Book reviews

eARC REVIEW: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles by J.M. Sullivan

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Yes, finally, another book review which happens to be the first one in June! And guess which book I finally started reading?? The answer is hidden in my instagram bio lol

Okay, remember I mentioned that I’m a sucker for anything Alice in Wonderland? Well, this is exactly a review for another retelling of Alice in Wonderland, featuring a wild mix of elements from some very popular YA dystopian series. Want to know more? Let’s get down to the review here!

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers.
If you don’t wish to be spoiled at any costs, feel free to skip this post.

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Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles
by J.M. Sullivan

Rating: rating-4-stars
Goodreads | Amazon |
Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Published: May 16th, 2017
Format: eARC

I received an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Pen Name Publishing, and J.M. Sullivan for given opportunity.

Synopsis: #AlwaysProtectYourQueen

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking. (cr.: Goodreads)

about-author

J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. (cr.: Goodreads)

about-book

Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles is a dystopian Alice in Wonderland retelling and the debut novel by J.M. Sullivan. It features a huge mix of elements from such popular dystopian YAs as Maze Runner, the Hunger Games, Divergent, while still keeping the vibe of the original Alice.

review

You should really know by now that if there’s a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that means it’s my auto-buy. When this title appeared on Netgalley, I immediately sent my request for an ARC, and I’m really glad that I got this opportunity to read the book before its official release. Although I am probably late with my review (this book was released on May 16th), I still feel the need to share my thoughts on this very interesting interpretation of my favorite story.

First of all, what makes this retelling different from others?
I mean, there are already a variety versions of Alice’s retellings, but how many really dark ones you can name? This one has plenty of featuring elements from other popular YA series (and a game), for instance, I noticed these:

  • Alice and her sister Dinah live in the Sector, surrounded by barbed wire that keeps its habitats from outside danger. Money has no more value, and things are being traded. Alice and Dinah regularly lure out behind the border line to get supplies (and also books which Alice loves) for further trading in order to survive – The Hunger Games, and specifically the description of District 12. Also Alice’s illegal “hunting for items” outside the Sector reminds you of Katniss regularly sneaking out into the forest to hunt food.
  • The danger from the outside world is represented by Momerath, short for moment + wrath, to describe zombies craving for fresh blood. The zombie apocalypse is caused by side effects of a vaccine that was supposed to be repairing damaged cells and cure the disability. – Maze Runner series, more specifically, The Scorch Trial. Also I’m being reminded of any possible zombie featuring movie/TV series (you name it: Walking Dead, Train to Busan, World War Z, etc.) Also some references to Divergent series, specifically regarding using all types of medicals, vaccines, etc.
  • The whole battling and action part of the book strongly reminded me of the PC game called American McGee’s Alice, and its sequel Alice: Madness Returns. And I have to say: these two games are wonderful. Really dark and really bloody.

The whole book was a very nice, well carried interpretation for me, but, I’ll be honest, sometimes it felt a little bit out-of-place. Having a retelling shouldn’t mean that you have to do the exact same thing from the original, and just change the background and time. It’s completely okay to improvize in order to make the whole story go smooth. But sometimes in this book it felt exactly the other way, and it resulted in me taking away a star from my rating.

 

On the other hand, I liked how the characters represented their original prototypes, especially regarding Chess, who was “playing the role” of the Cheshire Cat. He’s definitely got a spot in my favorite characters’ list for this book. I am also pleased that Alice was actually presented as a very smart girl (well, she’s 16 here, peeps), and SHE’S A BOOKWORM PPL. She sneaks out onto the library possibly full of momerath to freaking get more books to read. Characters that represented the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter were also fine, and their respective roles in this story were very well carried (cause it ain’t going the way the original Alice’s story goes, which is cool!). But I somehow disliked how the Red Queen was included into the story. I mean, she was supposed to be there, but my brain absolutely couldn’t adapt her Queen status into the story, since it was a dystopian novel, and I was probably very heavily influenced by The Hunger Games setting. In my opinion, this character would fit way better if she actually carried another title like President, and “Queen” would stay only as her nickname or even her last name (like a name her soldiers would use to refer her when chatting with each other). Especially considering that her place was a training camp, and not a castle.

Sure I’ll be waiting for the next installation in this Chronicles, because the ending sounded very and very promising, and I hope to see more of character developments! I just really wish that there won’t be much of a romance storylines interrupting the main plot.

I would definitely recommend this book series for anyone who’s a sucker for Alice in Wonderland retellings, and for those seeking a dark type of retellings.

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Phew, that’s it! Clearly I could’ve written a bit more about this book, but considering how much time it actually took me to finish the book (being interrupted by a reading slump is the worst thing ever), I’m still surprised at how much of a plot and thought I managed to remember without jotting them down in my reading journal.

Are you fond of dark retellings?

See you soon,
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