Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Not gonna lie, I didn’t think I was going to finish this. I’d initially sort of given up at around the 75% stage. I set it aside, read something else, and then y’know what? I wanted to finish it.
It had nothing to do with the story that I put it aside, no. It was more..the writing style? To me it felt quite stiff and fancy, like it wouldn’t flow well enough for me to imagine. I had trouble imagining the scenes sometimes, so I’d have to read it aloud and that got a bit tedious after a while (mostly because I ended up losing my voice! lol) But I pushed through.
The story was great, I loved the idea of a girl named Alice being the inspiration for the original Alice in Wonderland and that after her initial visit, things changed, warped to become something gruesome. Like the flowers looking like zombies and the White Rabbit being all skeleton and “rabid.” And that things aren’t as simple as you think they are. Generations down the line and the secrets get deeper.
The Caterpillar was human-ish and was charming and clever. Complete contrast to the original, which is probably a good thing. Haha. I kind of felt he was a mix of caterpillar and the mad hatter. I know the Hatter was someone different but he wasn’t in it as much so…Yeah.
Now despite all the likes, I have some dislikes. Which is mostly why I only rated it 3/3.5 stars. Jeb. Ew! Jeb! What an arsehole! He might be all “You’re my everything” toward Alyssa but seriously? He was obnoxious, controlling, patronising, and just over all ugh. I’ll admit, I liked him at the beginning. I thought he’d be a decent love interest, but no. His true colours shone bright and skewed to become something hideous. Now, Morpheus. Let’s just say he won me over in the end, but I did have my doubts. Yes he’s manipulative and sly, deceiving and deceptive, but man was he charming. I think he could have charmed the pants of a grasshopper. Maybe he even has. (inside joke.)
In any case, it was a real war between controlling and deception. Which one would win? I don’t know, I kinda wanna read the sequel just because I did like Morpheus. Alyssa wasn’t as much of a flake as she could have been, but she wasn’t exactly warrior princess, either. She stood her ground but she also let Jeb walk all over her and treat her like she was a child, and with zero respect, yet she was all “oh i love him” like seriously girl, where’s your reality check? Anyway, I guess she’s one character I don’t dislike, but I’m not exactly loving her. The banter between Morpheus and Jeb was golden, though.
I liked the whole madness aspect to her mother and how it was all in the ‘genes’. I know people claim it was portrayed wrong, but sometimes fiction is fiction and there’s a certain element of interpretation involved, so y’know…suck it. Never the less, it intrigued me, and it’s just a shame all that didn’t last.
The truths come out in a flurry of angst and flirting and it’s so…fun. I just, have I said how much I love Morpheus? No? Well I do. I mean, yes he was everything I said above but at least he was INTERESTING! The secondary characters were fun but didn’t really stick with me, though Gossamer nearly came close, she wasn’t what we expected.
I wish I could have rated this higher, and maybe I would have if the writing hadn’t kept me from getting sucked in as much as I’d liked. Maybe the sequel will be better? Who knows.
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