Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 1 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
This is easily one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in a while! The amount of originality in this book just about blew me away. I haven’t read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll but this retelling of it is amazing.
The main character, Alyssa, is really freaking unique (and I swear I don’t mean that in a negative way or in a we-are-all-unique-butterflies way). I would love to meet her in real life.. please, please, can I??? She’s brilliant and artistic and so damn brave. Okay so I might not have loved everything about her – like the fact that she killed bugs to use in her mosaics but then again we all do..weird things. There is so much more to her than meets the eye and I know we’re just going to keep learning about her as the books progress.
I LOVE the love triangle in this book because for once both of the guys are 100% developed. I honestly felt like Alyssa could end up with either of them (and I was kind-of hoping it would be Jeb). Morpheus and Jeb sort-of represent the two sides to Alyssa (Morpheus = Netherling side while Jeb = human side). Morpheus is intense, seductive, creepy and manipulative and even though he’s sort of the villain, he’s also pretty amazing. He’s constantly surprised me and I loved that about him. Jeb is the childhood friend and at times he’s a bit annoying because he keeps acting like her older brother…while being an love interest. He’s really protective and that was the main difference between him and Morpheus. Morpheus pushes Alyssa into all kinds of crazy situations while trusting that she can handle herself. Jeb, on the other hand, keeps trying to take care of her. But I still ended up rooting for him because he’s actually a really sweet guy who is ready to sacrifice everything for her. That unselfish love he feels for her really swept me away.
As for the plot, it’s amazing too and I couldn’t anticipate the twists at all. Soon after finishing this book I even ended up reading the second book: Unhinged. This book series is pretty addictive.