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.Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1
Published by HarlequinAUS on September 25th 2012
Genres: Horror, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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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. 🙂
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