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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2015)
A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll...

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.

291 pages, Paperback

First published August 4, 2015

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About the author

Christina Henry

44 books6,411 followers
Christina Henry is a horror and dark fantasy author whose works include GOOD GIRLS DON'T DIE, HORSEMAN, NEAR THE BONE, THE GHOST TREE, LOOKING GLASS, THE GIRL IN RED, THE MERMAID, LOST BOY, RED QUEEN, ALICE, and the seven book urban fantasy BLACK WINGS series.

Her short stories have been featured in the anthologies CURSED, TWICE CURSED, GIVING THE DEVIL HIS DUE and KICKING IT.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

You can visit her on the web at
Facebook: authorChristinaHenry
Twitter: @C_Henry_Author
Instagram: authorChristinaHenry
Goodreads: goodreads.com/CHenryAuthor

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,705 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
August 14, 2015
“Alice dreamed of blood. Blood on her hands and under her feet, blood in her mouth and pouring from her eyes. The room was filled with it.”

This is one of the best, darkest and most disturbing retellings I have ever read. The author gets extremely creative with this world, weaving in characters we recognize from the original Alice in Wonderland but telling a very different kind of story. If you like your retellings to stay close to the original, then don't waste your time with Alice - it is very different.

The world created here is not our world and it is not Wonderland. It's a horor-fantasy style setting in a fictional place called the Old City. Ever since Alice returned to her parents after going missing as a child, with blood running down her legs, missing memories, and strange inexplicable abilities, she has been deemed mad.

Years later, she's in a hospital. Her only friend is Hatcher - the man who talks to her from the next cell and also remembers very little of his life before. And then one night a fire at the hospital sets them both free, but their suffering is far from over.

After escaping, they see a shadow of a monster watching them and somehow Hatcher knows what it means: the Jabberwock is free. And there is only one way to kill him. To find it, Alice and Hatcher are forced deep into the bowels of the Old City, a place run by overlords - the Walrus, the Carpenter, the Caterpillar and Cheshire. And somewhere in the darkness of this city fuelled by pain and misery, there lies the truth about Alice's forgotten past. The Rabbit waits for her.

These names may be familiar, but favourite characters become terrifyingly monstrous in the author's hands. I don't want to sugar coat it in the slightest - this book is an adult, gory and sometimes upsetting fairytale. If you are disturbed by Brom's The Child Thief or Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels, then you will not like this book. Take this quote about a girl who has been "bought", tortured, and displayed for amusement:
“The wings were not attached to her shoulders by straps. The girl’s back had been cut from the top of her shoulder to the bottom of her rib cage on both sides of her spine. The beautiful butterfly wings were neatly sewn into the exposed muscle. As the girl flexed her shoulders, the wings would beat.”

That is the kind of book this is.

I also need to offer a huge trigger warning. Wendy already mentioned this, but there is a lot of rape in this book. At the end, I felt like I understood why the author chose to include it and why it had importance in the story, but that didn't make it any less disturbing to read.

But if you can stomach it, this is definitely worth the read. Very imaginative, magical, creepy and horrifying. A beautifully-written little nightmare.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,194 reviews40.5k followers
June 9, 2022
Welcome to the grimy tales of Alice in Darkland. Team of Alice and Hatcher or let’s call them ALCHER are getting out of the asylum for avenging the people who put them there and leave for nearly 10 freaking years!

Alice was raped by a rabbit and she retaliated by taking his eye with the knife as like the rabbit put an ugly knife scar across the cheeks to mark her. She ran away in front of the horrified servants of rabbit but her own family disowned her so the only person helped her to survive throughout her asylum years was Hatcher who also witnessed the massacre of his wife and kidnapping of his own daughter.

Team Alcher reminds you of Natural Born Killers’ Mickey and Mallory or You’s Joe and Love but their only resemblance is being blood thirsty killers. They’re not sociopaths, stalkers, obsessive psychopaths. Both of them keeps their light and goodness inside but the traumatic experiences and abandonment made them who they are right now!

This retelling is dirty, irritating, nerve bending, graphic, brutal, It’s even darker than Grimm Brothers stories. There are massacres, rape, illegal girl trafficking, cannibalism, violent murders. You feel like you just stepped into the dark side of the moon.

At some parts I couldn’t decide if I should be afraid of the monsters of the books or inner monsters of the normal people who took control of them for diving into more violent acts. When Alcher leaves the asylum, they accidentally freed one of the most dangerous creature: Jabberwocky out there. But at some parts we see that Alice can control Jabberwock so does it make her more terrifying creature?

When Alice follows her bloody, gruesome, vulgar path, she turns into Tarantino’s Bride from Kill Bill and starts her avenging game. Her partners in crime Hatcher accompanied her at everywhere, they saved each other’s lives and at the end we understand their stories didn’t end so far.

This one is exciting, heart throbbing but also mind numbing and definitely so much bloody journey that I can ever imagine. (Yes, this story should be adapted into series but only Tarantino’s direction can deal with so much blood, violence, rottenness!)

I loved the first book and I’m so ready to dive into second one even though there are mixed reviews and heavy criticism about the direction of the story. Let’s read and decide about it!
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,701 followers
March 25, 2018
3/25/18 - ON SALE for $1.99:


9/12/15: When I first read ALICE, I had a hard time categorizing it. It was Victorian, but it wasn't steampumk. It was horror . . . ish. Fortunately, it very obviously a retelling, so at least I had that. BUT. Just having read this article: http://www.dailydot.com/geek/dreadpun... I can now solidly identify it at DREADPUNK. *grins creepily*

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

The first thing you should know is that I bloody hate ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

In fact, with the exception of THE JABBERWOCKEY, which I appreciate for English nerd reasons (nonsense words that make sense b/c masterful command of grammar), I bloody hate Lewis Carroll.

Too weird. #sorrynotsorry

I've also read an installment or two of Henry's BLACK WINGS series, and I wasn't terribly impressed. My top two least favorite subjects in urban fantasy are: dead things and angels. BLACK WINGS is basically about angels dealing with dead things.

SO. A book from an author I've previously not had much luck with, on a subject I've loathed since childhood . . .

You're probably wondering why on earth I bothered with ALICE.

Honestly, so did I.

And if it hadn't immediately captured my attention, I doubt I'd've stuck with it.

But it did. And I did.

The second thing you should know is that this book isn't for the faint of heart.

