(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Title: Alice Takes Back Wonderland
Author: David D. Hammons
Length: 283 pages
Publication: September 28th 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press
Note: Curiosity Quills sent me this e-book via Netgalley for free in exchange for my honest review.
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.
‘Alice Takes Back Wonderland’ is written in first person present with main character and narrator being Alice of Wonderland. An older version, though. Now, removed from Wonderland for many years, she has less wonder in her voice. Logic has a firm grip on Alice and even though she’s excited to re-discover her beloved world, she struggles with the possibility and reality of it all. This same logic gives her a well aware voice. She’s aware of who she is, how she feels, and what causes her to do the things she does, giving her an all around strong and well-written voice to tell the story with.
Pacing: This story progresses quickly. It takes place in a matter of a few days and, with something always going on, there’s never a dull moment. The constant action keeps the book moving. What happens in a few days seems to happen in a matter of hours with how fast the book moves, making it a quick read.
World: The world in this book is more of the plural sense. Multiple different worlds make appearances. For that reason, only small chunks of the story take place in each world, practically snatching them away before the reader realizes they’re there. Even so, each one is described in full detail. The precise imagery paints a clear picture into which the reader can simply fall and journey through with Alice.
Writing: The writing itself has a fantastical style about it, adding to the magic of the story. It offers enough detail to fully imagine the world(s).
Non-Spoilered Plot: Alice, conditioned to believe she’s insane and that Wonderland doesn’t exist, fights with herself when she’s swept back to Wonderland by the White Rabbit many years later. However, it’s a much changed place. In fact, it’s lost all of its wonder because someone’s removing it from all the creatures and surroundings. Longing to protect the memory of the place she loved as a child, and the wonder of the creatures that make them who they are, Alice sets off to save Wonderland from this drastic change, but she can’t do it alone. She’ll need an army at her side, and an army she finds.
Character: The main character, and narrator, of the story is Alice of Wonderland, an older version. That being said, her voice is far more mature than it was in the original story, but it still holds the same fantastical wonder and maddening phrases she picked up from her first trip to Wonderland. Though, the logic imbibed from her world has taken a toll on her. Now, she questions Wonderland rather than embraces it and tries to make it disappear as just another fantasy, but it doesn’t.
Plot: Alice is no longer the child she was when she first visited Wonderland. Unfortunately, this has given her world to time squash her memories of Wonderland, passing them off as insanity and putting her on pills to discern for her the difference between reality and fantasy. That is, until the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole and back to Wonderland. Yet, it’s a place much changed.
Ace of Spades has removed wonder from everyone and everything. He wants it to be as plain and controllable as Alice’s world, but he still needs a name for his new world. This is what he requests of Alice and in return he’ll offer her friendship, but Alice refuses. It breaks her heart to see the wonder taken from everyone. It’s making them into something they’re not, a notion that Alice can relate to all too well. As a result, Ace of Spades offers her death.
To save herself and that of Wonderland, Alice shoots off to find an army that’ll help save Wonderland. Yet, she continues to tell herself none of this is real. The impact her world had on her, of mental hospitals and medications, left a lasting impression, one which follows her throughout the book. It worms its way into her brain when Peter Pan illogically flies in Neverland, and when she meets Snow White in the land of Grimm, but her dedication to Wonderland manages to overrule all of her doubts.
Her dedication pushes her through the worst parts. Even when fear cripples her, when her life is in danger, when she’s forced to make tough choices, when she’s forced to kill. Her devotion to Wonderland, and who she is, is what wins her an army. It’s what sways Queen Cinderella Charming to wake the sleeping beauty. It rallies all the worlds together to take back Wonderland from Ace of Spades and restore it with the wonder it once possessed.
Even in the end, with Ace of Spades dead, the war won, Alice stays true to herself. She doesn’t want power. She doesn’t want glory. All she wants is to save those around her, including Peter Pan. Selfishly unable to live without him, she sacrifices any possibility of her life in Wonderland by returning through the rabbit hole with Peter Pan to save him from a gun wound.
It’s for her sacrifice, her selfless dedication, her strong voice, and her ability to remain who she is, combined with the amazing world-building that allows me to leave ‘Alice Takes Back Wonderland’ with five stars.