Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter + Giveaway

25 August, 2012 Giveaways, Reviews 68 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter + GiveawayAlice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1
Published by HarlequinAUS on September 25th 2012
Pages: 404
Genres: Horror, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave.


Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

Whether or not you enjoy this book depends on what you were expecting to begin with.  No Really.  Look at that cover, reread the synopsis and decide right now what you’re hoping from this book. Is it:

a) A dark, twisted retelling of Alice in Wonderland with zombie creatures?

b) A high school melodrama about ghost/zombies with no real Alice in Wonderland connection.

If you thought B then good for you. Read this book.  If you thought A then back the hell off now.  This is not the book for you and you will likely be disappointed.

I thought A.  From the title and the vague synopsis I believed that this would be an Alice going into zombieland and dealing with a dark, unsettling, gory version of Wonderland with many of the themes and symbolism from the original story modernized and reimagined in this book.  I thought this was going to be a book version of American McGee’s Alice.

Now, just to make it clear.  It’s not a book or author’s fault if that book was not what the reader imagined.  But I do think the title and synopsis is misleading considering a number of people, myself included are probably a little confused about what this actually is.  The synopsis is vague, mentioning only revenge and monsters and a bad boy.

So let’s clear this up.  This is what Alice in Zombieland is:

Alice’s entire family die in a car crash.  Her father, who always believed in zombies (they aren’t physical zombies. They’re incorporeal, evil spirits that attack and eat your soul) is eaten.  Alice, orphaned, goes to a new school where students act strangely.  In particular, a student name Cole who is all badass and secretive.  Instalove, love triangles, special girl with special powers later, blah blah blah THAT is the story.

In fact it felt, while reading, that the Alice in Wonderland elements were shooed in at the last minute and didn’t feel as though they were native or even relevant to the story.  Certainly, whilst the author links to a couple of small, inconsequential details like the white rabbit and the Cheshire cat, none of the themes of Alice seemed touched upon or incorporated into the story as a whole.  Which is a shame because the coming of age in a strange and crazy world that everyone thinks is normal theme would have worked so extremely well IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL ABOUT ZOMBIES!

But instead of talking about what I wanted the book to be – what is the actual book like?  Well, just not for me.  Showalter is transitioning from adult paranormal romance to YA and I don’t think it was successful.  She built Cole off the foundation of a romanticized Alpha male – if that’s your thing fine, but I think the effect is lost when the audience is reminded that this is a sixteen year old boy.  Like when they’re at the club and intimidating grown men away from the girls by growling.  Yeah…

Alice is a reasonable character, though not one I had a great deal of interest in.  She simply capitulated too much to Cole’s cavemanish tendencies to keep my interest.  The general cast is alright but it is quite sizable and burdens the plot with a great deal of what felt like unnecessary posturing and conversing over things the audience already knows.

I somewhat expected better from the writing considering this is far from Showalter’s debut novel.  The action scenes did not feel well realized and the final battle was amazingly short and anticlimatic.  There was a focus on the romance.  To be fair, it’s by no means a single-minded focus, simply too much for me considering I had no investment in their relationship to begin with.  Instalove is not a plot device that I like.  I never felt that I championed the relationship between these two characters because it never seemed to me that they had any chemistry to begin with or even liked each other – at all.

My basic advice before buying this book would be to read as many reviews of it as you can by people whose opinion you trust, decide if it is something that’s going to appeal to you and read the sample online before you purchase.

Basically, would it have been too hard to have a story where Alice and the Mad Hatter throw down in a knife fight?  Really, guys?  REALLY?!



We are giving away an ARC of Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. This giveaway is separate from our 6 Month Anniversary Giveaway, which also includes an ARC. So that’s two chances to win. 🙂

Contest Rules:

  • To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
  • We ask that all entrants be at least 13 years or older to enter.
  • The giveaway is open to anyone! US and International! 
  • When the winner is chosen, it will be announced here and the winner will be emailed. Please check your email because we are only giving the winner 48 hours to respond! Otherwise another winner will have to be selected.
  • Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments!
  • Also, please understand that we reserve the right to disqualify any entries we find gaming the system. Cheaters never prosper!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

68 Responses to “Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter + Giveaway”

  1. Danielle Nguyen

    Hmm I was really excited for this book, but now I’m not so sure. I was hoping it would be really dark & twisted, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. I’ll probably still try it though. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • KatKennedy

      @Danielle Nguyen I think if you’re going to attach the Alice in Wonderland thing to something, it should be dark, twisted and delightfully imaginative. This wasn’t.

