In this Alice in the Country of Clover one-shot, Alice finds herself torn between dreams of home, in which her sister is disappointed in her for staying in Wonderland, and her budding feelings for Elliot. On the one hand, the violence Elliot is capable of when carrying out his work for the Hatter family scares her. On the other hand, she loves the side of him that's protective, goofy, and sweet. She doesn't know if he feels the same for her or if he's like her tutor back in the real world, just humoring her.
Elliot has always been pretty low on my list of favorite love interests for Alice, and this volume didn't change my mind. Her attraction to him in the franchise seems to mostly be based on her fascination with his rabbit ears. His personality, ranging from childish and joyful when with Alice and cold-blooded when working for Blood, has never really appealed to me. For some reason, even Dee and Dum, who are the most similar in personality to Elliot, appeal to me more.
There were a few lines I didn't like. For example, at one point Elliot told Alice: “Look. I'm not telling you to fall in love with me. But if you tell me you've fallen for some other guy, I might kill him.” Um...that's not romantic. Alice also described Elliot as "Violence mixed with aching sweetness." Blergh.
Alice's dreams of her sister hint at some of the things that were better-covered in other volumes in the franchise. This volume never revealed what it was that Alice had forgotten, something that might disappoint some readers. If I remember correctly, other volumes indicated that
Alice's older sister had probably died. By retreating to Wonderland, Alice also retreated from her memories of her sister's funeral.
All in all, this was mediocre. It glorified some of the franchise's problematic elements a bit too much for my tastes, but beyond that it was more forgettable than anything, adding absolutely nothing to the mystery of Alice's past. I did at least like Ryo Kazuki's art, however.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)