Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gears of Wonderland by Jason G. Anderson

Apart from fairy-tale retellings, I really like books that retell, or are based on, Alice in Wonderland (so much material to work with!). When I saw this book in BookBlogging, the pretty cover instantly caught my eye, and the blurb sounded so enticing! And happily, the book lived up to my expectations.

James Riggs is a pushover. His boss bullies him, his fiancee is getting him to give up his favourite activities. So at the start of the book, his boss's plans and his fiance's plans collide, forcing James to just get away from them. He goes to his old friend Melvin, but sadly, Melvin is killed right in front of his eyes, and James is transported to some weird Victorian-style country.

Wonderland. It's not the same Wonderland that Alice went to, it's the Wonderland that Alice changed by virtue of being an Outsider. And the paranoid despot is desperate to catch him. In a stroke of luck, Kara, the daughter of the Mad Hatter and the first person who runs into James has ties to the resistance, and they start off on a wild and crazy adventure, aided occasionally by the White Rabbit.

The conflict in this novel comes from the rebellion and, more importantly, Jame's internal conflict. James has been pushed around for so long that he doesn't want to save Wonderland. All he wants to do is to go home where everything is safe and familiar. Through his journey, James has to find in him, the strength that everyone needs, since for some reason, they're all counting on him.

For me, my favourite character in this book wasn't James, but Torre. Torre is an elite knight from the now-defeated Red Heart Kingdom, and his loyalty to his now dead King was really touching. Plus, his character really develops in the last few chapters, and he becomes more than the touchy, prickly knight that first met James and Kara.

Speaking of James and Kara, I found their romance to be very predictable. Thankfully, it didn't take up much of the book, although I suspect that the next book will talk about it more. But since it's not instalove, I'm looking forward to seeing how the author will handle their romance. I'd also like to know much more about Kara in the next book - there simply isn't enough backstory about her in this book.

All in all, I really like this retelling. I enjoyed this version of Wonderland, and the adventure was fun and easy to read.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author via BookBlogging in exchange for a free and honest review.

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