Published by Penguin Publishing Group on August 4th 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Historical
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Okay, so I love me some Alice in Wonderland spin-offs and reimaginings, and Henry’s novel Alice had real potential. Where it fell flat for me was the world-building. Honestly, I’m not sure where or when this version of Alice is supposed to be set in. There’s talk of the shining New City where Alice originally comes from and the Old City which feels a bit like the atmosphere that the proles from Orwell’s 1984 live. But what happened to divide the cities? What’s the government doing? What is the government? Why did they banish the Magicians?
Anyway, you get my point that Henry tries to create an atmosphere for the reader, but fails to flesh out enough of the world for it to take. This is very much a plot driven novel, there is action, some suspense, intrigue, and of course a love interest of sorts.
It’s a fairly quick read. As far as fairy tale reimaginings go, I’ve seen much much worse. But I’ve also seen better. It felt like Henry was going for something with more depth and just kind of fell flat at it, which was disappointing.
You could do worse on an airplane.
So, Reader, how do you feel about fairy tale reimaginings? Are they your jam? I tend to love them myself.