This Alice is an adult who's spent the last ten years institutionalized after stumbling out of the Old City with blood on her thighs, raving about a rabbit.

YES. That means exactly what you think it means.

And what happened to Alice isn't uncommon in this world.

Usually this kind of thing has me running, screaming in the opposite direction, but ALICE is a perfect example of the difference between dark and crude.

Dark means real life Bad Things happen. It's awful, it's presented as awful, but you're mostly seeing the aftermath of the awful, not a play-by-play account in real time.

It's realistic, but not shockingly so.

Crude means your face is shoved in the awful b/c this-is-life-suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it-you-pansy-suburban-housewife. Crude means deliberately crass terminology used for the express purpose of making something already awful even more awful.

I have zero tolerance for crude.

Dark I can handle.

And if the perpetrators get what's coming to them, my bloodthirstiness comes out to play and rolls around in the darkness. Like some kind of fiery-eyed hellhound.

ALICE is darrrrrrrrrk.

But it's also a perfect blend of old school Carroll strangeness and modern urban fantasy (albeit in a more Victorian setting) that I could not put down. I read the whole thing on a Saturday afternoon.

I loved the characters, especially our two MCs Alice and Hatcher, who were each other's only solace for eight years in the hospital where they were held. Despite the shared experience and insanity, they are as different as two people can be, their disparate strengths and weaknesses making them that much stronger together.

The world was bleak, yet fascinating. Make no mistake, Bad Things happen here. BUT. There is also justice, and that makes all the difference.

ALICE by Christina Henry is hopefully the first of many installments in this new weirdly fantastic series--definitely my most surprising read of the year so far. Henry's Alice knows that sometimes you have to hurt people before they can hurt you, and she doesn't hesitate to do exactly that. And even if she did, her mad companion Hatcher, thusly named for the killing frenzy that resulted in at least six deaths-by-ax, would not. They're on a mission, and if they're coming for you . . . Run, Rabbit, run.

Jessica Signature

My other reviews for this series:

Red Queen (Alice #2)
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
March 29, 2017
Review: 1.25/5

Well, as a retelling, that did a rather curious job.

I was so excited to read this book! It's even on my "can't wait to read" shelf. There is something about the idea of a retelling in which Alice has escaped from an asylum that so fits the wondrous aura of the original book. Yet this did not stick to any of the plot-points, truly. Which was very disappointing. I imagine it would be extremely difficult to manufacture a narrative from the nearly unrelated curiosities of the original Alice in Wonderland—Tim Burton certainly struggled—but it seemed like the only thing this attempt did was take some names.

It seems that this is not the only shared factor between Tim Burton’s adaptation and Christina Henry’s. Both focus upon the plotline of Alice defeating the Jabberwocky (which is somewhat ridiculous if you think about it). Both require a certain blade to kill it. Both have weird sexualizations of the plot points, which is so odd because the original Alice is a CHILD. (Especially Henry’s—the entirety of the book was centered upon human trafficking for prostitution and sexual assault.) Both have significantly aged Alices, perhaps to fit this. Maybe Henry was adapting Burton’s take on the book rather than the book itself. It all came off as very plagiarized.

Things, specifically, that bugged me about Henry’s take: Alice travels with her middle aged mental-institution-next-door-neighbor, whom she is in love with for some reason? He, to the best of my detection, is not modeled upon a character. The Rabbit is a villain, the main one, and does not share any attributes with the original White Rabbit. In fact, it seems that Henry may have intended the Rabbit to mean the March Hare? Everyone in the book is a villain and there is a strange incorporation of characters from Through the Looking Glass, but not the important ones (Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and the chess pieces, for example, go undiscussed. Maybe in the next books). In general it was so frustrating to try to compare this book to the original, because it didn’t add up. And that is all the fun of retellings!

After 291 pages of unspeakable violence, the ending of this book was unbelievably anticlimactic. We follow Alice and Hatcher, her extremely old, my-only-character-trait-is-I’m-a-crazy-murderer love interest, as they battle their way to the two “boss” characters: the Rabbit and the Jabberwocky. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say we encounter these guys for a total of the last dozen pages. Very frustrating.

God, I’m so upset by how much I hated this. What a cool concept, entirely dashed.

Bottom line: if you like very violent books, you may like this. If you like retellings, you will not. I sure didn’t.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,571 reviews33.9k followers
August 14, 2015
This is a bizarre, violent story, one full of menace and dark magic. It's trippy the way that every Alice book should be, and full of nightmarish images and themes.

I loved it for the most part...but. BUT. I have one problem with it, and it's a pretty major one: the book is extremely rape-y. Huge trigger warning if you are bothered by sexual violence of any sort, because it's everywhere in this world, both blatant and implied, and both active and imagined.

While I've always thought most fairy tale retellings and re-imaginings could use a bit more meditation on the themes of seduction and coercion--it's in the very nature of many of the original stories, after all--I was extremely bothered by the degree of rape and abuse here.

If you are able to look past that--ugh, it pains me to even phrase this in such a way--the book is incredibly imaginative, and just what a grown-up Alice story should be. It's well-written, delightfully weird, and scatter-shot with wince-inducing horror. AND A GIANT RABBIT. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and I'm very interested in seeing where the story goes next!

But I also am very disturbed by the rape of past, present, and possible future. And I'm bothered by the implication that all men, no matter how good, are susceptible to bring overcome by lust, even under the most horrifyingly extreme circumstances. So...mixed reactions from me because I feel so very strongly about the way women are treated in this book, and the view of men. Please note, however, the relatively high rating despite that. Probably best to judge for yourself if you're interested.

A bit more of a polish on this review at some point.
Profile Image for Evelyn (devours and digests words).
229 reviews500 followers
January 25, 2016
WARNING: Rape & sexual violence. I'm too pissed to let this subject slide off in my review.

I feel like head-banging the walls at how ‘oh-so-dark-and-morbid’ this book is. I can't even bring myself to say ‘This is so dark oMG!1!’ without feeling the need to roll my eyes off my sockets. Gross exaggeration there but I just can't take this book seriously when everything about it is so fucking flat and one-note with no complexity nor weight to it, and my god does this book tries too hard, too over-the-top to paint the picture of a brutal world. It outright angered me.

This is categorized as Adult, and rightly so because there are actual graphic details of maiming where you'll find yourself knee-deep in bloody entrails, and not to mention, there are a ton of raping and sex assault going on here. A LOT of it.

