Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up at school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what’s right? Listeners will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard’s bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll’s classic.
© 2014 by A. G. Howard
“Once again, Howard expands the Alice in Wonderland fairy tales to imagine a terrifying backstory full of sinister toys, talking flowers and insects, and a Jeb/Morpheus/Alyssa love triangle—made more interesting with the addition of wealthy Ivy Raven. The Wonderland magic and perverse violence is nicely juxtaposed with a typical high-school senior year.”
“Readers who appreciate a gothic love triangle, body modification, eerie art, and brooding-artist types will enjoy this colorful but creepy offering and await the next installment.”
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Just as good as, if not better than, book one.January 23, 2014I thoroughly enjoyed listening to book 1 in this series, and was pleasantly surprised to see the same narrator for book two. (Do they always try to keep the same narrators for series? I hope so, because no one else could do justice for the next one coming out). Ms. Gibel does a wonderful job giving life and personality to all of the characters, even when they're creatures. As for the story itself, at first I was disappointed we didn't actually go to Wonderland this time, but when it started seeping into Alyssa's real world, it brought back the same uneasy tension, creep factor, and emotions as the first. In fact, it was actually a deeper emotional pull because by being in the real world, it added an element of reality and taut-wire friction that wasn't in the first, as Alyssa tried to keep her real world intact and safe. For this, I applaud the author's choice for setting things here! My favorite part was the care and detail given to the character arcs and background reveals. Not just for Alyssa in trying to balance the two sides of herself while learning how deeply interwoven her family really is in Wonderland, but every single secondary character (both Jeb and Morpheus had character growth and issues going on) and even some of the netherling creatures. This was a wonderful listen, and with the ending left like it was, I'm having a hard time waiting for the next! 2015 is very far away. But if book three is anything like the other two, the wait will be worth it.
Rebecca Gibel (a.k.a. Kasha Kensington) is a stage actress who has performed in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Camelot (IRNE Award nomination), Urinetown (Denver Post Ovation Award nomination), and Othello. She won the Denver Post Readers’ Choice Award for Best Year by an Actress. Gibel is a graduate of the Brown University / Trinity Rep MFA acting program, where she was the Stephen Sondheim Fellow.