Hey everyone! You may have noticed I’ve not posted a lot of book reviews this month. That’s because I have been in the worst reading slump of my LIFE. It was so hard to pick up a book, even though I desperately wanted to be reading. But I think I’m finally dragging myself out of it and bringing you a review today!
In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside. In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood… Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago. Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.
This is the third book I’ve read by Christina Henry and, as I’ve come to expect, I really enjoyed it. I love Henry’s writing style, there is just something very easy about it. Her words flow nicely and sweep you up into the story.
That said, with this being an earlier work, I can see how Henry has honed her craft in recent years. There were elements of this one that irritated me slightly, like the infamous line “she exhaled a breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding”! There were also moments when I felt a little confused and didn’t know if I was reading about people or magical creatures (though perhaps this was the author’s intention, to never have things fully explained?)
I found the plot to be compelling from the very start, though there were times as the book progressed that it felt a little aimless. There was a lot of walking and fighting, followed by more walking and fighting – the protagonist herself even comments on this at one point so at least Henry was aware of it, I suppose. After the meandering plot, the ending felt quite abrupt and anticlimactic, and I’m still not sure whether I’m happy with it or not. I guess you’ll have to read it for yourselves and make up your own mind 😉
I feel like this review is coming across as quite negative but I did genuinely enjoy the book. Considering I’m not a huge fan of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Henry did a great job keeping me interested in the source material. I particularly liked the story of the Jabberwocky’s origin.
This book is extremely dark, even more so than Lost Boy, Henry’s Peter Pan retelling, so it won’t be for everyone. But since Henry’s fairytale reimaginings are now auto-buys for me, I’m glad to have read this one.
Have you read any of Christina Henry’s books? Which fairytale would you like to see reimagined next? Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading x