Alice by Christina Henry. Wonderland goes dark!

This YA novel is unlike any other version of Wonderland. Alice is an inmate in an asylum with no memories of how she got there, just dreams of a sinister rabbit and a tea party. She speaks through a hole in the wall to a grey eyed fellow inmate, a murderer called Hatcher, who hears the voice of the Jabberwocky calling from deep beneath the asylum. One night the asylum catches fire, Alice escapes with Hatcher into the Old City and, as Alice looks back at her prison she sees a monstrous shadow in the sky and wonders if there is more to her dreams than madness.

The Old City contains the names of some of Lewis Carroll’s characters but they bear no resemblance to the original story. Here, the Walrus and the Carpenter are vicious gangland bosses fighting turf wars. Alice must disguise herself as a boy and follow Hatcher into this violent world if she is to understand her past. 

This is an enjoyable story, if a little predictable at times. It involves quite a lot of violence, sometimes sexual. Alice sees herself as someone to free the enslaved girls and does want to liberate the Old City from its oppressive masters. It is not really a dystopian version of Wonderland, other than the names, it does not revisit Carroll’s creations in any detail. It is an imaginative and entertaining read in its own right and worth falling down the rabbit hole for a few hours entertainment.

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