestro, una versión de Alicia en el País de las Maravillas, muy distorsionada y muy intrigante.⁣

Alicia llega a la tierra de NOD y es perseguida por un hombre que quiere acabar con ella y porque la Reina Roja la quiere.⁣

Tus recuerdos son perdidos en la tierra de NOD hasta convertirte en un alma que vaga. Las personas sufren y no son felices, muchos están atrapados y muchos se refugian en sus recuerdos.⁣

La Reina Roja tiene un pasado oscuro, uno que ha traumatizado a los habitantes de la Tierra de NOD, muchos se preguntan si aún vive... Si aún vive lo que ha dejado al pueblo perplejos desde su nacimiento.⁣

¿Podrá Alice salir de la tierra de Nod? ¿Podrá ella volver a recordar que fue lo que le ocurrió? ¿Será Alice la que rompa con el misterio de la tierra de NOD?⁣
Profile Image for Cassandra **The Bibliophagist**.
155 reviews20 followers
March 27, 2018
I want to mention I was first attracted to the cover of this novel. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. Sure enough, upon reading the description...I was not disappointed.

This book is a very creative and unique retelling of Alice's Wonderland. I loved the idea of the story and world itself, but for some reason, I could not get fully into it. I failed to connect with the character Alice. I followed her on her journey to the Red Queen, but I couldn't seem to bond with her or feel what she experienced. I think this may be caused by the fast pace the story began with. There was no background story, the action just began. As a reader, I had no time to connect with characters.

I really enjoyed that the reader is given small bits of information as the story progresses. You are given flashbacks or new details that shed light on the plot, but never deter you from the main narrative. Many different stories are melded into on int his dark, fantasy retelling. weaving many intricate pieces together is difficult, but this story did it well.

The world building was amazing. The beings discussed were depicted with immense detail, very vivid in my mind. Though I do not mind the gore, some might. This book is very gruesome at times.
Profile Image for Annette Jordan.
2,188 reviews40 followers
March 11, 2018
A dark and disturbing vision of the afterlife, that takes me back to the fairy tale favourites of my childhood, this book grabs the reader from the off and the relentless pace never stops until we get to the surprisingly satisfying conclusion..
Taking inspiration from numerous mythologies as well as from the fairy tale genre, the author creates a bizarre and off kilter world for us as readers and takes us on an epic quest along with his heroine Alice, and her various companions, while building a wonderful tension.. At times the action was so fast paced that it was a little difficult to follow what was going on, especially in the earlier parts of the book, but as the story unfolded and more of the world it takes place in is revealed, several story threads are very effectively drawn together.
Profile Image for Matt McAbee.
86 reviews7 followers
October 23, 2018
I was provided a copy of the book through TBRindr for an honest review.

Alice wakes up in the forest with no idea how she got there. She soon meets Dog and starts of on her adventure. Jack knows he killed Alice and is now being sent after her in Nod to kill her again. With these and other characters you follow Alice on her way through many perils and dangers in Nod.

Being a short book it contains a wonderful tale of adventure with very interesting characters, with it being shorter it does feel rushed at times but the content of the story is still very enjoyable. The characters all have good stories behind them and shows how they got into Nod and what their roles are.

Overall this is a enjoyable fast read that is a good introduction to the series.
Profile Image for Monica.
40 reviews3 followers
March 27, 2020
Beginning of the book confused me a little bit. There were a lot of stories being told and it took a bit to figure out how they were all intertwined. Once you see how all the story threads are connected though, it’s fantastic.

I adore all iterations and retellings of Alice in Wonderland so this wasn’t a hard book to like. I especially loved how different stories and mythologies were woven into the Land of Nod. Creating a plane of existence after death that is the amalgamation of many belief systems was creative, and really very touching.

I do have one minor thing that I didn’t not particularly enjoy about this book. Normally, seeing a character in a book that shares my name(Monica), is fun and I really enjoy it. In this case......well let’s just say I didn’t enjoy seeing my name pop up in this story as much. Obviously, that is my own personal take, and doesn’t detract one bit from how great this book is overall.

If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland or fantasy books in general definitely give this book a read, and step into the Land if Nod.
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