by Christina Henry
This book really is dark and twisted -- often when books are described that way, they either try too hard to aim for shock value or they actually turn out to be quite tame. But this one? This one really delivered on the dark and twisted and I kind of loved it.Summary: 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.
I loved the characters most of all, especially Hatcher. It feels weird to love that character because a lot of the dark and twisted I mentioned was down to him -- he murders people without so much as blinking an eyelid...and yet I adored him and wanted him to be safe and happy with Alice at the end of the story, he was kind of like an adorable murderous puppy of a character (and those descriptors should maybe be mutually exclusive but it's the best way I can describe him).
I really liked Alice and the way she grows as a character, and I loved the bond she had with Hatcher, it was really odd but I loved it and they're one of those literary pairs that shouldn't make sense and yet they make total sense.
And the plot... It's definitely one of the most interesting retelling's I've read in quite a while. The last Alice in Wonderland retelling I read was The Looking Glass Wars and I really liked that one but something about the way it was written felt like it was sacrificing character development for the action, but this book? This book got the balance right. It included all of the gritty and action stuff but never let that overshadow the characters or their relationships.
The only issue I had with the book was the sexual violence, but I think it was more just that it bothered me personally rather than the way it was written? It was such a common thing in the world the story is set in that it seemed like the characters became quite flippant about it, like they were so desensitised to it...which fit with the tone of the book, but I didn't particularly like reading that part.
Basically, I really enjoyed this book, it wasn't at all what I was expecting it to be and I liked it even more for that. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5, and I can't wait to see what Christina Henry comes up with next.