Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: After Alice

After AliceAuthor: Gregory Maguire
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow

From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis's Carroll's beloved classic

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860's Oxford react to Alice's disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll's enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice's mentioned briefly in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself. 

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

“The Queen has become quite raveled over the theft of her tarts,” insisted the Knight. “And you know what that means.”

“And what’s a Jabberwock, you ask?
To answer is a gruesome task.
It is not ape though ape it may.
To be a bee it cannot be.
‘Not carp?’ you carp; ‘Not carp’ I say.
Nor dog, though dogged, I decree.
It is not eve – how you amuse!-
Nor fish, although you fish for clues -“

“To whom much is given, much is expected of those to whom much is given,” replied the White Queen uncertainly. “I expect.”
Gregory Maguire wowed fans and readers with his reimagining of Oz, and now he takes those same readers on a journey to Alice’s Wonderland that will leave readers stunned and ready for more. Maguire tells the story from the point of view of Ada, Alice’s dearest and closest friend. Ada goes on a journey in search of Alice, who has been gone for quite some time now. Just like Alice before her, Ada finds the same portal that transported Alice to the whimsical and magical Wonderland. I was blown away with how much I enjoyed this book. Alice in Wonderland is one of my absolute favorites and I often find myself being overly critical of these types of retellings. Ada’s point of view was so unique and different and I greatly appreciated the change. Maguire does a wonderful job of making readers feel like they have entered Wonderland, but definitely through a new set of eyes.

The story was clever and the characters, both in the ordinary world and in Wonderland, were quirky and fanciful. I enjoyed the dialogue that took place between Ada and many of these characters, and I love how Maguire brought in some characters from Lewis Carroll’s book that often get left out in other retellings. This was an exciting new twist for me and really made me appreciate Maguire’s work all the more. I know you all are dying to know: do we get to see some of our most favorite, beloved characters? I am happy to report that yes, we see the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, and even the March Hare, plus so many more. Please do yourself a favor and go out and get lost in Wonderland today!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at William Morrow in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. Aw this one sounds really good! I'm glad to see that some of old readers' favorite made an appearance as well some of the forgotten ones. Great review, Chelsey!

    Jenn at Book and Swoons