Christopher's Reviews > Alice

Alice by Christina Henry
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it was amazing
bookshelves: library-has-ebook, 2015, fiction, great-cover, magic, fantasy

After reading a bunch of the reviews here, I realize that we need to set expectations.

Alice is not a horror novel, at least not in the common sense. It is not scary. You will not jump or find yourself unable to sleep waiting for some monster to come for you. This is only horror in that it tells of a horrible world populated with horrible people. It is horrific, but do not come into this looking to be scared.

Second, this book is filled with rape, torture, and slavery. It is very dark, though I did not find it crude. I don't have a lot of patience for authors who seem to throw in details to show just how edgy they can be, and never felt that this author was attempting that. Though if you are sensitive to sexual assault, know that rape is a major theme in the book.

Ok, with that out of the way, let's talk.

Her future didn't have butterflies and flowers and rain followed by sunshine. Her future slogged through a river of blood to find the well from which it sprung.

Alice takes place after the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Though that story does not come through intact. In this telling, Alice's adventures were decidedly real, and Alice is found covered in blood, lacking her memories, and babbling "The Rabbit. The Rabbit" over and over again, after her stay in said Rabbit's care. Her parents have her admitted to an insane asylum, where, when our story opens, Alice has been for a decade.

Perhaps needless to say, Alice is broken. As much from her time institutionalized as from the original ordeal that brought her there.

Her parents having stopped visiting, the only kind soul Alice has contact with for years is the man in the next cell, even more mad than she. The mass-murderer known as the Hatcher.

In a twist of fate that can only occur when stories or magic are involved, the asylum burns down, freeing Alice and Hatcher, as well as an evil creature that no one, save them, can stop.

Along the way we meet reimaginings of the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and others as our duo travels though the Old City, where girls being kidnapped to perform in brothels is as common as breathing.

"He also tried to kill us for his own ammusement," Alice said. "Why should we trust anytihng he said?"

"Because it's all we have," Hatcher said.

Never far from our mind is the knowledge that our protagonists are both broken people, for whom all that remains is each other, and some absurd quest to defeat a monster. These are people following a path because it is the only path they have left to follow. Their characters are great. Their relationship is great. That they are both partially insane, but have no desire to be 'fixed' is great. It's just a solid book.

But let's not get too far down that road of character study. I mean, this is still a story involving a giant rabbit and food designed to shrink people.

Life is not much like stories, Alice thought. Still, her life had a giant talking rabbit in it, and she didn't think that was very common.

One thing I will say is that the ending felt weak. In the moment, I honestly thought "that was kind of dumb... but I don't think I care, though I probably should." I'm not sure what that says about me or the ending, but I think it says that the characters were interesting enough that I was fine with the ending chapter being lackluster.
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Reading Progress

August 12, 2015 – Shelved
December 20, 2015 – Started Reading
December 20, 2015 –
page 0
0.0% "There's something about a story opening with the protagonist in an insane asylum that never fails to draw me in."
December 20, 2015 –
47.0% "Oh man, I probably shouldn't read this whole thing in one sitting..."
December 22, 2015 –
59.0% ""She must stop feeling surprised, or at least stop showing it on her face."\n \n This novel does what so few novels seem to get correct. Let the MC make mistakes, but let them notice their own mistakes from time to time. Oblivious protagonists are a crutch. Alice is insane, but even she is self-aware."
December 22, 2015 –
87.0% "Hatcher took Alice's hand. "We can't go."\n \n "I know," she said. Her future didn't have butterflies and flowers and rain followed by sunshine. Her future slogged through a river of blood to find the well from which it sprung."
December 22, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Licha (new) - added it

Licha This sounds dark. It reminds me of a movie I semiwatched, "Suckerpunched", I believe it was titled. That's the feeling I'm getting from your review.

message 2: by Christopher (last edited Dec 24, 2015 05:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Christopher That is a great comparison*. Though Alice's plot is more coherent from what I remember of Sucker Punch.

*based on what I remember of seeing Sucker Punch years ago.

message 3: by Licha (new) - added it

Licha That's probably why I semiwatched it. I remember it being all over the place. The images themselves were beautiful to look at, the story a bit confusing.

message 4: by Kelly (and the Book Boar) (last edited Jan 21, 2016 09:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly (and the Book Boar) Wonderful review! Your rating is was what convinced me to read this one : )

Christopher Thanks! I'm really happy you enjoyed the book! :)

Danielle Caseñas I agree on the ending, it all happened so fast, after all that build. However, in the end I didn't really care all that much as I enjoyed the ride!

Christopher Right? The ending is really weak, but I didn't care a bit in the moment.

Amanda Dude, this may have been one of my favorite reads this year. So glad you liked it too. :)

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