Alice Book Review

aliceTitle: Alice
Series: The Chronicles of Alice #1
Author: Christina Henry
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Adult – Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Horror
Pages: 291
Format: Borrowed Paperback from Coworker

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.

This was a different twist on the original tale of Alice in Wonderland for sure. It was dark, twisted, a little creepy, and full of murder and blood. The book did sound interesting, though, and I liked the voice the author had throughout the story.

The book starts with Alice in an insane asylum when she is sixteen years old and quickly passes time to ten years later when she is still there. One day, her friend in the room next to hers, Hatcher, knows that the Jabberwock will be released and they have to get out.

And things are only just beginning when they do. The world of the Old City is much more twisted than that of the New City, because in the Old City there are prostitutes everywhere, as well as people who just take girls to rape them. I honestly think that this was probably the one detail of the story that kept popping up again and again that I could have done without. It made me angry and made my skin crawl just thinking of it.

When we’re first introduced to Alice, she doesn’t understand the world – at least, not as an adult. She only knows what the world was like as a teenager, and can’t remember all of the events that caused her to end up in the asylum other than her ranting about a Rabbit. I thought that she stayed pretty true to the Alice we know, albeit a confused one who doesn’t know what to think of the world and what’s going on. As time progresses, though, she does become fiercer, braver, sharper, and she knows that the only thing in this Old City is to survive and take down the Rabbit.

I thought that her develop gradually increased, but I wasn’t necessarily blown away by her. She was definitely an Alice I was expecting and I’m kind of glad for that. There were a few other things I wish had been fleshed out for her, such as her family life as a child and why she doesn’t remember what happened to her, about her feelings for Hatcher and where they stemmed from, and what about the necklace she is later gifted – what is its significance?

Hatcher, on the other hand, was very interesting to me. It wasn’t until much, much later in the story that I figured out that he’s based off of the Mad Hatter. He’s in the asylum for a much darker reason than Alice, and the reason why becomes clear as they journey through the Old City to find the Rabbit. I thought that his character stayed true throughout the entire novel, which was reassuring. He seemed like he had the mind of someone much younger, but at the same time of someone who understood the world in a much simpler way. Though he was the one who often had to kill people around them to survive, he had a bit of humanity in him that didn’t make him terrifying, but real.

There were secondary characters, like Cheshire, the Caterpillar, the Walrus, and Dor, who were easy to spot their character equivalent of, and I thought that they were pretty true to their personalities from the original tale: Cheshire was smart and witty, but quick with a temper if crossed; the Caterpillar was cunning and cocky, thinking very highly of himself; the Walrus was just kind of a coward and I didn’t care much for him; and Dor was… well, she was only there briefly, so I can’t really say much about her.

The plot continually moved forward, pushing Alice and Hatcher to find the Rabbit and put a stop to things. In fact, I think the two main plots were to take out the Jabberwock and to find the Rabbit. There were a lot of bumps and blood along the way, though, and many revelations for Alice as they continued. Many parts were dark and twisted, and though I wish there had been less of the girls and sex and rape and stuff mentioned in here, I understand that it is a part of this world (but I don’t have to like it just because of that).

Overall I thought that the story was compelling and was definitely leading to something big, but I think that the last fifty or so pages fell kind of flat. I thought that  after so much mention of the Rabbit and his eyes and more would have lead to this epic battle scene or something – even with the Jabberwock – but it wasn’t and I think that’s where my disappointment crept in. The story felt like it was going in one direction and it ended in a completely different way. That’s honestly the saddest part of it all, plus I have a few unanswered questions like, Where did the love between Alice and Hatcher pop up? Was it because they had known each other from the asylum and therefore only knew what to expect from the other? What about the necklace that Alice wore, what was its significance in the end? Do we get to see what happens next?

I mean, there will be a sequel, but I don’t know if I’ll read it given the deflated ending of this one. The book was good, though darker than I anticipated, but I don’t know if these questions will be answered. Plus, there were a lot of typos that I noticed, and misused pronouns of he and she on occasion, so that was kind of annoying.

If you’re looking for a darker fairytale retelling with a creepy air about it, then check out this book.

I rated it 4/5 stars and recommend it.

The Book Drop April 2016 Unboxing

Hey guys! Here’s another unboxing from The Book Drop. As it says on the website:

The Book Drop is our very own monthly subscription box service. What does this mean? This means once a month we hand-select one of our favorite new books based on your reading preferences, package it up all nice and cute in a box and send it your way! Book Drop subscribers get a book delivered to their doorstep (or mailbox) once a month from Bethany Beach Books.

