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3.0/5
1 review
Alice by Christina Henry Reviews
#174 in Books

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    3.0/5
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    Recommended? Fugheddaboutit!
    February 28, 2018

    Meh

    Love the idea, but I just found this a little bit of a juvenile read for me. I usually enjoy teen or young adult books as well, despite being firmly in the 'adult' category, but I found myself having to force my way through this one. Fairy story retellings or reimaginings (especially darker ones) are some of my favourite type of story, so I'm not sure why this one didn't grab me.

    It's not that Henry is a bad writer, in fact, I get the feeling that cut free from the strings of needing to do an 'Alice' story she would be infinitely better. The story, characters and visuals suffer from having to hit all of the 'key' Alice in Wonderland points, but manage to do so with a 'twist' to the story that doesn't fit and feels like it comes from an entirely different (and more interesting) idea.

    I wish I'd bothered to read more excerpts before buying, because the dialogue and descriptions did sometimes make me cringe. They are a bit too 'angsty teen', 'tortured' but in a force, eye-rolling way. It might sound a little harsh, but I'm not sure I got much out of this other than a longing for better written retellings of this classic tale. The villains were dispatched too easily, the love story shoehorned and the 'grit' of the thing entirely forced and sensationalist feeling. Only one particularly gory moment (the story of the 'butterfly' evoked sympathy and was genuinely horrifying) really had me wanting to read more, unfortunately, the main characters were not nearly as intriguing, despite having so much backstory left untold. Much of the violence against female characters feels like a really exploitative way to build a world, without putting in enough effort. In short, it feels forced and ultimately unsatisfying, like the 'shock factor' in a Ryan Murphy show.

    Ah well, It's not the worst book I've ever read and more naive, juvenile readers might enjoy it. But therein lies the crux. It's too gritty and violent for particularly young readers, but too 'juvenile' and not deep enough to hook older readers.

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