Alice by Christina Henry

As a child I never read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, and what Alice Found There, but I knew all about Alice and her crazy adventures thanks to Disney.

I liked the film, but it wasn’t until, when in my teens, I bought the books and really fell in love with nosey Alice and all of the colourful and bizarre characters she met in Wonderland.

In fact, I love the stories so much that my hen do was Alice themed.  We all went to Amsterdam wearing tshirts that said “Deborah in Wonderdam” and whilst out one night, I dressed as Alice, my friends were all dressed as the the Queen of Hearts, and my mum and her friend dressed as Playing Cards.

I have Alice Disney Couture jewellery and a beautiful Alice snow globe my mum bought me years ago for Christmas. I am a huge Alice fan.

I also enjoy the darker renditions of  Alice such as America McGee’s Alice computer game and the novel Alice by Christina Henry.

This novel is vastly different to Lewis Carroll’s, there are no talking animals and Wonderland isn’t so bright and wondrous. Instead, it is the Old City from which Alice emerges, a seedy part of town run by various mobsters that thrive on prostitution and murder. Alice’s dress is in tatters, blood flows down her legs, and there’s a deep gash across her face. All the while she babbles about “the Rabbit”.

Alice is believed to be mad and her parents lock her up in an asylum. There she remains for 10 years, with only Hatcher, the patient in the neighbouring cell, for company. 

Hatcher believes the Jabberwocky is imprisoned underneath the asylum and will break free at any time. One night there is a fire which allows Alice and Hatcher to escape, and once safely outside, they see the enormous dark shadow of the Jabberwocky rising from the burning building.

From then on it is the mission of Alice and Hatcher to find and destroy the Jabberwocky, and on the way Alice discovers why she is the only one who is able to defeat it. Alice must also confront the monstrous men who raped and tortured her at the tea party she attended all those years ago, and finally come face to face with the Rabbit.

The story is rather bleak in places (no one enjoys reading about rape), and the plot has some holes (we  ever did find out the reason Alice’s friend dragged her to the Old City in the first place), but I enjoyed this new take on a childhood classic.

It is easy to read and hard to put down.  The twisted characters bring dimension to a straight forward Good Vs Evil tale, and Alice and Hatcher are both likeable as individuals and, eventual, lovers.
I look forward to reading the next book Red Queen.

4/5

Keep smiling x 

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