So I’m subscribed to the Jane box which includes:

  • Paperback book (usually a contemporary or historical fiction novel, with the occasional literary fiction novel)
  • Indie Next list for the upcoming month
  • An occasional goodie

This month has a book that I’m actually pretty intrigued about! I’ve never heard of it before but it definitely seems like one up my alley.

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It came with:

The note says,

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding was a recent book club pick for us and our group had one of the best discussions about this book! This is an extraordinary novel of family, loyalty, and love. It’s a novel about women and about how far we’ll go to protect those we love and cherish. Included you’ll also find a signed bookplate from Jackie Copleton. Happy Reading! Enjoy! Love, AZ

It’s a book that reflects back on life and love, and how hard life can be sometimes. I’m excited to read it because I love reading about books of people from other cultures, as well as ones that dive into the past like that.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you receive any book subscription boxes that you think I should check out? Let me know!

Top 5 Wednesday: Biggest Badasses

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Lainey of gingerreadslainey. Today’s topic is all about the characters that we think are the biggest badasses. You know the ones I’m talking about.

5. Kelsier from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

thefinalempire

I love his egotistical nature because he thinks himself to be a badass, I swear. His use of Allomancy and the skill he has to wield it is incredible. He’s certainly a force to reckon with, that’s for sure. And I think he’s slightly mad, but you know, sometimes you have to be.

4. Lia from The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

thekissofdeception

I mean, of course Lia’s a badass. Not only did she flee her country to get away from an arranged marriage and to gain freedom, but even when she goes through really tough trials she still keeps her chin high and still shows that she’s not afraid, that she can handle whatever’s thrown at her. And I think that not only shows courage, but true badassery.

3. Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

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She’s, like, the definition of badass. Kate is one of those heroines that doesn’t give a crap, ain’t got time for that, and will take you down first and ask questions later. I love her character and think that she’s a really good show of strength and determination in a world gone to hell.

2. Celaena/Aelin from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

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Did you not expect to see Aelin on this list? I mean, really, she’s an assassin, for one, and she’s just a badass for another! She knows how to kick butt, kill a person, wields magic, and also loves to dress in all of the latest girly fashion. Yes, she’s pretty badass if you ask me.

1 . Aeduan from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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A new favorite of mine, Aeduan is definitely a badass. He might have a slight anger problem, but he’s able to control his emotions. I think the biggest reason he’s a badass: he can control other peoples’ blood once he has their scent. And if that isn’t scary enough (or cool enough), but even if he’s mortally wounded his body kicks into high gear to repair him. Freakin’. Epic. And badass as hell.

There you have it! My list of badass characters. Who are some of your favorite badass characters? Let me know!

Favorite Books of 2015

Hey peeps! Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite books I read last year because, well, why not? I loved them so much that I want to share with you all what they are and why I loved them. I already did a video version of this topic last month and just never got around to actually doing a blog post. So here we go!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

thefinalempire

This first installment of the Mistborn trilogy was just amazing! It was epic in a way that I had never read before. The plot was extensive, weaving so many aspects of the lives that were being lead together; the magical system was unique and defining, but not all powerful; the characters were differentiated by talent, personality, caste, and more; and it was just overall an amazing read. Highly recommended. Check out my review!

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the character arc in this trilogy was amazing. By far one of the best arcs I’ve ever read about. Juliette just proved how strong she was on her own without any guy to hold her down, and then the fights happened and the romance blossomed and the writing was incredible. This final installment of the trilogy was just amazing and I couldn’t recommend this more. Check out my review!

This Shattered World & Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

thisshatteredworldtheirfracturedlightAs the second and third books in the Starbound trilogy, I just felt that these two were better than the first. The stories that were told were haunting, heart-breaking, intense, and fast-paced. The romances were ones that made my heart flutter and the worlds in which they lived in had me wondering about our own universe. The way that the story wound itself through these two and joined everyone and everything together was smooth and enticing. Also, have you seen the covers? Gorgeous! Check out my reviews here and here!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

daughterofsmokeandbonedaysofbloodandstarlight

As the first and second books in this trilogy of monsters and angels and humans, I was drawn in not only by the concept of the chimera and angels fighting against one another, but for the writing. Laini Taylor’s use of the English language is one that is beautiful and encompasses so much emotion and passion in every stroke. Not only that, but I found the characters to be engaging, the story to be different, and the romance to be one that stretches beyond time. Check out my reviews here and here!

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queenofshadows

As the fourth installment in my favorite fantasy series, of course I loved this book. It wasn’t without its problems, of course, but it was just everything I wanted and more from this series so far. There’s action, adventure, deceit, romance, death, magic, and more. Loved it and can’t wait for the next one. Check out my review!

