Rating: 5 stars
Series: The Chronicles of Alice #1
I never read Alice in Wonderland. I never particularly liked any of the movies either. For some reason I really wanted to read this, and I’m so glad I did. It was dark, disturbing, and gory. I loved it!
In this story, there is no Wonderland. Alice grew up in the New City where she was safe and protected. One day she went to the Old City where danger lurked around every corner. It was a hellish place particularly for women. The people who ran it were evil. Women were used in the most horrible ways. Things did not work out well for Alice in the Old City.
“Two weeks later came Alice, covered in blood, babbling about tea and a rabbit, wearing a dress that wasn’t hers. Red running down the insides of her legs and blue marks on her thighs where fingers had been.”
Memory loss and emotional trauma landed Alice in a mental institution. A relationship was developed with Hatcher, the guy in the room next to hers. A small hole in the wall made it possible for them to speak to each other. Hatcher had plenty of his own issues. He loved bloodshed and was far more insane than Alice. Despite everything Alice trusted him.
One day the opportunity arose for them to escape. They weren’t free or safe on the outside. There was no one to trust but each other. They were thrust into a world of magic where powerful people did whatever they wanted. Surviving meant being brutal.
I loved Hatcher although I’m not quite sure why. He was disturbed and unstable. Killing made him happy, and he had no qualms about doing it. Normally I wouldn’t ship a sociopath, but his love for Alice was endearing although completely unconventional.
“I won’t let anything happen to you, Alice. I will kill you before I let the Walrus or anyone else take you away from me.”
Sounds weird but that was a touching scene. The place they were in was so screwed up you wouldn’t want to live if you couldn’t be protected. Death was a far better fate than being at the mercy of those in charge.
Alice and Hatcher were different yet similar. They both had the will to live and were brutal when necessary, but Alice was able to empathize with other people in a way Hunter couldn’t. They were a good balance for each other. She grew emotionally and strengthened her abilities greatly by the end of the book.
The amount of bloodshed was astonishing. So much blood and gore. They were covered in blood for half of the book. I don’t remember the last time I read a book where so many people were killed. What was worse than the murders was the torture and rape many women were subjected to. None of it was described in extensive detail, but enough was known to be deeply disturbed by what was happening.
I loved the writing. The descriptions created interesting, creepy visuals in my head. Not everything was wrapped up in this book. Their journey isn’t over yet. I think there will be more in store for emotional and relationship growth with Alice and Hatcher. I can’t wait to read the next one!