Friday, September 23, 2016

Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

Alice with a sawed off shotgun. Just take a minute to soak that in. That is just one of the many details that adds to the awesomeness of this book. A colorful, magical, action-packed adventure not only through Wonderland but through stories of all kinds.

The story begins with Alice returning to Wonderland and finding that all the Wonder is being sucked out of everything. The residents are mere shells of their previous selves and everything whimsical is being tossed into the massive Rabbit Hole (which is pretty much a wormhole connecting our world with those we hear of in stories). The de-Wondering is the fault of Ace of Spades, who is fascinated with the idea of a world that is all order and propriety, and is determined to squash out what remains of Wonderland so as to mimic the real world. Alice, however, has other ideas. She travels far and wide to gather an army to fight against Ace and restore Wonderland to its proper glory, meeting famous characters from stories of all kinds as she does.

This book is just a ton of fun. Alice, in this version, is a really enjoyable character. She's really good at just accepting each miraculous new finds with ease. Whenever she comes across something impossible, she just shrugs and says "good thing I'm crazy or this would be really weird". She's also quick on her feet and ready to fight. There are some times in the book where she takes a life, and it does affect her, but not so much that she's crippled beyond being willing to fight again. She also makes "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" sound as BA as "Go ahead. Make my day." She's just fantastic.

Also, the twists and different takes on all these classic characters is really well done. A clockwork Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are illegal moonshine smugglers, and card soldiers who disguise themselves as famous tricksters such as Rumpelstiltskin and Loki to trick whole kingdoms onto Ace's side. Alice's closest allies are the Lost Boys, lead by a slightly-older-than-normally-portrayed Peter Pan and they actually make a really good team. Everyone is enjoyable and gets just the same amount of development and care.

If I had to nitpick, I would say that I wasn't thrilled with the idea of making Alice from modern day Missouri (which Wonderlanders mistake as being Misery). Apparently, because the Rabbit Hole is a wormhole, details of what goes on in the story world get spread across time and space in ours, which inspires writers from different time eras to bring all these stories together here. Kind of a clever loophole, but kinda feels like a cop-out. Still, it's not really brought up much and doesn't really affect the story, so I guess it's no big deal.

This book has all the things you'd want a fairy tale crossover to have, fights with Jabberwockys, daring escapes from magic kingdoms, villains getting their heads blown off, happy reunions of long lost loved ones, it's just a great time.

Also, Cthulhu.

Not another word out of me. Just read it!

Final Verdict
This book was the most fun I've had since I started doing this. I laughed, I cried, I laughed more and this book has definitely earned its place on the Shelf of Recommendation!

Have you read this book? Do you want to read it now? If you did, what did you think? What's your favorite crossover between classic characters? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Next time: Speaking of Cthulhu....

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