Alice, 16 years old, walks into the dangerous Old Town with her friend looking for adventure, and comes out two weeks later, alone, without memories and with a bloody gash across her face and blood dripping down her thighs. She spends the next ten years locked up in a mental hospital, where she meets the Hatcher, who can feel the Jabberwocky growing stronger in his prison beneath the ground. When a fire in the hospital frees Hatcher, Alice and the Jabberwocky, they try everything to kill the monster. But both of them are hunted by their pasts, and learn that some things are better left unremembered.
This book is incredible! The original story of Alice in Wonderland is woven into the book so cleverly and perfectly, creating something completely new and at the same time hinting at characters and quotes from the original. A lot of the character’s names, you recognize (Cheshire, the Caterpillar…) but all of them are twisted and darker. Eerily, they keep some of their characteristics, so everything still makes too much sense to be entirely comfortable.
The setting of this book is dark. Very dark. Old Town is ruled by Overlords, its citizens terrorized and sold as slaves, misery and cruelty ever present. Still traumatized by her past, Alice slowly remembers what happened to her, and decides to fight against the one who caused it: the Rabbit. She grows from an insecure child into a strong, fierce woman who holds her own and is determined to fight against the cruelty she witnesses. Her character development was so satisfying to read, and just all-in-all wonderful.
The atmosphere Christina Henry creates is incredible. Even with magical realism woven into the story, nothing ever feels out of place, and all of the parts of sharp-edged world fit together perfectly. The city feels like a real place, even if it is as impossible, which is exactly the thing I thought about wonderland in the original Story. Henry managed to create the very same feeling!
This book is pretty dark and disturbing, but if you love great atmospheres and the original ‘Alice in Wonderland’, you should definitely read this book, because you are going to love it!