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Retelling the classic Alice in Wonderland for adults and with a steampunk vibe, this book is a masterpiece in itself, and I have no shame in saying that I enjoyed it a lot more than the original. This Alice is older, probably in her twenties, and has a younger sister with fragile health, who is in love with Henry the hatter. The Caterpillar here is called William and is someone very important to Alice. He needs to complete a job for the Queen of Hearts, and Alice, despite having left behind her life as a petty thief, will join forces with William in order to save him and also maybe save her soul.
It could be due to how famous Alice in Wonderland has become, that I felt a bit underwhelmed when I read it, but this did not happen with Curiouser and Curiouser. I found it compelling from the very beginning, with interesting characters and amazing events. The book doesn't follow the same storyline as the original, it's more like a shuffle and mix, but it felt quite exquisite. There are some flashbacks to Alice's past, which gives us some background about her. These flashbacks appear alternating with the main story, creating a complex and rich weave that makes for a really polished book.
I expected the steampunk to be my favorite aspect of the book, but I think what I liked best was how dark this story is. If Alice in Wonderland is a children's book, this is quite the opposite. The first scene where we see the Queen of Hearts was an impressive one, and I don't consider myself easily impressed by horror in books, but it was so vivid, so dark, and so unexpected, that I felt touched by it. I could almost smell the stench and feel the horror Alice felt.
And if all that was not enough, the book is beautifully written, with rich and elaborate prose, characters who feel real, and Alice... Alice is simply charming. There is also love in this book, but not the sappy one that we see in many romance books. This one is real, painful, and deep; and it complements the story perfectly.
Lesley Parkin's narration was perfect for this story. She delivered great characters' interpretations and transmitted their emotions in a powerful way. I was able to recognize every character and follow conversations without any issues. I just notice once or twice that a small part of the narration sounded like the last character talking, but it was barely noticeable.
I would recommend this book to everybody: whether they enjoyed or not the original book, and whether they are or not into steampunk. It's simply a very well told story with some powerful scenes.
Audiobook was provided for review the author.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this Audiobook. I honestly binge listened to it and finished it very quickly. I loved all of the Alice in Wonderland references. The characters were extremely likeable and Lesley Parkin did a superb job at bringing the characters and story to life. I look forward to for from this Author and narrator.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This intriguing new steampunk twist on Alice in Wonderland made for very interesting reading and listening. I won't go into the story itself as you can get the outline above and I don't want to give any spoilers, but what I found most fun was seeing the ways that the author has woven the characters, locations, events, and even some phrases ("the difference between a raven and a writing desk" for example) from the original book into a whole new story. This is an excellent story, well-written and with lively characters, and that means that it's ideal for all new readers and listeners in its own right - the added original Wonderland elements are just the icing on the cake.
The audiobook of the story brought a whole new dimension to it. Narrated by Lesley Parkin, it really brings the story to life and draws you into the steampunk London world of the story (thank you for using an author with a British (London) accent rather than a US one - it really grounded the story!) keeping you hooked from beginning to end. Lesley is an excellent storyteller, giving individual life to the characters and flair to the story that gave a real sparkle to this diamond of a book. Highly recommended to all fairytale retelling lovers, and anyone who enjoys a bit of madcap adventure in a steampunk world. Can't wait for more!
NB I received a complimentary copy of this book and audiobook, but I always give an HONEST review based wholly on my own opinions
I liked this version of Alice in Wonderland. I loved how the author mixed a fairy tale with steampunk. I thought it was intersesting and different. It might not be to everyone's taste but I really liked it.
The narrator I thought did not suit this story. I didn't like the cockney accent she did for Alice's character, I felt it was stiff and not fluid at times. I found she did the Queen of hearts really well and some of the other characters as well but because Alice is the main character it put me off. She is not bad but I don't think she is ideal for this book. I noticed the other reviewers liked her, so it could be just me.
I received a review copy at my request and voluntarily reviewed.