The way this book tosses out the brutality of rape like it's nothing more but a tool to make the story have that dark, adult and edgy spice to it felt so fucking cheap. If a character with a vagina enters the picture then it's rape alllllll the fucking way. That, or she's under the constant threats of rape. Even our Pretty Alice here wasn't spared except she was the only one who managed to fight off her assailant while the others cower, fall prey and waste away. Why? Because our special heroine needs equally special reasons to back up the fact that she's brave, noble and whatever-the-fuck-else that adds more appeal to her bland characterization.

If I look past all the ‘doom & gloom’, I see nothing much that I can compliment on other than a very strong, compelling beginning that nearly drove me up the wall with WANT when I read the sample chapter, but that was it. The only kicks I got was when Alice and Hatcher interacted together through a mouse hole that separates them, and the whole talk about the Jabberwocky intrigued me if only for a while. It all went to hell when I realize that I felt remote from all the characters here; I don't fear for them because things go too smoothly and convenient. I don't connect nor do I feel for them because the writing leans too much toward telling instead of showing. I have NO clear pictures of the sketchy world-building(the mediocre writing doesn't help either). The villains hardly made me quiver with fear in my socks since they're so laughingly one-dimensional who has no real depths or complex motives to them. I've read better retellings, better horror books and this is the weakest one so far.

Do I still recommend this? Only if you're willing to sidestep that broach of sensitive subject and take a tumble down the rabbit hole to a completely un-Wonderland then Alice might just be for you.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
838 reviews3,754 followers
February 15, 2021

Bring it, Alice! I'm not scared. Oh, how I should have.

TRIGGER WARNING : Graphic rape (a lot) and violence

By no means is Alice a flawless book, and I'm not gonna lie, the first chapters, if they hooked me, confused me as hell in the same time. Who are these people? What do they want? What are their relationships like? Where the fuck are they? What's this world, where human traffic, rape and violence are common practices, where the awful way women are treated makes me want to scream?

To be honest, I always thought that Alice in Wonderland was weird as fuck and developed in an undercurrent of crazy violence, and here? Well. Christina Henry sure pictured the characters we know in the most terrifying light. I love this kind of retellings with passion, and despite the horror, I couldn't help but be mesmerized at all the magical and strange creatures we meet.

► Moreover, as long as it took for me to simply understand what was going on, it didn't influence my interest, not at any moment. From the first page I was intrigued, horrified, drowned into this sick journey of theirs. It started with my breath thinning, then gasping and struggling for air.

I was there with Alice, who coudn't annoy me even if she kept following Hatcher around, because after what she lived through, it made sense and she was lucid about her need and their somewhat unhealthy relationship. Perhaps this world forces her to be taken care of by a man, but nobody owns her, and she makes sure that everyone knows it. Fierce, fierce Alice - she's in no need of saving, after all. Trust me on this. And then, there's Hatcher. Hatcher whose madness took violent turns sometimes and whose mind we could never really trust, but Hatcher who was ready to do anything to protect her. Starting Alice, I didn't expect his character, and he surprised me in the best way possible.

This said, I won't say that their relationship didn't surprise or make me uncomfortable at times, because it did. What is it that they have? Love? Friendship? Whatever it is, its evolution is beautiful.

► Really, though? Their quest for revenge and blood captivated me and I rooted for them to kill these fuckers something fierce. Whoops.

This said, I didn't enjoy some parts of it (I'm not lying when I say that this book is really rape-y), and wanted for some men to go over the stereotyping lust (because really), that's why I can't bring myself to give it the full 5. If I never got the impression that rape was used as a plot device - but rather as a way to show how monstruous and excruciating this world is, and NEVER condoned in any way - I don't like the fact that (almost) all men are bad.

Thanks god for , really.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Matthias.
107 reviews338 followers
March 7, 2017
With "Alice in Wonderland" Lewis Carroll has created a world that has taken root in many people's minds. Wonderland's mysterious inhabitants have entrenched themselves into our dreams as soon as we heard or read about them. It should come as no surprise then that this realm has spawned millions of references, not to mention the abundance of stories that sprouted in other minds, with Disney twists and darker turns, but always with the Cheshire's grin somewhere lurking about.

When I read Lewis Carroll's work for myself, I came away a bit disappointed. The story felt too disjointed, the characters not relatable enough, and beyond the first moments of awe through encountering such strange creatures and absurd landscapes lay a feeling of anticlimax. Maybe it's the vivid and highly appealing image that has been painted of Wonderland, or maybe it's the feeling that more could be discovered in the white rabbits's burrow, but despite my disillusionment something about the story keeps fascinating me. I think the true power of Wonderland is found in how it works differently in everybody's imagination. For some the set pieces that were created here have become molds for their own dreams, Wonderland being a river bed through which their own fantasies run their course. For me Wonderland used to be that place where imagination has gone the farthest, a horizon for my daydreams. Recently it also felt that it's where fancy has got the longest way ahead of it, as I dream of taking a left where Alice has taken a right.

Christina Henry is one of the many authors to have decided that more could be done with Wonderland, and her take on the matter has been largely met with praise. When I started this book I was skeptical of an author who had to make use of a "mold" to get her story out there. On the other hand, there is no better mold than the one that's got "Made in Wonderland" etched on the bottom, so I decided to give it a try.

And at first, I was highly entertained. The green grassy hills made way for an industrial city, the sparkling blue rivers have been replaced by green sludge and the merry cast of characters have become either bruised and battered victims or terrifying monsters. Alice herself is no longer the curious girl but a scared, scarred and confused woman who has to deal with the trauma of rape while being locked away in a mental institution. Dark clouds gather, fires erupt and another tumble down the rabbit hole ensues, only this time it's going to be bloody.

But as with the original, my initial enthusiastic feelings did not endure. Four stars became three and as I wrote this review it even dropped to two. This is because at some point the narrative was showing some symptoms of the Young Adult Literature-disease.

The first symptom: overexplanation, spoonfeeding of interpretations, making the implicit needlessly explicit. Juicy lines that are meant to grab the reader's interest are put in italics, just to make sure you can't miss their genius. Where Lewis Carroll left a lot of silhouettes in his shrouds of mystery, Christina Henry drags them out into the spotlight and explains them away. Nothing is left up to the imagination. As if it wasn't bad enough that the once magical characters suddenly had to have something as ridiculously mundane as motives, these motives also had to be clarified. In my book, that's akin to blasphemy in Wonderland.

