I’m having a helluva a time writing this review. I’ve started it three times now. It’s the bane of my existence at this point. I think I’ll blame my lack of getting any other reviews done just on my inability to put into words my feelings on this one book. *sigh*
I love this book.
This was my most anticipated, most wanted book of this year (err, okay, next year). As soon as I read the synopsis, I lusted for it. I turned green with envy every time I saw someone with an actual physical ARC. Yes, I was that blogger. I begged Tami at the Krazy Book Lady, “Pleeeeaaase, don’t let it be too late for me to get on the ARC tour!!!”. It wasn’t, I got on (phew). But, being the gambler I am, I had hedged my bets and ended up with a NetGalley copy, too.
You just know with that kind of hype you’re setting yourself up to come crashing down to reality. The book will inevitably suck dishwater. HELL NO!!! Not in this case! I was entirely blown away by A.G. Howard’s imagination and the story/mystery/world she concocted for our heroine to navigate through. I love the fae/netherlings – the more whacked out the better. And Ms. Howard’s Wonderland certainly did not disappoint!
Story / Tempo
True to the classic Lewis Carroll story, nothing is as it seems from the very beginning of the story. We first meet Alyssa as she’s doing her artwork… bug artwork. She captures bugs, moths, any insect, in a trap that suffocates the insect. She then makes collages out of these bugs. Amazingly, it never really sounded gross to me – it just kind of sounded warped, over the top crazy. But I guess if you could hear bugs and flowers talking, you might want to shut them up every now and then.
And the crazy imagery doesn’t stop there. Even before we hit Wonderland, Ms. Howard has dreamt up some amazing clues for Alyssa so she can find her way to Wonderland to right the wrongs that Alice did so many years ago. There is a ton of foreshadowing, hints, details that come out in the beginning that will be referenced later so you might want to be using that “highlight” feature on your e-reader to keep track of interesting quotes.
Setting / World Building
In Alyssa’s “real” world, there’s a skatepark she goes to that’s built into a cave or dome-like structure and it’s mostly dark and lit up with black lights. The only way you see your board is if you have glow tape on it. What the??? Is there such a place? I never would have imagined such a place. But Ms. Howard did! If it’s not already built, someone needs to go build one!
You can only imagine it gets frightening weirder once Alyssa leaves the real world and enters Wonderland. The creatures that inhabit this world are absolutely amazing! It’s when I re-read passages that I pick up more details about the creatures and their personalities. I think I flew through the first reading just a bit too fast.
The one inhabitant of Wonderland that makes the entire book worth reading is Morpheus. He is such a complex character. From his appearance to his personality, everything about him is dual. UGH, I want to go on and on about him but I can’t. I actually have mixed feelings about him. Sometimes while I was reading, I absolutely hated him. Other times, I truly loved him. Some moments I felt sorry for him (but not too often – the man is not dumb!).
I really wish I could do more justice to this book with my review. I fear I’m going to have to rely on the bevy of other rave reviews out there. I KNOW a lot of people will be reading this. If this isn’t on your radar yet, PUT IT THERE!