- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: 1/1/2013
- Pages: 384
- Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
This cover is gorgeous!! And it's about Alice In Wonderland, one of my favorite stories!! How could I not want this? I loved the unique take on the story and loved the descriptiveness of the writing. Sometimes I got the chills from the creepy images of some of the things in wonderland. I will also never look at dandelions the same way again. You will know what I mean if you have read it. There is of course action, and romance too!!
Alyssa is afraid that she is gong crazy like her mother when she starts hearing plants and insects talk to her. It isn't until a visit to Soul's Asylum that she discovers that perhaps her mother isn't crazy after all. She musters up the courage she needs to try to go find the rabbit hole and break the family curse. She is scared and feels guilty for accidentally bringing her best friend, and the boy she loves, Jeb along with her. I wouldn't say that she is a very strong of particularly smart character, in fact, I think most of the circumstances she gets out of are by luck, or totally calculated by the people in Wonderland. She tends to show her weak side a lot, but still pushes on, and that made me like her. She was also very unselfish when it mattered the most.
Now some people would say there is a love triangle, but I honestly never saw it that way. We have Jeb, Alyssa's best friend who she has liked forever. He is always there for her, but he now has a girlfriend, Taelor. OMG that girl made me want to scream. She is annoying and awful!! Anyways, moving on. Then we have Morpheus, who plays a large roll in the whole scheme of things. I love how his character was integrated into it all, though I didn't like him. I found him to be manipulative and a jerk. He does somewhat redeem himself, but I still don't like him. I never saw him as a love interest for Alyssa because it was clear that she was in love with Jeb. Even when Morpheus tries to use his pursuation on her and even try to turn her and Jeb against each other, it's never anything I was worried about. Yes, she sometimes doubted herself a little, wondering why she felt things toward Morpheus, but it was never that solid love she has for Jeb.
This book was really great. I loved how Alyssa knew what to expect in Wonderland, how she has been inadvertently taught about it her whole life. I admire her courage to want to go do what the other women in her family couldn't. I also loved the twists in the plot that made an already interesting and unique story even more amazing. The Wonderland that we imagine is no where near this deadly and creepy Wonderland that A.G. Howard has created. It's actually more similar to the Alice video came from a long time ago where Alice is in an insane asylum and has only a journal and has to go through a very scary, deadly wonderland. That was one of my favorite games, so I really loved how this reminded me a bit of it. Now I am just going off topic. I thought this was fabulous and I really enjoyed it!