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Previous Reads: Fiction > Alice by Christina Henry

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message 1: by Louise, Group Founder (new)

Louise | 680 comments Mod
This is the thread for discussion of our May group read. The theme was horror and the winning book was Alice by Christina Henry

Alice (goodreads blurb)
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.

Christina Henry (author website)
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE duology, ALICE and RED QUEEN, a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.
She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.
ALICE was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2015. It was also a Goodreads Choice Award nominee in Horror and one of Barnes & Noble’s Bestselling Science Fiction and Fantasy novels of 2015.

message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitafajitapitareada) | 1034 comments Mod
Just started last night. immediately dark. trigger warnings for sexual assault attached to many reviews of this book.

message 3: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitafajitapitareada) | 1034 comments Mod
So I finished and found it very meh. I thought the storyline was pretty loose. The best part were the characters of the Walrus, the Carpenter, Cheshire, and the Rabbit. just the idea of those characters rehashed as kind of area mob bosses was interesting. Although maybe not the actualization here.

message 4: by Liesl (new)

Liesl | 514 comments After reading the synopsis during the voting process, I was excited about reading this book. I thought that it sounded like a really interesting idea for revisiting the classic tale of “Alice in Wonderland” to see Alice as a rape survivor and the original story and characters from the tale being unravelled as metaphors for the traumatic event that she had survived. Unfortunately, I don`t think that the book holds up to its promise, especially if you go back and revisit the original work.

Most of the characters seem to be caricatures rather than fully developed beings. They share names with characters from the original story but that is where the connection ends, and ultimately this just seems like a gimmick to get you to buy the book.

Did anyone else find himself or herself confused about who exactly the audience would be for this book? I found the level of the work to be quite juvenile for adult readers. It wasn’t just the use of the characters from a Children’s story but the one-dimensional way that the characters acted and the juvenile descriptions of (view spoiler). Many of the resolutions to the drama that developed during the story were very anti-climactic and left me feeling frustrated at the lack of substance to the story. However, the sexual and violent themes and imagery of the story made me doubt that this book was aimed at a younger age group and led me to conclude that the author is not a skilled writer.

It is a shame because in this current #MeToo# era a story that illustrates the perversions of male power and the consequences of that power for women would be extremely relevant. Although the ending of the book attempts to show Alice as empowered, that effort is diminished by the fact that it is really (view spoiler) that allows Alice and Hatcher to find the Jabberwocky, and their actions throughout that journey result in him becoming even more powerful than he previously was. Ultimately, he has used them for his own gain, and his explanation of his lack of fear of the Mermaid also implies that he does not fear Alice either.

Perhaps I am being too critical of this. I would be interested to hear other views.

message 5: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 184 comments Your observations are pretty spot on Liesl. Once I got into the story I lost any expectations of this being in any way related to the original Alice I Wonderland.
To me it felt like the screenplay for a Bruce Willis movie.

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