alice in wonderland

Book Review: Ensnared

Ensnared

Ensnared by A.G. Howard (Splintered #3) – Paperback, 416 pages – Published January 13th 2015 by Amulet books

I read the first novel of the Splintered series and immediately fell in love with it – purchasing the entire series as paperbacks. This is book #3 in the series by A.G. Howard.

If you haven’t read the first two novels then I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But I will say what I can about the plot and character development (of which there is plenty).

Alyssa takes us on another crazy journey, from the human realm through AnyElsewhere and, of course, Wonderland. Again, she finds herself stuck between her two halves – and between her two loves.

Along with her parents, Morpheus and Jeb, Alyssa must banish Red’s spirit forever, return Wonderland to its former glory, and find a way to balance the two halves of her heart. But the travel to this magical realm has changed Jeb, and he’s found something he’s not willing to leave behind anymore.

There’s a lot of madness and magic in this, which is my favourite part. The pure craziness and mystery of Carroll’s Wonderland is captured beautifully by Howard. There are weird and terrifying creatures – my favourite being the strange butterflies native to AnyElsewhere, even if they do endanger the life of one of our beloved characters – as well as beautiful landscapes and clever backstories. The whole origin of Carroll’s story is put into question, Alyssa slowly uncovering how he discovered the magical land all those years ago.

The main part of this is about Alyssa trying to placate the two halves of her heart. After her previous run-in with Queen Red, there’s something strange going on inside her heart – something that hurts when her human side and netherling side are fighting. What’s wrong with her? How can she live like this?

And Morpheus and Jeb still aren’t the best of friends, either. They’re almost constantly competing for her affections – despite being stuck alone together for who knows how long. I’m always routeing for Morpheus, even if he is a bit of a troublemaker.

The ending is quite a nice compromise, a clever and clean way to stitch everything together. And the epilogue is really good, in my opinion. I won’t tell you what happens. But it’s short and brief, leaving so many questions and opportunities at the end that makes me reeeally want to read the companion book.

It is sometimes a little too perfect, if you know what I mean, but it’s not sickeningly good or sweet. I think the solutions they conjure are really creative and clever, and when they’re in trouble I’m always wondering what they’ll come up with this time.

As for development, Jeb and Morpheus have a clear “epiphany” sort of moment toward the end. But I found that Alyssa also developed a lot, slowly – little realisations that shape her being over time, shape her as a queen.

I do love a good Wonderland story. This isn’t, in my personal opinion, quite as the first novels, but I still really enjoyed it. 4 stars for Ensnared.

Check this book out on Amazon here.

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Book Review: The Complete Alice

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The Complete Alice (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass / What Alice Found There) by Lewis Carroll – Hardback, 466 pages – Published July 4th 2015 by Macmillan Children’s Books

Alice in Wonderland has got to be my favourite story. I just love everything about it! Hence why I got this book for Christmas; it’s a really gorgeous book.

I don’t think I need to go into much detail regarding the story; everyone knows Alice in Wonderland! What I will say is that the extra bits are lovely; there are letters from Carroll himself, details about how the story was written and printed, and other notes.

As for the illustrations… I love them! The original Tenniel illustrations are all in full colour, displayed wonderfully throughout the book. It just all looks so gorgeous!

So as I said, I won’t want to go into too much detail. The story is obviously fantastic, and it’s nice to see it all together – even with the “deleted scene” from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. The poems and songs and riddles… Fantastic!

Everything about this book is lovely. The cover, the layout, the red shine around the edge of the pages. Love it! A huge favourite of mine. 5 stars for definite.

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Book Review: Alice Takes Back Wonderland

Professional Reader

Usually, I read ebooks in the order my request to review them is accepted. However, I had to make an exception for this as it’s based on Alice in Wonderland – my favourite story. I was given the chance to review this book by NetGalley, who provided me with a free copy in return for my review.

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Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons – eBook (Galley), 270 pages – Published September 28th 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press

This is a great, original book. It combines dozens of fairytales in one story, each tale and character with their own little twist.

17-year-old Alice from Missouri is on medication for ADHD and schizophrenia, which she was diagnosed with after an alleged visit to Wonderland ten years ago. She’s spent all this time trying to accept that Wonderland isn’t real – until the White Rabbit turns up at her house and pushes her back down the rabbit hole.

With the help of the Mat Hatter, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and many others, Alice has to defeat the Ace of Spades, who is removing the Wonder from Wonderland, and trying to turn it into the human world. Alice travels between Wonderland, Neverland and even the Grimm Kingdom, gaining allies and developing a plan. Along her way, Alice rescues Tinkerbelle from Hook (or Captain Gepetto, the father of Pinocchio who’s been mistaken for the crock’odial for quite some time), brings down the Gingerbread Man (a villain in Grimm), reunites Queen Cinderella Charming with her daughter Snow White, and even falls in love with Peter Pan.

Basically, this is a cross of all my favourite stories. I’m now in love with the idea of Alice and Peter Pan being an item, with each of them being one of my uttermost favourite characters. The idea is that echoes of Wonderland, Neverland, Grimm etc reach the human world through the rabbit hole, inspiring the stories we grow up loving. But as they are only echoes, many details aren’t quite right.

There’s a lot of action in this novel, especially toward the end. Like I said, all the characters are wonderfully unique, and have nice little quirks. Some of the writing is kind of… simple, but still descriptive. It’s also rather repetitive at times, though this is sometimes used to it’s advantage – certain quotes are repeated from the original book by Caroll, entwining this modern story with the older novel.

I didn’t find this as easy to read as I would’ve liked, though I did get into it in the end. The plot is great, and the characters too. I’d give this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 if need be.

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