Alice in Wonderland as a horror story.

Alice

by Christina Henry

We begin in a mental hospital, where Alice is alone, save for her next door neighbor, who she only sees through a small hole in the wall. Hatcher, so named because he killed using an ax, has been the only voice she hears for years. There is a fire and they escape.

Thus begins an adventure where Alice seeks to find the perpetrator of her downfall, Rabbit. Rabbit left her with a scar across half her face, but he did not escape the encounter with Alice unscathed. Along the way she meets the traditional but enhanced characters Cheshire, Caterpillar, Walrus, and Jabberwock. In this extended version of the Alice in Wonderland story, the bad guys are like gang bosses, controlling parts of The New City. The action starts after Alice’s adventures down the rabbit hole are over. The traditional elements of the Alice tale, including roses, food stuffs that change your size, talking animals and such, are twisted into a unique story that sails along after a slow start. There is quite a lot of violence and blood, what with a character who favors an ax, but it is not too much to handle.

There is enough story left at the end that I am expecting a sequel. I am looking forward to hearing Hatcher’s story in the next volume.

I received an advance copy for review.

I read this in August, 2015

 

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Distance: Streetlights Like Fireworks book 3 By David Pandolfe

 

This time it’s not all about them!!! Lauren and Jack are young adults just beginning college. They were brought together for a journey of discovery to find Jack’s birth parents and Lauren’s brother. Beginning with the first two books in the series they are guided by their unique psychic powers. They get flashes of insight when holding objects that belonged to someone, and dreams that compel them to act.

This time, Lauren sees a little girl trailing fire from her hands and Jack sees a teenager in a hoodie with a haunted face. They don’t recognize either one or their connection to them. This time there is a sense of danger, and their police contacts tell them that a girl, Tamara Watts, is missing after her mother died, running away from her unhinged step-father.
Will they find her in time to save her from the dread they sense for her? Sometimes being psychic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I’m glad David Pandolfe has continued his stories about Jack and Lauren. I wondered if their journey would continue when their personal story resolved and I’m happy to say Pandolfe has just the right tone for their continued story. Their dialogs are always natural and unforced; the setting is present day, with musical references and technology mentions that place you firmly in the here and now.

I received an advance copy of the e-book for my unbiased review.

 

i read this book in October 2015

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

imageThe Invisible Library is a dense tale, a world building so immense it holds a veritable Library itself in it. Our heroine, Irene Winter, is a creature whose whole existence serves an entity called the Library. Her life has been given over to this service and her superiors expect her to do whatever it takes to complete the tasks they set for her.

 

This time it’s to retrieve a copy of Grimm’s Fairy tales from an alternative London. She is not told why this particular book is important, it isn’t for her to know. She has certain abilities that allow her to manipulate objects and people. She speaks the language of the Library, and though to others it sounds like their native language, to the Librarians, it allows them to open locks, freeze people’s actions; pretty much anything can happen if the Universe hears her voice speaking the command.

 

 

She is to fetch this book, a simple task, with her new assistant, Kai. What she finds, even before she walks into the alternative space, is a colleague who warns her off of the job, a cat burglar named Belphegor, dragons, a mythic Rogue Librarian, zeppelins, Magic, Fae, blackmail, mechanical alligators and centipedes, and all manner of obstacles. This is not turning out to be Irene’s week.

 
I liked this book but it is an intense experience. The troubles Irene faces don’t give her space to take a deep breath. It’s told entirely from her viewpoint. Irene doubts herself, but she really shouldn’t. She quite competent but in this world it is better that she appear to be Kai’s assistant and Kai be seen as the head of the investigation. The famous detective Vale joins their search for the book and a vampire named Silver is the main bad guy who sends wave after wave of henchmen and creatures after the three good guys. But Irene can’t be sure of anyone’s real motive, even Kai and Vale, as they have secrets.

 
I’m looking forward to the sequel.

 

I received this e-book for free in return for my unbiased review.

Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

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Something is wrong in Midnight, Texas. Not the usual things, the pale man who only comes out at night, the famous psychic, the Rev, who only dresses in black and has an animal cemetery at his church. Something bad is happening and no one can seem to stop it. People are showing up at the crossroads and committing suicide. If the group of people who have become a family to each other don’t stop them, the world will have something to worry about too.

Charlaine Harris’s latest book about the town of Midnight is about danger, mystery, and family. Fiji, the resident witch, is not very happy to find her sister on her doorstep. Kiki (short for Waikiki, their parents having a thing for tropical paradise) has left her husband and rather than go home to stay with their mother, has decided to inflict her annoying self on Fiji. Fiji’s great-aunt Mildred had left her the house her shop was in and Kiki had always been jealous. In fact, Kiki always wanted what Fiji had, and since arriving in town was sniffing around all the eligible males in sight.

In the meantime, Olivia was worried her father had finally found her. She suspected Teacher, the local handyman, and would be taking steps to confirm her suspicions. It’s just that they needed to pull together as a town and figure out why everyone was literally dying to be there at the crossroads in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. In my last review for this series, I suspected there would be a greater role for Teacher and Madonna Reed. I wasn’t wrong.

I loved this latest novel by Charlaine Harris, who isn’t having a problem moving on from the Sookie Stackhouse books. Some authors never rise above their first great triumphs, but Ms. Harris is doing just fine, thank you very much. There is talk of a TV movie for this series also.

I received an ebook from Ace/Roc for my unbiased review.