Published by Amulet Books on January 1st 2013
Genres: Fairy Tale, YA
Source: Owned Audible Book
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.
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.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I bought this book on sale from Audible, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance. I’ve heard mixed things about it, and Alice in Wonderland has never been my favorite fairy tale. So, I wasn’t expecting to like this book much, but because I’m trying to listen to my older Audible titles, I gave this one a chance (it’s been in my Audible library since May 2014).
And I’m glad I did. Howard is a good writer, and I really loved her take on the Wonderland myth. Plus, Alyssa’s artwork using bugs sounds morbidly cool. I also liked that the weirdness wasn’t too weird that I had to wonder if I’d accidentally dropped acid before reading.
But there were things that didn’t work so well for me: the love triangle. So predictable, so overdone, so annoying. And the character of Taelor (I looked up the spelling, which I’m glad I didn’t know about when listening to the book because my eyes would have rolled so hard) was super annoying and one dimensional (despite Jeb trying to make it sound like she possessed a soul). Yes, I get it, we’re supposed to hate her because she’s a mean girl that Jeb is inexplicably dating. When a supposedly good guy is dating a raging bitch, it takes some points off, no matter how hot he is (which honestly, the labret is a big turn off for me) (just my personal opinion, and now I feel like a grouchy old lady, those damn skater boys and their damn labrets!) (but, seriously, his labret piercing is mentioned a lot).
The plot also dragged a bit in places, and I was ready for the end about two hours before the audio actually ended. However, I really liked the ending, so much that I’m a bit worried to ruin it with the sequels. I was really happy with how things ended, which is a rarity in a trilogy. So, unless Audible has a great sale on the next two books, I think I’m done with this series. I would totally read A.G. Howard in the future though!
This is my second book narrated by Rebecca Gibel- previously I had listened to a cozy mystery, so I must say she did a good job with the YA world. She’s definitely a narrator that I’ll be on the look out for in the future!