Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, book one)
By Gena Showalter
Published 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Alice Bell has had an unusual life. Her father is paranoid about creatures that want to eat your soul, so he doesn't let the family leave the house after dark. For one night, Alice just wants to have a normal family, attending her little sister's dance recital. But that one attempt at normalcy will change Alice's life forever.

All right, here's the good - at least I wasn't stupid enough to think this was going to be Alice in Wonderland plus zombies. I mean, I read the blurb, so I knew it was a very different story than the title would have one believe. However, I'm a huge Alice fan, and also a huge zombie fan, so I figured I needed to check this book out. I wanted to see if it shared any connection with the Wonderland story and I also wanted to read a good zombie story. Unfortunately, I was disappointed all around. I mean, WHAT IS THIS BOOK? The story shares a rough framework with Alice in Wonderland - a girl named Alice falls down a rabbit hole (in this case, metaphorical) and is thrust into a new and strange world. Other than that, however, I have a hard time seeing why Showalter decided to make the connection between her book and Lewis Carroll's (and this is only book one of a series). To lure in unsuspecting readers? I just don't know. Whatever the reasoning, it just doesn't work. Okay, so this book lacked the Alice connection I was hoping for, but what about the zombies? Well, Showalter completely failed on that account, too. THESE ARE NOT ZOMBIES. Let me repeat that: THESE ARE NOT ZOMBIES. NOPE. NOT AT ALL. What we have here are ghosts, or spirits, or demons, or some other malevolent supernatural force. I don't have a problem with stories about other kind of paranormal baddies, but CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE. Why did Showalter feel the need to call these creatures zombies when they are not? Once again, I feel like this is a case of trying to capitalize on something popular, whether or not it's what you actually have (retellings and zombies are both very popular right now).

In case that isn't enough to deter you from the book, what else do we have? Well, a completely annoying narrator, one of the worst cases of insta-love I've ever seen, an abusive and cruel love interest, and terrible writing. I mean, I feel like I spent so much time shaking my head and rolling my eyes while reading that I'm surprised I didn't get stuck that way. And yet, on Goodreads, this book has an average of 4-star rating. DID WE READ THE SAME BOOK, PEOPLE? Just, no. Not good. I don't think I'll be back for book two.

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