The second symptom: bitterness. I don't know if it's a YA-thing specifically or a recent trend in literature as a whole, but the few stories I have read in the genre carry with them a certain bitterness that goes well with the dark atmosphere in which the protagonists wallow, a darkness that was specifically designed to account for such a supposedly mature sentiment. Like any bitterness, it carries whiffs of pomposity and leads to a certain class of philosophies such as "an eye for an eye" that sound all the more pertinent and alluring due to all the emotional baggage the reader is asked to hold on to.

As a side-symptom, the bitterness, as ever crowned with a false sense of moral highground and intellectual superiority, allowed the author to make a villain out of practically every character. While it was innovative to see the Walrus depicted as a ruthless ganglord in the beginning, it got old very quickly as all the other characters were made into something similar during the course of this story. This book felt more and more like black paint being splashed on a painting of a beautiful landscape. Darkness was spilled all over the place to such an extent that one wonders why the author didn't choose to do it on a blank canvas instead of spoiling such a pretty place. I guess for many it's the contrast that makes it work. It did for a long time for me too, but in the end there was little contrast left as darkness filled the entire frame.

I hoped this story would have been about coping, about wonderment after disillusionment or about finding comfort in magic as cold reality chills your bones, but it became something else altogether. This is a bitter tale of vengeance. Magic, love and mystery are just some tiny sprinkles added on this ultimately cold and saltless dish, and the abundance of blood does little to hide the lack of tension. My final assessment thus becomes two stars, as a testament to the Cheshire's enduring grin, while the rest vanished into darkness.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,073 followers
July 1, 2019
3.5 ⭐️

“I wish I were a magician…I’d find all those lost girls and bring them home. I’d take all those men who hurt those girls and make them cry.”

Woah. This adds an entire new dimension to the word dark. If you can think of something gruesome, or violent, or harrowing – it’s probably in this book.

I read Lost Boy by Christina Henry, and although that story contained murder, and fighting and battle, it wasn’t nearly on the same scale as Alice was. This bordered on horror, for me at least.

Alice and Hatcher met while in a mental institution. Both have committed horrific crimes, though Alice can remember very little of her past – something to do with a rabbit, and being kidnapped. When the chance for them to escape arises, they grasp it with both hands and leg it. However, a shadow monster – the Jabberwocky, has also escaped the institution, and seems to be following them.

Alice and Hatcher must find a way to destroy the Jabberwocky, passing through the many areas of the Old City, meeting some familiar characters – but not as you would remember them. Alice is a far cry from the timid young girl we know from Lewis Carroll’s stories and from Disney. This Alice has seen some horrors, and will do whatever necessary to survive.

I did find this book entertaining, albeit slightly sickening in places, I’ll say I still preferred Lost Boy, as it remained truer to the original story than this one did. But I liked it enough that I will order the sequel from the library, and see what happens to Alice and Hatcher next.

“She must start believing in impossible things, for impossible things kept appearing before her eyes.”
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,531 followers
January 21, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/


“Beware the jaws that bite, the claws that snatch . . .”

Confession time: I hate Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and allllll of the movies that have been made from cartoon to Helena Bonham-Carter musey magic. It’s just never been my thing (save your anger – I’ll probably post something more offensive before this review is even over). That being stated, Alice probably would have remained on my TBR indefinitely were it not for the awesomeness of my Elf on the Shelf wonderfully wicked book fairy this Christmas.

Once I started reading Alice I was all “I gotta feeling (wooooo hoooo) that tonight’s gonna be a good night” . . . .

Ooooooh doggie. This ain’t yo grandmomma’s Lewis Carroll! Truly a fresh take that was inspired by the original. In this version, Alice is a resident of Old City’s nuthouse. Her only companionship comes from Hatcher, someone she can talk to/catch glimpses of through a mouse hole near the floor and who didn’t get his nickname over a hat . . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

Alice didn’t always live in Old City, though. Nooooooo, once upon a time Alice was a fair-haired beauty from the right side of the tracks – a/k/a New City. But Alice wanted to experience a little taste of the dark side of life. Boy did she *shudder*.

Fastforward back to the present where Alice and Hatcher have a chance to escape the hospital. However, their only chance of survival is to kill the Jaberwocky . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

No, Mitchell, not the dance troupe. An even more terrifying creation.

In order to come face-to-face with the darkest of all evils, Alice and Hatcher must deal with the various local crime bosses, including Cheshire . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

the Caterpillar . . .

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the Walrus . . .

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(Alrighty then. Coo coo ca choo to you too, Mitchell.)

And last, but most certainly not least, the Rabbit . . .

Things are even more treacherous than they appear (and they already appear pretty crappy, right?) as Alice must make her way through the seedy underbelly of a city whose criminals earn their money via kidnapping young girls and forcing them into the sex trade.

This story was D.A.R.K. and oh so very stabby. Do not say I didn’t warn you. If you’re looking for a cuddly cartoon version of Alice, you should most definitely look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you’re like me and are looking for something more like this . . .

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I highly recommend Christina Henry’s spin on things. All the Stars. Many thanks to my friend Christopher for putting this on the radar for me.

This selection was chosen as part of the Winter Reading Challenge my library puts on each year. Four more books and the limited edition coffee mug will be MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!

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Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
November 29, 2016
After her disastrous encounter with the Rabbit, Alice is confined to an insane asylum in the Old City. When a fire breaks out, she escapes the asylum with Hatcher, the axe-murdering inmate next door. However, the Jabberwock is on the loose as well, and to stop him, Alice will have to cross paths with the Rabbit once again...

Confession time: While I whiled away many a day playing Dungeons and Dragons, most of today's doorstop-sized fantasy novels don't hold a lot of interest for me. Alice, however, is another animal entirely.

While it has its roots in Lewis Caroll's familiar tales, Alice has a lot more in common with works like The Magicians and The Child Thief, deconstructions of older genre works. It bites like a horror novel at times and I was happy to let the bloody juices run down my chin.

Alice is not for the squeamish. She escapes the Rabbit's warren after he rapes her and soon finds herself locked up. Many figures from the earliest iterations of Alice's adventures are present and are crime bosses, many of them trafficking in women, in addition to their other vices.

The world building in Alice was exquisite, a Victorian era society where the rich live in the New City while the majority of people live in the dog eat dog world of the Old City, a world controlled by crime lords like The Walrus, Mr. Carpenter, The Caterpillar, Cheshire, and, of course, The Rabbit.

