Alice in Wonderland as you've never known or imagined it. Not a cozy children's story, but a rather brutal world filled with lots of wonders as well as violence, hate and wars.
Alyss Heart is crown princess of Wonderland, and celebrating her seventh birthday when the Queendom is attacked, her parents killed and she barely manages to escape her evil aunt Redd.
With help of Hatter Madigan Alyss escapes Wonderland and certain death through the Pool of Tears and almost immediately finds herself in Victorian London, alone.
Nobody believes the stories Alyss tells about her own world and her past, and over time and after she's been adopted by Liddell family, Alyss slowly lets go of her memories and her past, emerging herself into her new life.
She did tell her story one final time though, to a man who based a children's book on it and called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. And it's through the book and it's author that Hatter finds Alyss again, and Alyss can be returned to her own world.
Wonderland is in turmoil though, suffering under Redd's tirany and visciousness. And with Alyss only barely able to remember her early life her, and not in touch with her powers anymore, does she have any chance of defeating evil and taking her rightful place as queen of Wonderland?
This was a wonderful story, a magical and grown up version of Wonderland. All the magic is still there, but the cuddliness has gone.
I enjoyed getting caught up in Alyss' struggle both in Victorian England, where she's forced to deny her real self, and back in Wonderland, where she has to rediscover who and what she really is. The story is fast and eventfull and kept me turning the pages. However, I did feel the story was a bit more superficial than it needed to be. I would have loved more insight into thoughts, emotions and feelings. I never really felt I got to know the characters well. At times it felt as if the characters were little more than an afterthought. Necessary to progress the story, but not allowed to take up too much of its content.
Which is why I mark this book a 4-. I'm intrigued enough to read the second book in the series soon, but can't help hoping that the sequel will allow me to get to know the characters and their inner lives better.