Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1)
By Christina Henry
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a paperback
Alice was an extremely dark and horrific retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There are many retellings of the famous and fantastic story, many of which are equally fantastic and quirky and beautiful. This was NOT one of those retellings. It wasn’t dark like a trek into a dark and mysterious forest as many imagine a dark retelling to be. Alice was a bit graphic, bloody, and haunting in a way that torture and rape is haunting (since those things were happening often). Alice was a twisted retelling in the sense that the story was slightly sick and twisted. I was 100% on board with such an awesome concept, but I feel like this book needs a disclaimer. People of all sorts enjoy Alice in Wonderland and will not enjoy the darkness that marks each page.
I loved Alice. It was a unique retelling that took a children’s story and turned it around into a haunting and graphic story about a broken girl. Her trek down the rabbit hole didn’t end with a bit of tea and an adventure. Instead she left bloody, broken, and scarred and was trying to find her way back to enact revenge on the creature who did that to her and save everyone from the dreaded Jabberwocky. With the famous (and crazy) Hatcher by her side, Alice made her way through the ruined streets of the Old City into a world she didn’t quite understand.
There are so many retellings that have elements of the Lewis Carroll’s world, but none of them have the grit and violence of Alice. The book was a modern and futuristic story, but doesn’t even really stand with apocalyptic or steampunk or science fiction. Alice is most fittingly placed in horror, with both psychological consequences and physical consequences of everyone’s actions quite apparent. The book itself wasn’t scary, but the world was terrible and bloody and violent, like a trip through an old insane asylum or watching the Saw movies. The characters have been scarred by their experiences and the book was absolutely stunning. I highly recommend Alice to fans of the original who are also fans of horror/gore/dark fantasy.