Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: Alice Takes Back Wonderland

Alice Takes Back Wonderland 
Author: David D. Hammons 
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press 
Publication Date: 28 September 2015 
Page Count: 283 
Source: requested from 
Audience: Young Adult – Fairy Tale Retelling/Fantasy

Whenever I come across a retelling of a fairy tale, I can’t help but get a little excited. I love reading how an author tweaks it to make it their own. David Hammons didn’t disappoint with his story.

Alice Takes Back Wonderland takes place ten years after Alice’s first visit to Wonderland. She’s now a teenager and has finally almost stopped believing it was real. Then suddenly, the White Rabbit reappears and sends her back, but Wonderland isn’t how she remembers it at all. Everything is plainer, boring almost. The Ace of Spades has taken over and is removing the wonder from all the beloved characters and friends Alice remembers. She sets out on an adventure to get help in taking back Wonderland and defeating Ace. Along the way, she meets and befriends fairy tale characters from other stories: Peter Pan and the lost boys, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Robin Hood, Jack rom Jack and the Beanstalk, and so many more; but they aren’t like the characters she has read about in the stories. Some of the stories are only slightly different, while others are so far from what she knows, she finds it hard to wrap her head around it all. Alice, with all her new friends, goes back to Wonderland to fight in a battle that will change the lives of all the fairy tale characters, not just those in Wonderland.

David Hammons has an incredible imagination and I love the twists that he put into each and every one of the fairy tales we have read and grown up with all our lives. Alice isn’t a girl from 19th century England, but a 21st century girl from America; the seven dwarves all wear suits and different style hats, but have no names; there are automatons and the armies fight with tanks and machine guns, not on horses with swords; and some of the characters are in more than one fairy tale.

I loved the story and all the characters. It was such a fun read, bringing back memories of reading about Alice and Peter Pan and Snow White, but creating such a fantastical new world for them that I almost felt like I was reading about them for the first time all over again. I know some people find it almost a sacrilege to even consider changing these stories, but I find it fascinating. As I said earlier, I love seeing how an author twists them. They are still the characters we love, but just slightly different, an almost adult version of our childhood friends. I will admit to almost having a hard time keeping up with all the characters Alice meets on her journey and how all their stories intersect. All the characters and stories combine seamlessly, though; nothing seems too far-fetched or doesn’t really fit.

I loved the world Hammons created, it was fun seeing how he combined modern day with futuristic and even historical weapons, technology, and transportation.  I think it would be so much fun to visit the different lands in his fairy tale world.

Alice Takes Back Wonderland was a great stand-alone story, but I would love to read continuing adventures of Alice, Peter Pan, and all the other characters of this amazing world.

One Last Thought: I don't know what David Hammons was trying to say with his story, but for me it is a reminder that we need to keep the wonder in our lives.  It's okay to be logical and have reason and sense, but life is so much more wonderful when imagination exists in it.

Favorite Thing About This Book: I love all the familiar characters you meet along Alice’s adventures.

First Sentence: “Did you know that fairy tales are real?” asked the cat.

Favorite Character: Alice

Least Favorite Character: Ace

After ten years of being told she can't tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she's going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real. But all is not well in Wonderland. The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

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