Alice by Christina Henry

I love fantasy, it is quite easily my favourite genre to read. I enjoy many genres, but fantasy really allows me to escape to another world, a different universe where reality is so completely opposite to what we live in. This was by far MY FAVOURITE novel of 2018! I devoured every single word, loved every single moment and now I am here to share my thoughts on this masterpiece with you.

Onto the review!

Spoiler alert!

“Interesting’ meant that you attracted the notice of men who would hurt you to possess whatever they found ‘interesting’ about you.”
― Christina Henry, Alice

Alice is a re-imagining of the classic Alice in Wonderland, in which Alice is imprisoned in a mental ward, with her best friend Hatcher (Mad Hatter), due to her hallucinations of a rabbit. This parallel reality is one of terrible acts of violence, abuse, sexism like no other. It is definitely not a children’s story (please do not read this with your children!) but it is one to sink your teeth into and hold your breath until the very last minute. As said, the novel begins with Alice and Hatcher in the mental ward, trying to plot their escape. The Jabberwocki has gotten loose, and has escaped to Old Town. Alice and Hatcher flee to Old Town, with half their memories intact and not a clear idea of what they have to do except that they are the only ones prepared to slay the Jabberwock, and so our adventure begins.

Let me start by commending Henry in her re-invention, I absolutely adored the dark world in which this was set, and it scared me as well as thrilled me. It was everything I didn’t expect but I wanted it to be. Henry’s writing of the characters, setting, everything is absolutely brilliant. I only wish I had her written prowess.

Alice is absolutely my dream female leading lady. She seems at first like the damsel in distress, scared, confused. Her lack of memory render her somewhat weak, however Alice quickly becomes a hero without realising it. She pushes through the physical pain of escaping the asylum and works through the agony of her injuries, hunger. Alice doesn’t realise that inside her she has this beautiful magical power growing, hidden deep inside her. Alice’s fear of being interesting to so many men makes her even more relatable. Many times Henry hints at Alice having been possibly raped, or assaulted by The Rabbit (which in this case is a man with bunny ears!) which alludes to the fact that she is fearless in that she is putting herself in a position in which she will come directly face to face with this man again.

The whole novel is ripe with imagery of women being abused, assaulted, murdered, raped etc. In a way it feels like a metaphor for the diminishing of women as avid contributors of a healthy society. To this day this continues to be an issue in many countries, women are often not seen as people who can affect positive change in a community, who deserve as  many rights. Alice definitely captures this and if anything, she serves as an example of how women always seem to overcome the obstacles that they face.

It has been a while since I have picked up a book that I have devoured and instantly bought the sequel to, and Alice was just this. Not only is the topic something I am incredibly passionate about, equality being one of my strongest beliefs, but the element of fantasy, the darkness explored, the tone and the character development that Henry infuses into the plot are just phenomenal.

If I did star ratings, this would overcome the 5 out of 5, it is simply my favourite!

 

Alice is available for purchase on Amazon, Waterstones, and Foyles – at least as far I have seen!


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