Aided by Hatcher, who may be an incarnation of The Mad Hatter, Alice goes careening through the back allies of the Old City, going up against all sorts of miscreants, discovering her birthright, and facing her darkest fears. That, and there is a shit load of violence. What more could a guy ask for?

Apart from thinking the ending was a little anti-climactic, I don't have anything bad to say about this book. It was creepy, unsettling, brutal, and a damn captivating read. It kicked a serious amount of ass and Christina Henry can come to my tea party any time. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
May 31, 2016

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Imagine if Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino sat down at a table to do a book collaboration.

"Let's make a book with tons of over the top violence," Tarantino might say. "Sexual, physical, cannibalism - you name it!"

"Okay," Tim Burton might say. "But only if we get to ruin somebody's childhood classic with an existential nightmare set in a surrealistic landscape of angst and desolation."

"And let's have a female character go on a killing spree as she embarks upon a quest for revenge," Tarantino would add.

"Deal," Burton would finish, "just don't forget the purple spirals!"

That's kind of what ALICE is like. The eponymous main character, Alice, is not the Alice we know. She's a survivor of terrible acts she can't entirely remember, and imprisoned in a mental institution along with folks like Hatcher: a man ten years her senior who murdered his entire family with an axe.

When the two of them escape, they land up in a place purged of all magic, where evil crime lords have carved up the land into slices of terror and poverty and corruption. One of those crime lords is the man who raped and scarred Alice. Another is a brothel owner who tortures the girls in his employ. Another eats the girls he captures alive. And still another is dangerous because his motivations are completely secret. Alice and Hatcher have to deal with all of them in order to survive.

ALICE takes a while to get rolling. I actually started this months ago and lost interest around page 80. This time, I managed to finish the book, and let me tell you, once you hit page 100 or so, it's a nonstop thrill ride. To get the best effect of the world-building, I recommend reading this book at night. I had a graveyard shift last week, and as I headed to my car in the cold darkness, with mist circling the ground, and an eerie silence filling the air, it really did feel like the world of ALICE was not only possible, but also immediate. I locked the doors right away, just in case. ;)

The sequel is getting released this year. I'm hoping I can finagle an advanced copy, because that ending was frustratingly open-ended and I'm dying to find out what happens next.

4 stars!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
August 17, 2015

What a darktastic ride through wonderland accept... this isn't the wonderland most may be used to... this place is called Old City and it's not somewhere you want to find yourself.

Years ago Alice went from her home in New City with a supposed friend into Old City out of stupidity if you ask me....only Alice came out... and dear Alice was never the same again.

Alice is put in a mental hospital in the Old City by her parents for the rest of her life. You see you can't have crazy in New City, you have to be perfect there. And poor Alice who kept screaming about a rabbit and had been attacked in a most horrible way was labeled crazy.

Alice has one friend in the asylum and his name is Hatcher. After so many long years in the asylum, one night there is a fire and they escape, but so does a creature that is out to destroy everything in his path.

This book is full of darkness. There isn't anything sweet or cutsie about it. People and things are slayed, raped, twisted, changed, sold, bought... you get the picture. BUT. Alice finds out she has power beyond her imagination and she is pretty bad to the bone and so is Hatcher.

I really liked all of the things Alice and Hatcher go through together. I love their characters. I love all of the things they do all in the name of vengeance. There is nothing like getting revenge on those that have hurt you and avenge other innocents that have been hurt. A brilliant, bloody-ride through Old City with a little spark of goodness at the end. So, I guess I lied, there is a little ray of sunshine ;)

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Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,242 reviews2,256 followers
January 7, 2016
By all means, I should have hated this novel. It subverts one of my absolute childhood favourites into a story that is so dark, that you are left gasping for breath many a time. Don't take what I say lightly - this book is not for the faint-hearted. If you are put off by scenes of rape, torture and misery, please stay away - Christina Henry just piles it on.

Then why did I give it four stars? Well, as a horror novel, it is just one dark rollercoaster ride. Once you mount, there is no way to get down - you shriek, scream, hold on for dear life, maybe piss in your pants - but you stay on, till the ride is finished.

And what a ride!

The original Alice followed a white rabbit, fell down a rabbit hole, had all those weird yet pleasant adventures, and woke up from an afternoon nap in the end. For the Alice in this story, the rabbit hole is the Old City, the den of iniquity which borders the New City, where the nice folks live - but it is a nightmare she enters: raped and mutilated, she wakes up to madness in an asylum. Escaping from there during a fire in the company of "Hatcher", an axe-murderer, her assignment in life is to find the magical talisman required to kill "The Jabberwock", a monster which was incarcerated along with them in the madhouse.

The original characters from Alice are here, but twisted beyond recognition. The Jabberwock, from a nonsense poem in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, becomes the book's frightening arch-nemesis. The Carpenter, the Walrus, the Rabbit, the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat are all gangland bosses who control the Old City. Most of them deal in girls - and it is in the description of these dens of "pleasure" that the author outdoes herself.

Psychiatrists say that pain and pleasure are separated by a very narrow boundary in the brain. Maybe therein lies the fascination of BDSM and torture porn - I have mentioned elsewhere the horrifying fascination the posters of hell exercised on me, with all those naked souls shown being cut, impaled and burnt. In this book, Christina has plumbed those depths to the utmost. The Caterpillar mutilates and keeps girls in cages for his "collection"; the Walrus eats the girls as he rapes them - the book is full of such things, described in graphically precise imagery. As the author expertly skirts the pain-pleasure boundary, we are forced to follow along, wishing for the end but still willing it to go on.

A must-read for avid horror fans - but for others, read it at your own risk.
Profile Image for shakespeareandspice.
342 reviews535 followers
February 6, 2016
All the no-no’s:

-development of characters is nonexistent
The book opens in full force and while that’s sort of fun if you’re excited about adventures, Alice as the main character is never fully developed (that could be said about pretty much everyone in the novel). Admittedly since this book is a “retelling” of Alice in Wonderland, I can understand why the author would think we should already be familiar with Alice’s character but given how far away from the original character this book’s Alice is, I needed more.

-not well written
Connecting to the first problem here, the novel mostly feels like a series of “this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened” with no strong exposition, base, or point.

