Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alice Takes Back Wonderland Review: Alice

Book: Alice Takes Back Wonderland
Author: David D. Hammons
Series: Standalone
POV: 1st person by Alice, past tense
Setting: various fairy tale worlds
Genre: YA fairytale

Source: Netgallery
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Pages: 309
Release: September 28th 2015

After ten years of being told she can't tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she's going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful. 

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows. 

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

An interesting spin on a well-known fairy tale.

This story is about Alice, who ventured into Wonderland and did all the events she's famous for doing. However, after coming out of Wonderland, she can't Wonderland out of her head, and is put on medication for being unable to tell reality from fantasy. Years later, the White Rabbit appears and steals Alice's medicine, causing her to give chase. Their destination? Wonderland itself. Except the Ace of Spades has completely taken over, and is slowly stripping all creatures of their wonder, turning them into logical and unimaginative beings in an attempt to create a world ruled by logic rather than madness.

What I enjoyed was the plot, particularly the interweaving of fairy tale worlds and the double identities many characters had. For example, Captain Hook is also Geppetto, Pinocchio's father. Or the dragon from Sleeping Beauty also happens to be the Jabberworky from the Alice in Wonderland tale, slain only by the vorpal sword. I really liked the double identities, both because it left me constantly guessing at the characters' second identity and because it made the plot completely unpredictable. Just when you think you know what will become of someone, that prediction is thrown out the window with the revelation of a new identity. I found the interweaving of fairy tales very creative, and enjoyed it very much.

As much as I enjoyed the plot, the characters were the downfall of my enjoyment. I disliked many characters, finding the majority of them too silly or unrealistic for my liking. I couldn't comprehend Alice's thought process at all, and the number of times she uses "How is a raven like a writing desk?" in her normal speech was extremely repetitive and irritating. Other characters I tolerated, but I didn't quite find their explanations for their actions and lifestyles very believable or justifiable. I felt like secondary characters needed a bit more character development.

The mixing of modern weapons into fairy tales was very odd, and I couldn't wrap my head around it. Alice has a shotgun, the Lost Boys have machine-guns, and Snow White carries a .45 caliber pistol. There's a lot of gun violence in this book, which I didn't think fit very well with the fairy tale environment. I would have preferred more magic, and less focus on technology.

Overall, as much as I liked the plot and the world, I couldn't relate to Alice, nor did I find the other characters very engaging. I'd give it 2.5 stars, but I'll give it 3 for it's uniqueness.  


  1. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the book, I hate when fairy tale retellings are disappointing :( Great review anyway!

    1. Thanks, Sinead! It's hard sometimes for fairytale retellings to get it right, sadly.

  2. Shame this book wasn't much of a success for you - hopefully the next will be better! I still might give this one a shot because I love retellings but go in without high expectations :) great review!
    Enchanted by YA

    1. Thanks, Anna! This book just didn't work for me. Hopefully you'll enjoy the book more than I did!

  3. Ohhhh another Alice book, I'm extremely interested I absolutely love Alice and any Alice re-tellling *Morpheus* ;)
    I'm sorry you don't enjoy this book and from your review it sounds like there's a lot going on for a book with just over 300 pages? I think I'll struggle to keep up with so many characters, each with their own identify or double in this case and their own little plot an schemes.
    Re-tellings are aways a hit or miss book because we have high hopes, I would especially with Alice and Wonderland or perhaps A. G. Howard has ruined all over books for us with her gothic unique twits on it? *cough Morpheus cough* haha ;)

    Anyway Great Review Erika, sorry you didn't enjoy it perhaps a certain Falling Kindgom's novel would help you feel better? Yes I am shamelessly book pushing on you ahaha sorry!

    Cody @ Literary-ly Obsessed

    1. Haha, the fact that this was an Alice in Wonderland book was what piped my interest in the first place! And yes, it's definitely hard to compare Alice retellings now, especially since A.G. has written her Splintered series with Morpheus in it, he is forever the king of the series (and my heart) ;)
      No need to apologize for shamelessly book pushing! It's much appreciated, since it makes me all the more excited to read it now! :D

  4. I was instantly interested when I saw that this was an Alice retelling. I've actually never read one so I'm curious about this one! That's a shame that the characterisation wasn't strong enough though D: Guns in fairytales also sound really odd, though points for attempting to be original, I think? Anyway, great review, Erika! Hopefully you'll find an Alice retelling that you'll enjoy more soon!

    1. If you're looking for a great Alice in Wonderland retelling, I would highly recommend A. G. Howard's Splintered series! It is utterly amazing, and the characters and plot is very strong :)