A delightful twist to ‘Alice in Wonderland’
Bookxpert Rating: 3.5/5
A huge thank you to the author HJ Ramsay and the BBNYA team for having me on the tour!
Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure.
When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.
I had read the original Alice in Wonderland when I was very young, but didn’t remember much of the storyline. Ever Alice felt like an old friend that I was meeting after a looong time– with The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, and of course the Queen of Hearts- all reprising their roles.
After Alice’s escape from the asylum she’s been put in for all her talk about Wonderland, things get reallly interesting! The Queen of Hearts is cruel and loves getting people beheaded at the slightest suspicion of treachery. And the only person who could stop her from having her way without trial- the King of Hearts- is dead, because she ordered him beheaded too. But she does still need to be stopped if the queendom is to be saved.
This responsibility is taken on by the Aboveground team, of which The White Rabbit is the leader. They put together a plan to kill the Queen of Hearts involving Alice. It’s very risky, and they could all be killed if the Queen discovers their plans. They get Alice a place as the Queen’s maid as part of the plan, but there are so many plots and all the people around are so double-faced, it’s difficult to know who to trust. Does she succeed, or do all the Aboveground members end up on the chopping block?
I love how the author almost played with my feelings about the Queen of Hearts– first I hated her for her frivolous and rude attitude towards her palace workers, then I started liking her for the way she accepted Alice into her palace, until I realized she only cared about them as long as they praised her. The Queen of Hearts was too conceited and blind with the fear of losing her throne that she didn’t think of anyone or anything else.
I really liked the plot and the setting of the book too. The queendom of Hearts sounded like a very interesting place. From their teas made up of sewage water and pats of butter, to the Queen herself with red hair and scepter. Even though she wasn’t good-natured, she must have looked very beautiful and regal. I like how the author has kept a door for a sequel open too. It would make for a very interesting story too.
One thing I wished for was the King of Hearts to not be dead. I felt the book became very Queen heavy at times, and would have loved to read how the King balanced her out.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this retelling. It was very creative, funny in parts, dark in some, but had the perfect amount of spice to keep me hooked till the end.
PS: I received this book to read and review as part of the 2020 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official and follow this link to enter! (Link to follow). Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering. If you are Book Blogger or reviewer you can apply to be part of 2021 BBNYA panel via this form (Link to follow)
About the Author:
H.J. Ramsay has loved fantasy ever since she was a child. Growing up, she was influenced by movies like Legend, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth as well as books and short stories, such as The Collected Works of Brothers Grimm. She is drawn to fantasy with a darker side to its glittery world and the idea that things are never what they seem. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and teaches writing classes at her local community college. Ever Alice is her first published novel.