After Alice by Gregory Maguire ~Goodreads~
Published by Headline 2015
Paperback edition 256 pages ~Book Depository~
I was sent this from the publisher via Bookbridgr for an honest review.
The bestselling author of ‘Wicked’, is a wonderful retelling of what happened next after Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole.
When Alice fell down the rabbit-hole, she found Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But how did Victorian Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance? Gregory Maguire turns his imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings -and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, sets out to visit Alice but, arriving a moment too late, tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself. Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and bring her safely home from this surreal world below the world. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts interrupt their mad tea party to suggest a conundrum: if Eurydice can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or if Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.
A new adaption to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland? Erm yes please! These were my immediate thoughts when I spotted After Alice on a book site, and when I was contacted by the publisher to read this book for review I was jumping for joy. To make this even more exciting I realised it is also by the writer of Wicked.
I confess that my expectations of this book were rather high when I should have taken a step back, and I think this is one of the reasons of why my rating was low.
I remember reading Lewis Carroll’s classic for the first time and not having a clue of what everything all meant, and I just accepted that this was how it is meant to be. Reading it some years later a lot made sense and some just still completely bewildered me, so to have a new adaption of what happened to Alice in Wonderland was of immediate interest to me. Perhaps I would understand this better than the original. But with any adaption the author has added new characters and created a different twist to it, which was brave and not a complete disaster.
The story tells us about Alice’s neighbor and friend Ada, and of her accidental trip down the rabbit hole. Maguire show a great attention to detail when describing how Ada falls (just like Carroll does) and his edition of Wonderland was equally as bonkers as Carroll’s, yet again I was left a little confused and bewildered by what was going on. I can only see this as a positive because Wonderland is meant to be mad and you’re not supposed to feel yourself. Maguire also includes our best loved characters from Wonderland; the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts.
What I think let this book down was the development of the characters. Nothing quite clicked with them, and there was a lack of emotion for me. I’m not quite sure what happened but in places this made the book quite dry and a bit of a drag to read, towards the latter half of the book I really struggled.
I loved Wicked and I think Maguire is a brilliant author, but I don’t think his adaption of this big classic will be enjoyed by faithful Carroll fans. If you’re already a Maguire fan I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
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