H J RAMSAY
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA fantasy (Retelling – Alice in Wonderland)
Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I’ve read a few Wonderland retellings but I’ve struggled to find one I’ve really enjoyed. Most go too far down one of two routes: Alice becomes a bold, heroic sword-wielding warrior instead of a slightly silly girl, or everything becomes just far too ‘quirky’ and nonsensical, feeling like the author just crammed random words and images together and called it done.
So with I picked up Ever Alice, I was hopeful but unsure. I was really, really happy with the balance H. J. Ramsay pulled off. It’s slightly less ‘whimsical’ than the original book, but in a way that makes sense for a slightly older Alice (and which I personally prefered).
I really liked that the author chose to split the POVs between Alice and Rosamund, the Queen of Hearts. It made the queen more nuanced. It didn’t try to make her the misunderstood hero but it gave you an insight into her actions and made her more understandable. Ramsay used the other existing characters well, introducing them as slightly different from the original but still recognisable, while adding in a few new characters to round things out.
The story moved quickly and felt fast-paced. Personally, I really liked the dark, open-to-interpretation ending but I have a feeling it won’t be for everyone.