Remember how I said I was going to be better at writing book reviews? That starts today! And I’m so excited to be FINALLY writing the full review for my lovely friend J.M. Sullivan’s debut, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. J.M. is my Pen Name Publishing bestie, and a pretty fantastic writer. Y’all should definitely check this book out!
Alice is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland set in a post-apocalyptic future with zombies. Right off that bat, you should be intrigued, because ZOMBIES. We follow Alice as she watches her sister Dinah get sick with the Momerath virus, then as she sets off for the city formerly known as Phoenix in an attempt to get the antidote and save her sister. Of course, there is adventure, some terror (momeraths!), and some budding love interests, perhaps?? And an evil queen of hearts, because there has to be!
3 Things I Loved
- Alice. She never gave up on her sister, even throughout the whole adventure. There were two boys who were obviously wanting to be with her, and she still chose her sister. She was defiant of the queen, she wasn’t afraid of anything, and I just loved her.
- The terror of the momeraths. I don’t like being scared by books, but I’ll admit, some of these scenes freaked me out. J.M. is really good at writing tension into a scene! I was constantly afraid one of Alice’s people would contract the virus. This was so well-done.
- The references to the original Lewis Carroll works. I’m going to admit something horrifying – I’ve never made it through Lewis Carroll’s original stories. I tried reading them once in high school and got bored, but they definitely deserve another look. One of these days, I’ll get to them! However, I’ve seen the Disney movie countless times, and I caught many MANY references to the original stories in J.M.’s retelling. I loved that! Easter eggs like that give me life. In addition, there might be a little secret code hidden in the text. (Read: there is.)
When I first read the book, I was reading it as a friend, not as a critical reviewer, so all I could think were positive things. However, after reading some other reviews and putting my Diverse/Lady Book Project hat back on, I’ll admit that I didn’t love how white and blond everyone was. Dinah, Alice’s adopted sister, is written as having darker skin, but since she gets the virus, she’s absent from most of the story. It’s not going to stop me from reading any sequels or recommending this book, but if readers are specifically looking for diversity, this wouldn’t immediately pop up on my list of recs.
A reminder of the rating system (that I haven’t used in a really long time, because I’m awful; hence, reminder):
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good, but not something I’d reread
- Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
If you’ve gotten to this point in the review, you know I’m biased. J.M. is my friend, and I really enjoyed this book. I never hopped on the zombie-loving train (I’ve never seen a single episode of The Walking Dead), so this wouldn’t be a book I’d read if it wasn’t for knowing J.M. With those things in mind, I still really loved it. I’m going to give this book a BLUE rating. I’ll definitely be recommending this to anyone who loves YA adventure, light horror, zombies, and retellings!
This advanced reader copy was provided by Pen Name Publishing in exchange for an honest review. For the purposes of full disclosure, my own debut was published by Pen Name Publishing last month, and J.M. Sullivan is my friend. However, these facts do not affect my opinions about the book.
More reviews to come, and there are some great books on the list. Happy reading!