Alice (Chronicles of Alice #1)
By Christina Henry
Ace, 2015. 291 pgs. Fantasy
Alice has been imprisoned in the crumbling asylum of the Old City for more years then she can count. The last time she was free, she was at a tea party with a rabbit, blood, and horrors so unspeakable that her mind shields itself from the memory. Her only friend is Hatcher, her neighboring cell mate to whom she speaks through a mouse hole. He was captured years ago, when he was found with a bloody ax in his hands and bodies at his feet. When fire engulfs the asylum, Alice and Hatcher manage to escape and set out on a mission to discover what happened at the tea party and how to find the Rabbit before he finds them.
This is the first Alice in Wonderland retelling I’ve read, and it didn’t disappoint. It is darker than the source material but just as mad and bizarre – a perfect retelling for adults. Readers should be warned up front that the violence, especially sexual violence, is quite high, and is not for the faint of heart. Sadly, the graphic content was unnecessary and will keep some readers from picking up the book. In spite of this, I fell hard for Alice and Hatcher and the light and beauty of their relationship, which is nuanced and thoughtfully written. I was enthralled by their spine-tingling story and can’t wait to read the next book.