  2. christinashoe

    I thought B, but hoped I was judging wrong and that blogs would tell me otherwise. Apparently not.

  3. aparajita

    I really want to read this book…*pls let the winner be me*
    thanks for the giveaway
    <a href=’’>Le’ Grande Codex</a>

  4. Karen

    I loved the beginning but then somehow it just turned into a typical insta-love, brooding alpha boy YA. I was very disappointed and I foresee lots of love triangle-y angst in the future for these two.
    I do however think that people who do like that sort of thing will love it. 

  5. Khal_Khaleesi

    Thanks so much for making this international! I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. I, too, though it’d kinda be like American McGee’s Alice, haha. x

  6. Rayne

    Wow, this is really disheartening. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for a long time and I even defended the concept to a friend that thought that zombies+Alice in Wonderland would end up in disaster. Turns out, she was right. I still want to read it, though, and see for myself and form my own impressions, but I trust your reviews and I’m not jumping into it as eagerly as I originally wanted to. Thanks for the great review.

    • KatKennedy

      @Rayne Yeah, read and see for yourself but I don’t know if you’ll enjoy it.

  7. Addie R

    Um yeah, I was definitley expecting A… What a let down. =/ I’ll still be reading this out of curiousity, but at least I’ll be expecting what this story really is.

  8. Isa

    I was hoping for A. I’m not a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland but a kickass heroine fighting off zombies in a crazy, creative world is what I imagined. I’m still curious about the book but it’s disheartening to read your review, you listed some of pet peeves. Thanks for the honest review. 

  9. Joie

    Dang… I was kinda hoping for A but I’m still curious to see what the book’s all about.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Jessi

    I thought A too, how disappointing! I’m afraid I still suffer from major cover lust, though, so hopefully I can win it. I’m certainly not going to pay for it, because it’s not what I thought it was and I despise instaluv and love triangles both. Glad I read this review!

  11. bamayankee

    That’s kind of disappointing! I still want to read it though since I know what to expect now. So, thanks for that : )

    • KatKennedy

      @Laura Hunsaker I think you’ll like it, Laura. I guess I just wish she’d taken her crossover to YA more seriously.

  12. Mary BookSwarm

    Damn. Now I want a story wherein Alice enters Zombieland and kicks some serious ass with the Cheshire Cat and The Mad Hatter at her side. And where the Queen of Hearts is actually the Zombie Queen–ooh, or maybe a necromancer controlling all the zombies. Oh, and the Jabberwocky–who goes snicker-snack–makes an appearance. *sigh*

  13. m0lly_j

    Thanks for this great review!
    This is really helpful.
    I guess this book isn’t quite what I was thinking it was.
    Still might be interesting, I guess I will have to see!

  14. Neyra

    I’m definitely not expecting this to be a retake of Alice in Wonderland. Your review’s great though, insightful. Thanks for the giveaway as well 🙂

  15. MindaInk

    The cover is so beautiful. Well at least going into the book we will know what to expect now. I hate when a book’s summary gives the wrong impression about the content of a book.  

  16. Kara_M

    Oh gosh. NOOOOOOOO. I was hoping you wouldn’t agree with Archer. I’m gonna HATE this book, aren’t I? And I have an ARC of it. Le sigh. Will be reading it soon and probably linking to this review. Thanks, Kat. <3

  17. Aneeqah

    Aww, I was hoping that this one was going to be a dark retelling!! I’m sad that it isn’t what I expected. =( At least now, I’ll know what I’m getting into when I start this one. I’ll be on the lookout for more reviews of this, because I’m now unsure if I should buy this or not. Thanks for the review Kat! <3

  18. jadie

    Zombies plus alice in wonderland. sounds like my read i’ll give it a try.thanks for the giveaway. 

  19. JeepinJaime

    I have never read one of Gena Showalter’s books before. Not because I haven’t been interested, but because I have had no flppin time! But I will absolutely be making time to read Alice in Zombieland. In fact, I may go fangirl without even meaning to and I am so not a fangirling kind of gal. Thanks so much for the chance to win! Cuddlebuggery, you frickin rock!