Hatcher is a problem. For the first half, I was unconcerned with his character…until we come to a scene where Hatcher and Alice are in a room full of women being raped, tortured, and abused and Alice sees a flicker of “hunger” in Hatcher’s eyes. Now Alice seems pretty aware that Hatcher is a dangerous man (I don’t understand why she’s in a relationship with him knowing that, but that’s another issue), but the fact that she seemed more concerned with the regrets Hatcher would have if he did something about this “hunger” was a big, fat problem for me. Alice even seems somewhat concerned about what Hatcher might do to her after seeing all these girls in the room and for the life of me, I do not understand why her major concern remained that Hatcher would feel awful afterward. Fuck Hatcher. Run!

Secondly, and this was a surprise given how much I already didn’t like Hatcher at this point, something about Hatcher’s past is revealed and that “past memory” makes his “hunger” situation even worse. I honestly didn’t think it could get any worse then it was but…wow. For those of you who don’t care about being spoiled, I’ll share what his dirty little secret is: In general, Alice keeps implying that Hatcher really does want to save people, but this “hunger” thing brings this entire book down for me.

Generally, the romanticizing of Hatcher’s character. Big. Fat. No.

-too much rape
How is this kind of society even supposed to function? All women are constantly under the terror of being raped, abducted, sold, tortured, etc. and majority of all men seem like predators (including Hatcher). What the what.

-did this need to be a “retelling”?
This is a minor issue but since I am not as familiar with retellings as others might be, I have to question whether this story really needed to be introduced as a “retelling” of Alice in Wonderland. It felt like everything that happens could’ve been used to tell a whole fantasy story of it’s own. Because of my lack of attachment to the characters and the immaturity of the novel, sometimes I was just downright irritable that the author muddled one of my favorite stories to produce a really shitty version of her own.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,180 followers
December 23, 2019
Another brilliant re-telling by Christina Henry -- the Grimm Brothers would be proud! This book is every bit as gruesome as their original tales, perhaps more so. In spite of the darkness and gore, I was enthralled!
Profile Image for ♛Tash.
223 reviews211 followers
November 6, 2015

I haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

I have watched several movie versions of it though, and I have to say that I am not a fan of Alice in Wonderland in general. It has always come off to me as the bad side of trippy, so needless to say I was wary of this Alice in Wonderland retelling.

“That was the trouble with not being right in the head. You couldn’t always tell if your eyes were telling the truth.”

Our Alice is in this story is not a pre-teen, but a woman in her late twenties who has been institutionalized for the better part of the decade. She doesn’t remember why she was institutionalized. She only gets fleeting memories of a tea party, a man with rabbit ears, bruises on her thighs and blood. Lots of blood. Who knew a tea party could be so scary?

Yes, I should I just put it out there as a TRIGGER WARNING, sexual violence abound in this book so if you’re squeamish, approach with caution or avoid completely.

Alice’s solace is her friend Hatcher whom she talks to through a mouse-hole in between their cells, and whose memories are riddled with holes just like Alice’s. Then one night, a fire in the asylum gives Alice and Hatcher a chance to escape, but it also sets something else free. The fire also frees the Jabberwock, an ancient evil bent on destruction. Together, Alice and Hatcher, need to find a way to destroy the Jabberwock, so they are compelled to seek out the cunning and brutal godfathers – Cheshire, Caterpillar, Walrus and Mr. Carpenter – of the Old City. Their quest to end the Jabberwock also puts Alice’s and Hatcher’s dark pasts into painful focus.

Thankfully, my aforementioned wariness was for nothing since I ended up immensely enjoying Alice. Sure, I felt icky while reading it, but that’s because the world-building in Alice is so atmospheric I felt the griminess of the streets and the dank filth of the warrens. Shudders. The Old City is the Wonderland, where Alice falls through the rabbit hole.This is certainly has one of the most imaginative deconstruction of a famed fairytale setting. The author put in all the familiar elements of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and gave them dark twists that perfectly suits every turn of this retelling.

The characters were superbly written as well, Alice is nothing like the Alice we all know. Alice started out as a seemingly fragile character, an inmate who has all but given up, but as the book moves along she develops into a tough-as-nails heroine I can totally get behind. She’s scarred and broken, but she doesn’t want to be fixed, she howls for vengeance. Hatcher is also a terrific character. He’s manic and unflinching, and completely mad with moments of lucidity.

“Can you feel him, Hatch? I can,” she said.
“Like a great bird that fills up the sky with its wings.”

Story-wise, this bears little resemblance with the original, but the plot, the foreshadowing and the build-up were remarkably carried-out and, thankfully, none too excessive with the weirdness. Don’t you just hate it when weird shit happen just for weirdness’ sake? There’s none of that here, all elements, even the prodigious gore and violence, serve a purpose more than just to shock or disgust. Gritty, dark, fast-paced and violent, Alice is a highly recommended read for fans of horror and fantasy.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
591 reviews3,541 followers
March 4, 2017
3.75 stars

"Do not go seeking the Rabbit, else you wish for more death and madness."

Are you ready for the darkest, most fucked up retelling of Alice in Wonderland yet?

Like The Child Thief, Alice has all the elements of the original classic, but dusts off the powdered sugar and lets you see the darkness underneath.

Madness isn't whimsical—it's horrifying.

Years ago, Alice (the character) went down the rabbit hole and came back mad. Blood slicked her thighs as a result of rape. She resides in an asylum at the beginning of the novel until a sudden fire lets her escape. Her friend Hatcher, who lived in the room next to hers, tells her a monster called the Jabberwocky escaped too and they have to hunt it down. To do that, they have to confront Alice's forgotten past and her rapist—the Rabbit.

I feel obligated to mention that rape is a key theme within the narrative. Aside from Alice, the villains rape and torture lots of other girls.

“The wings were not attached to her shoulders by straps. The girl’s back had been cut from the top of her shoulder to the bottom of her rib cage on both sides of her spine. The beautiful butterfly wings were neatly sewn into the exposed muscle. As the girl flexed her shoulders, the wings would beat.”

I've spent some time thinking whether its use is gratuitous or necessary, but can't come to a good decision. But I do like that Alice doesn't judge the other girls. For instance, a mermaid was imprisoned and raped for years at the Caterpillar's. After Alice sets her free, the mermaid is shown to have a proud, rather unpleasant personality and resents Alice for taking away her right to kill her captor. It would be so easy to paint the mermaid as an ungrateful bitch, but it doesn't happen. Alice acknowledges they'll never be friends and they go their separate ways. The inclusion of hateful women without turning it into girl-hate is a rare gem in fiction, and I'm really glad Christina Henry went down that path.

