A dark reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland? Yes please….. Or at least, that was what my fairytale loving mind was thinking.
What I discovered was a rather lackluster effort to inject a bit of horror into the already amazing children’s classic.
Alyssa Gardner is a descendant of Alice Lidell, the inspiration behind Carroll’s original story. Alyssa hears noises and voices wherever she goes. The insects and plants seem to be trying to talk to her. It’s the Lidell family curse.
She fears that one day she will meet the same fate as her grandmother, locked up in Soul’s Asylum for the same reason (she hears insects and plants talking to her). Alyssa’s grandmother also claims she once visited Wonderland and met Queen Red. Alyssa’s grandmother realises that she is acting strange, and Alyssa confides in her that she has been hearing voices too. Her grandmother suggests that Alyssa find the entrance to Wonderland as soon as possible.
Alyssa’s grandmother hid some objects inside an armchair at her father’s house, and when he is out one night Alyssa decides to investigate. She rips the armchair apart and finds 4 or 5 hidden items, including a small Alice In Wonderland book full of odd pictures stuck at the back.
While in the bathroom upstairs, Alyssa is given the choice to step through the mirror and find the entrance to Wonderland.
Wonderland is where things start to get interesting.
A.G. Howard does a good job of making Wonderland exceptionally creepy. It is filled with netherling beings that are very grotesque and nasty.
Alyssa and her sidekick Jeb meet Morpheus, a moth like creature that used to visit Alyssa’s dreams when she was a child. He tells them that the only way to rid the Lidell family of thier life long curse is for Alyssa to put the things that her descendant messed up right again.
Apparently there’s supposed to be a love triangle going on between Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus, but Jeb is nothing more than Alyssa’s sidekick. And Morpheus was very hard to connect to as a character.
Another issue for me was the length of the chapters. Honestly, does each chapter need to be 25 – 30 pages long? There were many times I found myself saying ‘another chapter should start here’ or ‘this would be an adequate end to this chapter’.
In conclusion, the only thing I really enjoyed about this book was Wonderland itself. I didn’t like Alyssa, I didn’t like Jeb, I couldn’t connect to Morpheus and I found the first 150 pages quite boring.
I don’t know if I’ll bother picking up the other two books in the trilogy, I don’t think they’ll add anything else to the overall story.