Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter (4/5 stars)

Title: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date Published: September 25, 2012
Genre: Horror-Zombies/Urban Fantasy
Hardcover: 404 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars

"She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

I assumed, because of the title and blurb, that this book is a retelling of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Ali's dad falling in the rabbit hole when he was young somehow surviving and  the zombies from Zombieland coming through that hole eating her family and now Ali has to go down the rabbit hole and avenge her family but it isn't. After reading it, I thought it was great but there are two things I wish I'd known before picking up this book. One, this isn't a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, juxtaposed to the classic, there are no identical elements except small details like Ali's name and a rabbit cloud (and you can also count the chapter titles). Second, the zombies in this book aren't the rotting dead coming out of their graves hungry for your brains, ***spoiler alert*** Showalter's "zombies" are spirits, not corporeal monsters, ***end of spoiler*** what they are is an entirely new specie.

Alice Bell "Ali" never believed in the monsters that her dad has lived in fear of. She missed out on a lot of things ordinary girls her age are enjoying, like going out to a party at night for one, because in her home, no one is allowed to go out after dark. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, her little sister Emma, whom she adores more than anything in the world and is the only person who remembered her birthday, asked her to ask their mom to let Emma dance in her ballet recital which would end at night. She tried to make her mom feel guilty about forgetting her birthday and their situation but she was still surprised when her mom said yes, she didn't think it would work. On their way back home, as they were passing by the cemetery, her mom lost control of the car when her dad tried to get hold of the driving wheel to veer their car away from the monsters he was seeing. That night, she not only lost her family, she started seeing the monsters too. 

Alice in Zombieland is my first Gena Showalter book (it made me very excited to read Wicked Nights!) and I really enjoyed reading it, one of the reasons being, she's an incredible storyteller and her writing, beautifully fluid. The story started out strong and evocative, particularly, Ali's love for Emma and how she couldn't even think of Emma's name when she was in the hospital. As a "horror" book, there were a few creepy scenes like when Ali saw the zombie bride, but there wasn't a point in the book that I felt scared for Ali, maybe because she seems too strong with her unique abilities. I thought the entire book was engaging from start to finish and the characterization was first-class, even her grandparents are endearing. What made me decide that I like Ali is how she made up her mind to honor her family's memory, when it was so hard for her to even say Emma's name, by remembering them and doing her best to not let what happened to her family happen to others. What I don't like about Ali is that she is sometimes so like the usual YA-heroine. When she started stalking and obsessing about Cole, the fierce, intense boy in her new school, even if her new best friend did suggest it, I thought it was so "Lucy" (from Fallen), but it wasn't so bad. I like how Cole is so protective of everyone around him. He and Ali have great chemistry but he could be hot one moment then cold the next when it comes to them being a couple and whether Ali can be included in his group, it could get a little frustrating. Overall, I thought this book was very good with the well executed action scenes, the witty and funny dialogue, and the just right pacing. I can't wait for the next book already!


  1. So glad you enjoyed this book. I really loved it. Just a couple nods to ALice in WOnderland, but what a great marketing gimmick with the book cover . I think we all naturally assumed it had more to do with Alice in Wonderland. I think we all simply assumed it. But what clever cover art:D


  2. awesome review! I have been reading the same comment over and over about the book not being a retelling as thought. I am glad to know that ahead of time. I should be getting to this book this month and can't wait! thanks for the review.

  3. I am glad you liked it because I am eager to read this one!

  4. This is on my TBR, even if I've read both positive and negative reviews about it. I usually love Gena Showalter's books, though, so I'll read it pretty soon.
    I found your blog in a Goodreads group and am now a new GFC follower.
    Here's my blog if you'd like to stop by as well.