Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Book Review: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper
One of the books I read for the month of August, is a book that has been on my to-read list for quite a while! Here is my review for Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper.
I've always enjoyed the "fractured fairy tale" format, in which an author takes a well known and well loved story and puts their own spin on it. Death of a Mad Hatter is a very unusual book. It is about the relationship between a young boy Ryley and Alice Mae, from "Alice in Wonderland". I don't want to spoil the book for you by giving away too about Ryley's identity. To give you a quick rundown, there is a prophecy in Wonderland, about the person who will end the Queen of Heart's Reign of Terror. The Queen of Hearts sends Alice to bring Ryley to her, who she assumes is the person named in the prophecy. Of course, Alice and Ryley fall in love.
It took me a few chapters to start liking this book. At first, I was trying to put all the pieces together and I was a bit confused. Once some of the pieces fell into place however, I started to really enjoy the book. Alice was a fascinating character! She was well developed and likable. The book looked past the absurdity of Wonderland and showed us that at her core, she was simply a young girl who had been through a lot and wanted to be loved.
Ryley was also very interesting. I enjoyed finding out his connections to Wonderland and the prophecy. The author did a good job with developing his character. He started out as immature and somewhat irritating but became an unconventional hero.
I would have liked to learn more about some of the Wonderland characters, especially the Joker. What happened to make him so very sadistic? I also wanted to know more about Ryley's father and uncle and how they ended up in Wonderland in the first place.
From a technical standpoint, the book was well written and only had a few typos. I do think the pacing was an issue. As I said above, it took a few chapters before things fell into place and I could enjoy the book. It's a complex story and I understand that the author didn't want to give away too much upfront but I was pretty confused at the beginning.
To sum up, this was a very interesting book. It took a standard story and turned it on its head. When I think of Wonderland, I imagine it as a crazy place where Alice went to escape her dreary life. The Wonderland depicted in this book, however, is dark and scary. Alice herself is flawed and traumatized by a lot of what has happened to her, but the relationship that develops between her and Ryley helps her to heal. I would be interested in reading more about this couple as well as the other characters in the story. I would also love to read other books by this author.
My Rating: 4 stars