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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry

Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2)
by Christina Henry
July 12th 2016 by Ace
Paperback, 291 pages
The author of Alice takes readers back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll...

The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.

Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.

The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen.

The follow up to Henry’s Alice, Red Queen is the continuation of Alice and Hatcher’s perilous adventures in a reimagined Wonderland. Having run from the sordid city, Alice and Hatcher emerge from their tunnel escape only to find fresh horrors and new adversaries. Their quest for discovery is constantly thwarted by danger and malevolent magic. Alice must learn to harness her own magic, Hatcher his bloodlust, if they hope to survive. Ultimately, Alice is on a personal quest to answer the question “Who are you?”

Like Alice, much of Red Queen is simultaneously bleak and fantastic. The horrors are relentless and the suspense constant. “The world gobbles us and chews us and swallows us,” saliently remarks Hatcher, and this idea is persistent throughout the book. Alice is continually swallowed, forcing her to rely on her burgeoning magic and perpetual curiosity. And, for much of the text, Alice is alone. Her solitary journey allows her to find, confront, and embrace her “Alice-ness” as Henry calls it. At one point Alice asks, “Why did every man she encountered want to put her in a box and keep her there?” Red Queen provides a perfect platform for the frightened mouse first encountered in Alice to grow into a being not to be boxed.

Henry has a wonderful way of imagining such gruesome terrors and telling them with a most appropriate Victorian detachment. While this text is a reimagining, it’s modern while maintaining a stylistic authenticity to the original. Rethinking a much loved classic is an intimidating, bold task. Henry gloriously rises to the occasion. As a life-long Alice fanatic, Red Queen and its predecessor receive my enthusiastic approval. For all their curious whimsy, and ultimate modern relevancy, Christina Henry’s Alice books are not to be missed.

Review: Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1)

5 frabjous sheep

Bianca Greenwood

Bianca's newest Alice purchase! Disappearing Cheshire Cat mug for my tea

About the Author:
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS (Ace/Roc) series featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle. She is also the author of the forthcoming dark fantasy ALICE (Ace Trade).

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.