There’s little I love more than a unique, dark twist on a well known fairytale. I was completely enamoured (and wonderfully disturbed) by Christina Henry’s The Chronicles of Alice, and I’m happy to say that the Red Queen carries on with its creepy journey, taking us to new locations and bringing us new details about the characters and their complexity. It didn’t take the direction I thought it would, which isn’t a bad thing. This novel definitely holds up to its predecessor and is a must for anyone willing to take a truly dark tumble the rabbit hole…
The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.
Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.
The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen…
I confess– I’m not entirely familiar with the original Alice In Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, so I don’t know how much fan service went into the books, though I’m assuming quite a bit since Henry obviously wanted to put her own spin on classic figures. *shudders at memories of previous novel* So even though I don’t know how much of the classics went into these new spins, I never felt like I’d left Wonderland. There was a driving force behind Alice and her psychotic companion/lover’s journey, but I felt like things just “happened” to them (things that were planned by the author of course), which is how Wonderland works. You don’t expect to come across three literal giant brothers. It just happens. That’s what made the story strong to me. Henry was able to weave a unique, terrifying plot into events that seemed random to Alice and the reader, capturing interest and bringing us deeper into the madness.
And madness is the key word. More often than not, the events of this story were insane, just as insane as in Alice. And I mean that in the most loving way. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach and it takes a lot to make me cringe. Henry wrote some things that will haunt me for a long time. I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say that if anybody ever calls me “lovely,” I’m going to huddle in a corner and try not to scream. Yeah. It’s like that.
One of the other powerful elements to Red Queen were the characters, mainly Alice herself. As fond as I am of Hatcher, and his crazy bloodlust, the highlights were watching Alice take on challenges on her own and face them with courage and tenacity. She’s a very strong female hero and I was rooting with her for everything she did.
The settings were amazing. Henry created visuals that will wonder and haunt me for a long time, something I usually don’t find myself saying. I loved the way she worded her novel, making it feel like I was reading the outtakes of a lost classic. This is a series that is steadily gaining speed and earning the respect it deserves, and I cannot praise it enough. That said, neither this book or its predecessor are for the faint of heart. I’m really not kidding when I say that I was incredibly uncomfortable with certain elements, and though that’s not an insult to the novel or the author (quite the opposite actually, so kudos there!), it’s definitely something to consider when you pick these books up. And you absolutely should. The Chronicles of Alice is like nothing you’ll ever read, and Red Queen is the thrilling climax I hoped it would be. Trust me– take the red pill, and stay in Wonderland.