And while there's romance, it doesn't overwhelm the plot. It's not portrayed as a miracle cure either. Alice's trauma isn't magically cured nor is Hatcher's.

The world-building is admittedly sparse. It's not bad, just lacking in detail. But it's to be forgiven given Alice and Hatcher's mental states and that they're running for their lives pretty much the entire book.

I sort of want Alice the book to be longer, yet also stay the way it is. If it were longer, the world and characters could have been fleshed out a bit more. But its current length works well in terms of pacing. We know enough about the characters to be invested and really, that's all a good story needs.

The ending was a little... simple? I don't know how to explain it. I just expected more in a way. But it fits overall.

Still, those problems are tiny things. The book in general is lovely. Well, not lovely. It's dark. Grotesque. Fucked up.

And a damn good retelling.

Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
979 reviews499 followers
October 6, 2019
I enjoyed this; I’m interested to see how Hatcher and Alice’s relationship plays out in the second book.

The horror was not as much as you would think for this book but it definitely had gothic elements.

But it was the most imaginative Alice in wonderland retelling I have ever read. Alice and Hatcher meet in an Asylum, with the Jabberwocky trapped with them. Each classic character comes into play in different ways - it’s a very interesting and modern take and one I really enjoyed.

It was a creepy theme throughout and it was definitely mind bending, the Hatcher was amazing - and Alice did grow up at the end. Excited to read the finale in the duology.
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews720 followers
June 2, 2017
"Alice, what are you doing?"
"Following the white rabbit, of course."

Well well well what a wonderful surprise this was. Might review it in future sometimes.
Profile Image for Auntie Terror.
417 reviews102 followers
April 23, 2020
4.4 stars. How could you not love a broken heroine who, on the brink of desperation with the horrors of her past and present, goes "nah - crying won't help" - and then gets on with tormenting and killing bad guys instead? [Prtf]
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,219 reviews2,049 followers
April 25, 2017
I would probably have never read this but it was suggested for a Challenge ( thanks Teneal) and I have to say I liked it!
It is quite a remarkable book actually and Alice in Wonderland will never look the same again. In this rewrite Alice has been placed in an insane asylum due to her belief that she went down a rabbit hole and met a talking rabbit. From there we descend into what is really a horror story as Alice meets again the Rabbit, the Walrus, Cheshire and others only in quite different forms from the original. There is a lot of blood, violence and rape so it is definitely not a fairy story.
I enjoyed this reinterpretation and intend to read the next book as well:)
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,848 reviews360 followers
April 12, 2019
I wavered in my rating. I think the author completely missed her niche with this. The book is full of gore. Violence and bloodshed , cannibalism-it’s all there. But what is introduced and barely touched upon is the sex. We are told the various male offenders (the Walrus, the Rabbit, etc) kidnap and rape young women, often entrapping them and maiming them. But NONE of that is described. Why? The fighting and killing is detailed. This series could have pushed an erotic envelope.
As it is it reaches a YA audience who may have an Alice fetish. So what? Don’t get me wrong the “many years later” is always an interesting premise and being stuck in a looney bin while underworld bosses wreak havoc in the Old City having assaulted the eponymous character when she was a child is almost daring. I’ve added book two of the series to my Audible wish list to see where this goes.
Profile Image for Elena Salvatore.
220 reviews111 followers
July 4, 2018
“If you go chasing your freedom your fate will only follow you there and force you back.”

Alice doesn't remember how she got here or what sent her here, all she knows is that she's a patient in an insane asylum and the voice of the person next to her room.
Even when he tells her crazy things, she doesn't have any choice but to listen to him. He's the only person that talks to her and she isn't even sure that he's a person.
That is until the asylum is up in flames and with the help from him she flees from it.
But he keeps talking about a Jabberwock and the need to kill him. He also knows where to go and what to do even if he doesn't has any recollection of how he knows.

In the journey they're taking to kill the Jabberwock, Alice starts remembering thing too. She remembers a man with white gloves that chased her.
She soon realizes that her visions are memories and that there is a reason she is the one to kill the Jabberock, while she takes a dangerous journey to her past.

I was promised a creepy Alice retelling and I kinda feel cheated.
Don't get me wrong, the story is bizare and there are some parts that are just sick and twisted but it still wasn't the "horror" story that I was anticipating.

To be fair, I should start off saying that I was in a reading slump while powering through this book so this could a big factor that I didn't like it.

The story did have some creepy aspects and I would want to be caught dead in the World this takes place but it's written purposely to shock you more than anything else.
It is monstrous and disgusting and it did end up freaking me out because of it, but that's were the creepiness ends.

But be warned, this book does contains explicit writing that contains abuse, rape, humanoid creatures that eat people, killing and other things.

I honestly didn't care at all about the characters. All I wanted to see was the White Rabbit and what happened between him and Alice but the ending was one of the most anticlimatic endings I've ever read.
We go through the book having the main villain be the White Rabbit
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews503 followers
February 25, 2016
"Alice! What are you doing?"
"Following the white rabbit, of course."


Instead, we'll just have to settle for 4 stars.

How exceptionally creepy this story was! It's been a really long time since I last read a horror novel and I hadn't realize how much I missed it until I picked up Alice. You're led by the hand, thinking you're going to encounter a fairytale and instead wake up in a nightmare.

Christina Henry got really creative with this retelling. I had always been a fan of the original, have reading the book and watched the movies, and there was something about this "fairytale" that always fascinated me. This twisted retelling had me thinking back to the Grimm tales and other storytellers who's story had been edited in order to fit the fairytale mold. Mulan, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty . . . its original tale is much more dark and much more fascinating (I promise I'm not a weirdo).

Alice begins in a mental institution, years after Alice encountered the Rabbit. She has no recollection of her time spent in his presence, save for a few vague details and the nightmares that haunt her. What commences is sordid affair of Jabberwocks, bloody axes, white rabbits, and enough graphic detail to leave you chilled. Part of the fun was trying to piece together her memory and figure out what happened to her all those years ago and why it's relevant present day.
When they found her all she would say was, "The Rabbit. The Rabbit. The Rabbit." Over and over.
When she acted like that they said she was mad. Alice knew she wasn't mad. Maybe.

I don't want to give too much away, having felt that going in blind really contributed to the reading experience, but it was really interesting to see how the author tied in the original content with her own interpretation. Why I am a big fan of retellings (done right) is because of the author's ability to weave a unique story while keeping the essence of the original story.


