Fun fact: I am not a fan of ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Okay, small correction: I’m not a superfan of that novel. Lewis Carroll and his surreal, nightmarish tales about the little girl named Alice are not quite my cup of tea. Needless to say, the large number of people that exhibit an extreme obsession with that general fandom are those with whom I clash. That being said: if you like the WONDERLAND stories, good for you! You can have them because, again, they’re just not for me.
So why on Earth, you’re wondering, did I read a book that was a spin on the famous story? Honestly, word of mouth. Consistent, word of mouth — and not just from people who admit upfront that they like the WONDERLAND stories. This book continued to pop up, especially in the wake of the recent release of its final installment and so, you could say, I was worn down.
And surprisingly enough: I actually enjoyed it a little. Well, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There were some fascinating ideas explored and more than a few gothic horror elements that are well thought out and perfectly pitched between creepy and grotesque. My primary issues, as always, is the love triangle. While certainly better than others and played beautifully for laughs/snark, it spirals down into melodrama come the third act. I found it frustrating, but think that A.G. Howard is one of the few YA authors I’ve seen pull off a triangle like this so well. It’s not perfect and frustrating to me only because I’m sick of love triangles — if it weren’t for that second fact, I could see myself eating it up.
Shout out, though, to Jeb: that boy’s snark was ON. POINT. It was the perfect humour-style to cut through the gothic darkness of this book. For his quips alone I would continue the series.
*Note: When I say ‘gothic’, I mean more of the Hot Topic kind of darkness and less of the classic Stoker/Shelley/atmospheric kind. Not always to my taste but, again, well done here.