Sunday, October 21, 2012

REVIEW: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

I wasn't entirely sure what to make of Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter at first.  I think, based on the title, and the strapline ('Off with their heads') I was expecting this book to be a straight retelling of Alice in Wonderland but with zombies.  And while there are some similarities which were very fun to read - for instance the white rabbit clouds that signify something important - I think this book stands pretty well on its own.  This being the first book by Gena Showalter that I've read, I think I'll be interested to look out for her other books. 

Alice in Zombieland starts off with this sad and emotional prologue giving little hints about what will happen to Alice and her family during the course of this book and that instantly drew me into the story.  Already I felt a bit connected to the characters.  Having said that, I didn't rush through the first few chapters.  It took awhile for me to fall into the story.

Alice's father is hugely paranoid, not letting Alice and her sister out after dark.  On Alice's birthday, however, she manages to persuade her entire family to go out to see Alice's little sister's ballet performance.  Alice is incredibly happy, to be able to see her little sister do something so well and also that her family are finally doing something normal.  But it isn't to be a happy ending, as Alice's entire family are killed outside of the cemetary and Alice's life becomes something very different.

She moves in with her grandparents and starts a new school.  It is here in the story where things really start to pick up.  As sad as the events are in Alice's life, my one real niggle with the book is that I don't really believe in Alice's grief, at least not at the beginning of this book.  Plus, I just wanted to get to some zombie action or at least romantic action.  And that's when Cole Holland, resident bad boy comes in to solve both of these problems.  I really loved the tension and sizzle between Ali and Cole.  There's something a bit mysterious going on between the two of them and I definitely want to see more. 

Plus, the zombies!  Having watched her parents and little sister die, Ali Bell is pretty determined to get involved and do something.  She wants to know about zombies, she wants to learn to be bad-ass and kill zombies.  In order to do this, she has to trust some rather shady characters and get involved in things she'd never really paid attention to when it was her crazy dad talking. 

There are lots of things that I enjoyed about this book.  First, Ali and Cole.  Their relationship makes this book work for me.  Second, I love the twists that Gena Showalter gives to the zombies.  It's nice to see something familiar like zombies but for the world-building around the zombies be something a bit different to discover.  I liked discovering more about these zombies, including another agency involved besides Cole's zombie-hunting army.  And finally, what I liked most about this book are the secondary characters.  It's always interesting for me when an author manages to change my mind about certain characters.  I loved that there are characters in Alice in Zombieland that I hated on sight at the beginning and by the end, these same characters are some of my favourites!

Alice In Zombieland is a very fun and very loose retelling of a classic children's story.  There's plenty of swoon, heartbreak and zombie carnage in its pages.  I really recommend this book. 

8 comments:

  1. I really wasn't sure about this one, but now I want to give it a go!

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    1. It's so much fun, Sophie! I really enjoyed it :)

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  2. Fantastic review! Although I am not a great zombie fan, I really want to read this. I like how it is a stand alone novel to Alice in Wonderland - it would be fun to have similarities but I guess it wouldn't be as unique if it was too similar. I love the cover too :)

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    1. Isn't the cover gorgeous?! I meant to write something more about the cover in my review, but I forgot. I think it's very pretty.

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  3. I've been looking forward to reading this one, so I'm really pleased to see you enjoy it! I'm quite pleased that it's not a strict retelling of Alice in Wonderland too. Great review! :)

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    1. There really is just enough to link it to Alice in Wonderland to make a reader smile throughout, which I think is nice :)

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  4. I love the sound of this! Definitely going to have to give it a read :)

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    1. I hope you like it, Jenni! I found it to be really interesting and I just couldn't stop reading.

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