I love retellings!!!! I haven’t read one in a while either so I was so happy to get my hands on this book.
Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.
I haven’t read an Alice in Wonderland retelling in a while and this is Alice when she is a little older so I was curious to see what path the story was going to take. It starts with Alice in an asylum and a somewhat urgent escape to Wonderland and I have to say I was excited about what kind of adventures would be in store for Alice especially when set against quite a troublesome beginning.
Interestingly this book is a dual POV from both Alice and the Queen of Hearts perspective, I really enjoyed getting both. It gave us the chance to see Alice’s indecision about her task and swithering loyalties, and the precarious nature of a life in the Queen of Hearts court, it also gave us a little insight into the Queen, her paranoia and delusions, and obsession with retaining her throne no matter the cost. It was refreshing to get to see what had shaped her character how her position left her open to manipulation in numerous ways.
Of course the one thing most of us love about retellings is seeing our favourite characters come to life again and there are plenty that make an appearance in this book but there are also a lot of new characters that add something new to the story. I haven’t actually read the original book (shock horror) so it is a bit of an assumption that they are not mentioned in it but I liked the inclusion of the different houses Clubs, Spades, Diamonds and that their existence caused continual stress for the Queen.
There is another character who at first seemed like he could be a fun addition, Thomas the Prince of Hearts, I did like Thomas because I knew that he was going to cause a bit of disruption in the house but at the same time it kind of annoyed me how much Alice liked him with little or no reason to. He wasn’t a bad character but she put an awful lot of stock in him for someone she didn’t know a thing about and then it continued even though he proved himself to be a bit of a player.
I was also a tiny bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Wonderland, a lot of this story is set in the Queen of Hearts castle, and whilst the intrigue of the plot against the Queen and the treachery between the people in the castle carried the story forward, I feel like some of the whimsy that I was expecting to find didn’t materialise.
I really liked the end of the book, though I can’t really say why, I liked that it left me with a lot of thoughts, it also brings all the characters back together in a way that means you are questioning everyone’s motives and the tension is wonderful. Ever Alice is an interesting reimagining of the original story it is a little darker and has a lot more suspense as we wait to see whether Alice will go through with the plot or lose her head in the process.
Ever Alice was a finalist in the 2020 BBNYA competition (‘Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award’), BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.
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H.J. Ramsay has loved fantasy ever since she was a child. Growing up, she was influenced by movies like Legend, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth as well as books and short stories, such as The Collected Works of Brothers Grimm.
She is drawn to fantasy with a darker side to its glittery world and the idea that things are never what they seem. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and teaches writing classes at her local community college.
Ever Alice is her first published novel.