Trigger warning:
The main reason this didn't bother me, as many others have stated in their review, is because these actions, especially the were never condoned but the character or the author.

Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,171 reviews615 followers
March 18, 2020
Not Alice in Wonderland as we know it, but a very dark retelling of that favourite tale. Alice has followed her friend Dor down the rabbit hole into the lawless Old City where violence and misogyny rule. After attending a strange tea party she is raped by a man she calls the Rabbit, whose eye she stabs in her escape. Found babbling and bleeding she is locked away in an insane asylum until she escapes in a fire with her neighbouring inmate, the axe wielding Hatcher. Together they go in search of the Rabbit, meeting some memorably horrible creatures on the way.

Definitely not a tale for the faint-hearted, with plenty of blood and gore, rape and even cannibalism. All the men are depicted as rapists and women are far from safe so this rabbit hole is a pretty horrendous nightmarish place. However, despite all that I enjoyed it very much perhaps because Alice is a very resourceful woman who is kind and compassionate and this is also very imaginative tale with a touch of magic, a good infusion of humour and even a little of romance.
Profile Image for Crystal.
129 reviews27 followers
March 30, 2018
Alice as retold that she had returned from her trip to wonderland with stories that were taken as nonsensical babbling by her family who; being well-To-do, decided to just lock her away.
Ten years later a fire starts at the asylum, leading Alice to escape and journey to the ‘old world’ which is heavily shadowed by four sex slavery king pins with distasteful and unforgivable fetishes

I turned on spoilers

Here’s some space just in case

I might have done it wrong


Although I thoroughly enjoyed following the adventures of Alice and Hatcher, it seemed that as the beginning was stretched and slower than necessary, the ending seemed rushed and wasn’t overall satisfying. The last two villains were absolute jokes and Alice’s easy victory very underwhelming.

So if Alice’s mom seemingly knows of this world, she caught her using magic and told her stories as a child, then why did she not believe her when she came back? Why have her committed?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stefie vom Buchschnack.
59 reviews114 followers
August 17, 2022
Ich habe nicht erwartet, dass es so brutal zugeht in dem Buch. Jetzt verstehe ich auch die Aussage von meinem Buchhändler des Vertrauens, dass auf dieses Buch eine Triggerwarnung gehört.
Die gibt's nicht - darum einmal von mir:
Wer von sexueller und sexualisierter Gewalt getriggert wird, sollte einen Bogen um dieses Buch machen.
Würde ich halbe Sterne vergeben, bekäme das buch 3,5 Sterne. Ich finde die männlichen Charaktere etwas überzeichnet, was deren Weltbild angeht. 98% der männlichen Charaktere sind nicht nur brutal, sondern komplett gestört. Man könnte meinen, die Autorin hätte sehr schlechte Erfahrungen mit dem männlichen Geschlecht gemacht.
Da die Geschichte von Alice aber auch im Original ziemlich durchgeknallt ist, hat die Autorin das für meinen Geschmack wunderbar aufgegriffen. Auch die adaptierten Charaktere hat sie geschickt und kreativ aus dem Original übernommen.
Mir hat das Buch trotz der Überzeichnungen gut gefallen, darum bekommt es von mir 4 Sterne.
Ich höre mir jetzt den zweiten Teil an, mal schauen, ob er mithalten kann.
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
839 reviews377 followers
May 2, 2017
I feel the night crawling up all around, blotting out the moon. I feel blood running down the walls, rivers of it in the streets below. And I feel his teeth closing around me.

All the best people are crazy

Y'all, this is the story that Alice in Wonderland always wanted to be. It was bloody, strange, violent, engrossing, and just overall fabulous in its inescapable trippy weirdness. It's a twisty soft pretzel, salty and deliciously satisfying. It'll fill you up.

To help out with my review today, we have the music of the lovely and talented Melanie Martinez. Her song Mad Hatter is every bit as twisted and fucked up as Alice and fits with the story as if they were grown in the womb together. Give it a listen! It's basically Alice in song form. (The whole album is so amazing I can't even believe it's real sometimes.)

Alright! Here we go!

I'm nuts, baby, I'm mad,
The craziest friend that you've ever had

Alice has spent the last 10 years of her life in a mental hospital. Is she mad? Maybe. She's haunted by blurred memories of her rape, memories of plunging a knife into an eye, and The Rabbit. When a fire gives her a chance to escape with Hatcher, a patient given his moniker due to the violent murders he committed with a hatchet, Alice is thrown back into a world that is is teeming with mayhem and horror.

You think I'm psycho, you think I'm gone
Tell the psychiatrist something is wrong

Alice as a character is everything I could have ever wanted. She follows her gut instincts, but stops to consider when her emotions might be clouding her judgement. She trusts Hatcher, but realizes that just because he won't harm her, doesn't mean he won't chop up others. She also has to face her own violent streak. Self defense is one thing, but Alice want more that that. She wants blood.

The knife was in her hand and she cut a necklace across his throat, felt the muscle give under the blade. [His] blood spurted into her face as he fell to his knees, clutching at his neck, his mouth moving helplessly...She ought to be worried, she supposed, that it was so easy to do.

Over the bend, entirely bonkers
You like me best when I'm off my rocker

The relationship between Alice and Hatcher was WONDERFUL! They survive together, and the relationship that is forged from their survival is something lovely to behold.

Hatcher smiled at her, and she smiled back. It was nice, Alice mused, to remember that there was a purpose to living besides madness and death.

In such a dark story filled with madness, mutilation, and murder, it's so nice that Alice still sees the sliver lining of things. She isn't blind to the horrors of the Old City, she just chooses to hope that they aren't the only things for them. There's life beyond this brutality, and Alice will fight to see it.

Tell you a secret, I'm not alarmed
So what if I'm crazy? The best people are

In a story filled with insanity, magic, monsters, and all kinds of dark and weird things, Alice manages to have characters that shine through. It embraces the weirdness, folds it into the plot like butter into dough. It begs the characters to get weird, get bloody. Get crazy.

All the best people are crazy

Next time someone mentions Alice in Wonderland, I won't think of the Lewis Carroll novel or the Disney movie. I'll think of this Alice, bloody knife in hand, Hatcher by her side. This is Alice at her full potential. This is the Alice story for me.

*edited like 500 times because my spelling isn't worth a nickel
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