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review 2016-06-14 18:18
After Alice
After Alice: A Novel - Gregory Maguire

I wanted to love this, I mean, I even tried to love it, but it wasn't working for me. To be honest, though it has been years since I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, I'm pretty sure everyone would just be better off reading the original. Oh, sure, there are occasionally very clever bits and the writing, while often overly pretentious, is pleasant enough and even sometimes quite lovely. Alas, beyond that, there is very little of which to speak well. The narrative, while omniscient, skips back and forth between Ada, who tumbles into Wonderland and basically has a small collection of adventures Alice has already had, and Lydia, Alice's oft frustratingly dull older sister, and also Siam, a rescued slave-boy who wanders behind the Looking-Glass.

There are innuendos aplenty, and even an F-bomb, which I'm fairly certain is not quite in the vein of the original. (And yes, I realize this is "adult" fiction, blah.)

Really the only good bits are Ada in Wonderland, which I feel is basically what one could garner from reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. Also, there wasn't all that much of Ada in Wonderland for this being nearly 300 pages.

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review 2015-08-26 06:44
Jackaby - William Ritter

Review to come someday. But this was very legit.

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review 2015-05-26 05:04
The Peculiar
The Peculiar - Stefan Bachmann
Woo, boy, this is was an unexpected surprise. Maybe I liked this so very much because I'd just hit a run of sub-par and/or crappy books. Or maybe this was really just that good.

For one thing, it's beautifully written. I found myself reading it very quietly aloud, not only to hear how the words flowed and fit together like puzzle pieces, but to form the words on my lips. It was an experience that so rarely occurs, but when it does, it's darn pleasant.

For another thing, the story is imaginative. Fairies, yes, sure, they're old hat. But these fairies are different (and also spelled differently), creepy, fantastic (in the old sense of the word), and rather peculiar.

In fact, most of the base elements of this story were not original at all, but damn, I never felt like I was reading something I'd read before.** And it is told so well and twisted just enough from what you think you know, that I was drawn in and stayed up till after 3 am, trying to finish it. (I fell asleep, though not for lack of trying not to.)

While I don't adore these characters, I do like them very much, and Arthur is probably my favorite. But I would like to see more of Ophelia, and really get to know Hettie, poor dear. And I really liked Bartholomew's character arc and decision at the end of the book.

Another thing that absolutely floored me is that not only is this a debut novel, but it was written by a teenager, who started it when he was 16 and got it published when he was 18. I admit, I am fiercely jealous of his writing ability. Props, Stefan Bachmann, props! I'm definitely going to be around for his next books! (I didn't realize until...just now, that I had read his (wonderfully creepy) short stories in The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief)

** Though sometimes the writing and descriptions of London made me feel like I was reading The Amulet of Samarkand


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