This is an Alice in Wonderland parody about Alyssa Gardner, a descendent of the original Alice Liddell. The females of her family are cursed to hear the words of flowers and insects and eventually go crazy, and Alyssa’s mother, Alison, is an example of that.
To break the curse, Alyssa must descend into Wonderland and fix Alice’s mistakes. But Wonderland isn’t what you think, and there are more secrets and lies buried in this magical world than anyone would expect.
There, Alyssa meets Morpheus (AKA, the wise caterpillar) who knows more than he lets on. He owns a piece of Alyssa, a past she can’t remember, but Jeb, her long time crush, also holds claim to a part of her. Which is more potent? Which part defines the real Alyssa Gardner? And can she trust Morpheus, who very obviously wants more from her than to simply break the curse?
I’m a huge fan of anything Alice in Wonderland related. So when I saw this at the bookstore, I had to have it. Honestly, I’m a fan of any of the parodies of child stories. Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, ect . . . I shall read it!
The first time I read it (and I have read it many times now), I was a little board through the beginning. But once Alyssa descends into Wonderland and meets Morpheus, I couldn’t put it down.
The writing style is to die for. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such spectacular and distinctive writing. If I could write like A. G. Howard, I would die happy.
Let me give you an example:
“His palm rests on the knob so I can’t try to shut him out again. Rain droplets glisten along his sleek hair, which no doubt took gallons of glaze and hours to perfect. It’s the one part of his appearance Taelor will actually approve of. As for me, I favor the messy look – hair out of sorts, body slicked in sweat with motor oil or watercolours splashed across his olive skin. That’s the Jeb I grew up with. The one I could count on. The one I’ve lost.”
I know, right?
There are other, better quotes from this book, but I don’t want to give anything away.
All I have to say is, if I had to choose an author to re-design the famous Alice in Wonderland story, I’m sure glad it was done by A. G. Howard. There’s no one better for the job.
Let’s talk about Morpheus, the wise caterpillar. He’s freaky, yet desirable. His story is a tragic one, one that I’m not sure is excusable for some of the things he does.
“‘I hate you,’ I say, the sentiment muffled against his heart, hoping to make it true.
‘And I love you,’ he answers without hesitation, voice resolved and raw as he holds me tighter so I can’t break away and react. ‘A crossroads, my beautiful princess, that was unavoidable—given our situations.’”
You just enjoy taking my heart, twisting it, and putting it back in my chest and saying, “All better,” don’t you?
There has never been a character like Morpheus and there never will. I much prefer him over Jeb. There were times when I wanted to throttle Jeb for Alyssa. There’s being a protective friend/crush and then there’s me going, “She’s not a child! Let her do her thing and stop acting like she’s made of glass. Gosh.”
Now, there were times when I felt betrayed by Morpheus. But not as many.
Alyssa is exactly who I hoped would play the part of Alice re-visiting Wonderland. She’s a little out there, but has that child innocence thing going for her. I mean, that’s who Alice was, right? A poor child fallen into the ancient Wonderland, walking blindly through a world she doesn’t understand. But Alyssa isn’t a distressed maiden. Not by any stretch of the mind.
And all the older fairytales we heard growing up actually have a cruel twist on them. If you went back to your favorite – Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, ect. – you would see that a lot of them are actually . . . kind of scary and messed up.
For instance, Alice drinks and eats random things to change size. She eats a mushroom and has a crazed tea party with a Mad Hatter, a rabbit, and a mouse . . .
Anyone thinking what I’m thinking?
The creatures of Wonderland aren’t the fuzzy and cute type. They’re dangerous, insane, and a little lost. You’ll feel sorry for them, but at the same time know that you would never want to meet them.
Oh, and the ending? I died. DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING.
All in all, one of the best stories I’ve ever read.
Now dying to read the sequel. Get here sooner, gosh darn it!!