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

thekissofdeception

My first audiobook experience and it also became one of my favorite books. This story is one in which a princess runs away from marriage and tries to build a new life with her friend, but ends up in a much bigger plot than she could have imagined. The audiobook was told in three perspectives and the actors did well with changes of voice and pronunciations. I loved the story and the characters and it’s just a beautiful tale of lies, love, friendship, and the need for freedom. Check out my review!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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This debut novel was amazing from start to finish. Set in an ancient Rome-esque society, there is brutality in the land, slaves, warriors, a fight for freedom, hints of magic, and so much more. Honestly, how is this a debut? It’s so good! I’m also really glad that the second book will be coming out later this year because I need it now. Check out my review!

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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This. Was. So. Cute. I was squeeing and laughing out loud so much from this book and I am so glad I picked it up. This book is a coming out story and one that kids in today’s modern age can appreciate. With the use of the internet, two kids from the same school are able to communicate with one another and get close with one another, falling in love though they don’t know who the other is just yet. It was so adorable and it just brought so much happiness to my heart. Highly recommend this one. Check out my review!

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

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This is the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, and when it was originally a trilogy I could see how this wrapped up the story beautifully. Not only were the characters coming in to their own, but the story was growing more and more exponential and the plot was becoming more and more twisted. This book holds hope, revenge, love, anger, and so much more. Honestly, a fantastic installment for the series. Check out my review!

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

theamazingbookisnotonfire

So I didn’t discover these two YouTube stars until I saw their book trailer, but I still really adore them! And I just needed the book. It’s a funny compilation of some of their best work, some fun facts about them, and some advice on making YouTube videos. I also got the audiobook, and it made the book 100x better. Loved it! Check out my review!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

theravenboys

The writing in this book is phenomenal! I loved the story, the characters, the twist of the psychics and the magic that lingers in the little town of Henrietta. The characters are all so intriguing and genuine and though I didn’t grow to love them until the second book, they were still etching their way into my heart. I highly recommend picking up this book and giving it a try. Check out my review!

So there you have it! Thirteen of my favorite reads from last year. If you haven’t picked any of these up then I highly suggest you do; you won’t be disappointed! And if you are, well… sorry.

What were some of your absolute favorite books that you read in 2015? Did you read any on my list? What were your thoughts? Let me know!

December 2015 Wrap-Up

Guys. This year is coming to a close. I seriously can’t believe it. But this year has been a great one for me reading wise, and otherwise, and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

So without further ado, December was a spectacular reading month for me! What a way to close out the year after months of being in a reading slump. I’m really happy with how this year ended, and so here are the books, discussion topics, and other things I talked about in December.

What I Read

  • Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor – This is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy and it was so amazing. It really took the story to another level and it made me dying to know what happens next. Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful and I can’t wait to see the conclusion brings. Check out my review!
  • Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews – This is the third book in the Kate Daniels series and the books just keep getting better with each installment. This one had a lot of tense moments and a lot more badassery. Check out my review!
  • Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – The third and final installment in the Starbound trilogy, this book was amazing. It had me wanting to keep flipping the pages right from the get go and though I am sad that it’s over, I am happy to have finished this trilogy. Check out my review!
  • The Selection Novellas by Kiera Cass – These four novellas followed different perspectives from the Selection trilogy, and I enjoyed each of them to varying degrees. I do think that they added their own charm and it was nice to see from other perspectives. Check out my review!
  • Destroy Me & Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi – These two novellas follow the story from the perspectives of Warner and Adam, respectively, and I highly enjoyed them. I thought they really added a bit more to who the characters are and I really enjoyed that. Check out my review!
  • The Future Collection Short Stories by Beth Revis – This group of five short stories were all from different perspectives and told all different stories, each playing with my heart and emotions in ways I wasn’t expecting. I highly enjoyed them and highly recommend them. Check out my review!
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – This first book in the Mistborn trilogy was epic and intense, with a unique magic system and empowering characters, this book is one I highly recommend to anyone. Check out my review!
  • Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews – This is the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series and like I said before, the books get better with each installment. I was really engrossed in the plot of this one and I really enjoyed the romance. Check out my review!
  • Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – This is the first book in the MacKayla Lane series and it was okay, not awesome, but it held a lot of potential and so I’m going to continue with the series. Check out my review!

Discussions

Other

And that’s it! I did a lot this month and I’m really happy and proud of myself for doing so. I think that this was a very fruitful month and I hope you all had a great month to end the year on, too.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!

What books did you read this month that were some of your favorites? What discussions did you talk about on your blog? Let me know!