by Amy Koto  (Author)

Kallie Bennett, a sixteen-year-old girl finds herself in her own version of Wonderland after falling down a hole chasing Alice. While there she must battle the evil Queen Hartley and find a way to escape…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one, anything that likens itself to a bunch of TV shows always gives me a little pause. Although I like most of those TV shows named and I can definitely see the Buffy influence. I am not too familiar however with Alice in Wonderland beyond knowing it in a vague pop-culture sort of way.

Kallie herself is a great character that’s quite relatable, she is a rather melancholy young woman who finds herself out of place in the world. She hates the superficiality of her friends and also has to deal with her abusive alcoholic mother. She also only confides in her cat Midnight her innermost thoughts. I wasn’t expecting to relate to a teenage girl but I connected to her right away.

While in Wonderland she must deal with many crazy encounters, but she comes to rely on Ches, a vampire. Both pretty much fall in love with each other instantly, although they also both act horrible towards one another and push each other away. I always find this stuff tiresome but that’s okay, they eventually get past it all and become quite close. Of course, he only exists in the Wonderland and she must deal with thoughts of losing their love as she gets closer and closer to escaping.

Most of the book is told from Kallie’s perspective, but in a few chapters we switch over to Ches. We see from him the usual type of conflicted vampire character, and I wasn’t too into him, to be honest. He basically just sees her, his humanity that was locked away begins to stir and he instantly loves her… He is not a horrible character and there is a chance he is given more development in the upcoming books.

While it seems all the Alice in Wonderland characters are there, just a twisted new version of them, Queen Hartley steals the show. She’s absolutely ruthless and manipulative, and every scene she is in pure entertainment. Through all her mind games and spells she is a constant thorn in the side of Kallie and Ches and she was my favorite character by far.

Queen Hartley also yells off with their head a lot at everyone. Here, however, she doesn’t mean it literally, it just turns them in a broken shell of a person who will never dream again. I found it to sound rather like living with depression and found it to be chilling stuff.

There are odd scenes in this I must point out. When Kallie’s mother is introduced, she is said to be rolling around the floor like a dog. This was incredibly odd and I didn’t get it. The mother scenes do their job well of showing the troubled life Kallie was living at the beginning of this and her growth of character later on though.

Then after Kallie falls through the hole and into Wonderland, she sees a bathtub and stops and takes a bath? That was even odder, why would anyone do that? I realize there needed to be a way to get her into the iconic dress, but it seemed rushed and against the logic of a person very much in danger.

This book is a little rocky to start, but once it hits it’s stride it becomes so fast-paced which I felt worked for it because it moves quickly from one crazy scene to the next. It was easy to imagine it in my head like a TV show that the author so loves.

As Kallie makes her way through Wonderland, you begin to realize through all the crazy happenings and danger posed by Queen Hartley that this a journey of self-discovery and a coming of age tale, and a charming and likable one at that.

4 out of 5 stars

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