Book Review: Alice by Christina Henry

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. Today’s post is going to be another book review, this time featuring the book Alice by Christina Henry. I stumbled across this book on Goodreads somewhere in the beginning of the year (I believe on the Goodreads Best Books of 2015 list?) and I knew I had to read this. I am a huge lover of the Alice in Wonderland story and universe, and I’ll read or watch any book or movie that has to do with these characters. I really loved this book, so check out my reasons why below!

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Alice by Christina Henry is the first book in a series about an incredibly dark take on the Alice in Wonderland Universe. Before I say anything more, let me make this clear that this book is probably not best for children or those who don’t like horror based on real life trauma. I was pretty shocked by just how dark the story got pretty much from the beginning, but you either learn to deal with the horrors you’re about to read or you should probably just put down this book. The story deals with rape and sexual abuse/assault which can be pretty hard to read if you’re not prepared or expecting it.

The story starts off with our main character, Alice, escaping during a fire from a mental hospital with Hatcher, a man whom she befriended through a mouse hole connecting their rooms. Alice has little to no memory of what happened years ago when she and her friend ventured into the bad part of the city, the only memory she has is a man with rabbit ears at a tea party. Our main characters quest is quickly established; during the fire that destroyed their hospital an ancient evil called the Jabberwock, and only Alice and Hatcher can stop him.

The story makes excellent use of the Alice in Wonderland universe, many of the recognizable characters are portrayed throughout this book, such as Caterpillar, the Walrus, and the Carpenter. My favorite use of the Wonderland characters is probably how Cheshire is written, a crime boss who is incredibly sinister under an amusing surface.

What I think I appreciated the most about this book is it’s portrayal of this world. As many of us know from the news, our real life world is where many bad things happen and people can commit unspeakable horrors against others. This book doesn’t take horror a la jump scares or one single evil presence in a world of good people; instead the horrors in this book are real life horrors, like rape, kidnapping, and the true villains in this book are the everyday citizens of the Old City committing atrocities on one another. While the Jabberwock is our main bad guy, he’s almost barely in the book, who instead chooses to focus on the crime lords controlling this city taking whatever they desire, whether it be goods or even people. The book didn’t venture away from the terror that can happen when bad people are in control and I really appreciated that. In a novel based off a children’s fairy tale, real life was really the true evil.

Overall I chose to give this book 4 stars out of 5. I enjoyed every second of this book, however sometimes I did have to put the book down and take a mental break from it. The only issue I had with the story is that I wasn’t too particularly invested in Hatcher’s character; I appreciated his role in the story but I didn’t really care about his character’s past or fate. The second installment in this series is coming out in July 2016 (I believe) and will be called Red Queen, and I will most definitely be picking it up when it comes out.

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I’m participating in the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge (I’m going for 50 books read in 2016!), so if you’d like to follow along with my progress or just see what I’m reading you can check that out here. I’m also attempting the Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge, which can be found here. Let me know in the comments any books you’d recommend and what you’re currently reading. See you all next time!

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