Red Queen – Christina Henry

THIS WILL CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS OF THE FIRST BOOK “ALICE” READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

 

The second instalment of Christina Henry’s retelling of Alice in Wonderland follows Alice after she and Hatcher escape from Old Town in search of Hatcher’s daughter and a better life for themselves. The beginning, like most sequels, begins with a recap of what has previously transpired through Alice’s thoughts and musings of the events they may yet have to face. The journey to their new life was never going to be an easy one and after witnessing the far reaching hands of the New City Alice is right to be worried.  Their relationship at the beginning of the novel is much the same as at the end of Alice, Hatcher is Alice’s protector as she struggles to understand what being a magician means and how she can harness this power inside of her.

As they venture into new territory their relationship starts to shift as Alice realises her potential and what she can achieve. Alice learns quickly where her boundaries lie without Hatcher there to protect her and her character development reaches new heights as we explore her new found independence. In the previous book she was constantly being led somewhere by someone or something and while that is still present within this novel we see her question these prompts and make decisions for herself. Throughout the novel we start to unravel with Alice what is means to be “Alice” and was she and others expect of her.

Their first encounter with magic outside of the confines of the cities is not unlike the experiences they have already faced focusing on illusion and deceit. The whole novel is seeped not only Lewis Carroll’s tale but, in the land of fairy tales with Henry introducing a new spin on those classics also. The introduction of these tales grounds the story and brings light relief to what could be described as a dark and morbid novel. The new characters may not be seen to be as dark as previous villains but they are crueller in their own unique way.

The book is fast paced taking us even deeper down this muddy and blood stained rabbit hole however, unlike the first book it takes a step back from the brutality and instead delves deeper into their psyche and the mind games that we play with ourselves. I love books that focus on the mind and illusion so this was an added bonus for me; the mind is such a complex thing that can taught as well as tricked.

I don’t know how long I will now have to wait until the next instalment but I sincerely hope that it’s not too long. This is a world that I can’t seem to shake.

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