  20. emiliasherman

    It makes me sad that it isn’t what I thought it was going to be. I really wanted it to be a retelling of Alice but with zombies. That sounds amazing to me! But to have it totally different….maybe they should have considered changing the title, the cover, and well everything that connects it to Alice in Wonderland.

  21. Ashley

    Interesting review! XD  Honestly, I was never that interested in reading this book because I thought it was A.  Now that I know it’s B, I kind of want to read it.  Yay for differences! 😀
    Side note: that cover is seriously badass.
    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  22. neysakristanti

    This book looks interesting 😀
    Looking forward to read this 🙂 And thanks for the chance 🙂

  23. erinf1

    Thanks for the giveaway! I know that you and Archer were “less than impressed”… but I would still like to read the book cuz I do like Gena’s other books…

  24. Lacey T

    I really hoped it would be something more, but I’ll still be reading it. So sad the pretty cover is so misleading!

  25. Georgette

    Normally, I’d be all over the giveaway, but you haven’t led me astray yet with any of your reviews. I have to be honest, I didn’t care for the cover. I was also hoping for A. I LOVE zombies, and I love re-telling of classics with zombies…I would NOT love this book. Thank you for your honesty. 

  26. Ladybritaky

    Thanks for this giveaway. I read mixed reviews for this book but I’m still very curious about it.

  27. TaneikaS

    Oh, how disappointing 🙁 I too thought it was going to be a book version of American McGee’s Alice because it not only would have been fucking awesome but going by the vague synopsis, you’d assume it’d be similar to that.. Dammit, apparently not! Ah well, I still might enjoy it, I just won’t get my hopes up too much 🙂
    Wonderful review!

  28. irbis96

    I was hoping for A too, so I’m starting to have doubts now, but I usually read *high-school-drama-stories*.Who knows, maybe I’ll like it 🙂 Gonna give it a try ^.^

  29. cynicalsapphire

    I’m not sure if this is kosher to say, but I was surprised by how similar our reactions were to this book. My review isn’t posted yet, but I wrote it over the weekend, and we had pretty much identical responses. This is extra hilarious since we usually don’t.
    However, I totally forgot about his growl at the guys who flirted with her. BAHAHA. I did mention them nearly getting it on on the dance floor the first time they kissed irl though.
    I approve of this review. (Like you care).

  30. deasuluna

    Thanks for your honest opinion, I have been wondering about this book for awhile now. I have read both adult and young adult books by Ms. Showalter and have found that she is far better at her adult series that are more in depth. I feel that her YA seem to lack something to their storylines. Most likely I still might pick this up from the library.

  31. BookAddict2

    I actualy would like to read it now that i know what it´s about, LOL, thx for another amazing review

  32. deedeegriffin

    I love Gena Showalter’s books, especially her Alien Huntress series.  I can’t wait to read this one!  Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  33. Janhvi

    I love most of Gena Showalter’s books so I want to know what made this one so bad.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  34. ValerioEm

    I’ve just loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and I absolutely love zombies. So I’d like to read it, and see how is it to me. Thanks for offering the opportunity to win! And this blog is amazing, good work guys!

  35. JJBonds

    I must admit I’m disappointed! I really had high expectations for this book based on the lovely cover and the description. *sigh* Call me option A. I was hoping for dark and twisted! Great review nonetheless. Your honesty is appreciated especially given all the hype about this release. 

  36. MusingsinRed

    How disappointing ! I too thought it would be option “a”. Apparently not! But thanks to your blunt review now I know…thank you! 🙂

  37. BeckieVoigts

    Thank you for this giveaway. I have been so looking forward to reading this book. Gena Showalter is one of my fave authors. I hope I enjoy the book even if you didn’t. 🙁

  38. Karina

    Too bad you didn’t like it. This book is getting mixed reviews and I’m very curious if I’ll like it or not. Thanks for the chance to win the book! 🙂 

  39. _Sandra_

    Thanks for a giveaway and the review! I’ve been hearing so many mixed reviews about this book from friends who’ve read it and now I’m really curious to find out by myself. 🙂

  40. LeeLou

    Thank you for this giveaway! I look forward to reading it. Maybe it will ‘surprise’ me and I’ll fall in love.

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