Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nikolas Cook

Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Classical Mash-Up/ Young Adult/ Horror
Pages: Paperback, 256pp
ISBN-13: 9781402256219

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Nikolas Cook on the WEB: Website

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank - the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable. All of them were covered in Alice's now cold and congealed blood, which made them even tastier looking to poor hungry Alice.

When little Alice follows the Black Rat down into the gaping darkness of an open grave, she falls and falls. And soon finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Venturing further into this land of zombies and monsters, she encounters characters both creepy and madcap along the way.

But there's something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and hair is falling out. She's cold. And she has the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave.

Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her?


Author Nickolas Cook has taken the classic work Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and transformed it into something new and different. Alice in Zombieland stays true to the original story of Alice but gives it a definite undead flavor. Readers who enjoy classic mash-ups will really like this one. On heels of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, there is definitely a market for this kind of humorous horror story. Horror fans will find a lot to enjoy about this one as well. Good grief! Zombies in Wonderland!

Young Alice is playing in the graveyard and listening to her sister read a book, when she spots a Black Rat who is in a real hurry. He checks his pocket watch and expresses his worry over being late as Alice watches, enchanted. She leaves her sister behind and follows the Black Rat to an open grave, where she falls and falls right into Zombieland. Poor Alice is unprepared for what she finds in Zombieland and soon has the Dead Red Queen on her tail. She meets a lot of interested characters along the way and attends the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. But all the time she becomes more and more worried as her flesh starts to deteriorate and her hair begins to fall out. Alice is becoming a Zombie! If she doesn't find out how to leave Zombieland soon she may never be able to get away.

Oh, where to start with this one! This is obviously not the sort of book that I usually review, though I have very eclectic tastes in literature and try new things all the time. So, this was a new experience for me, though I have reviewed a mash-up or two before, zombies are not usually my thing. However, I have always been a big fan of Alice and I wanted to see just how different Wonderland would be if it were really Zombieland.

Nickolas Cook does a remarkable job of paraphrasing and working with Lewis Carroll's original work and transforming into something that is unique and different. The original premise is definitely here in
Alice in Zombieland and the story remains true to Carroll's vision, but Cook really instills a sort of humorous bent on horror into the book. Wonderland was a very quirky and odd sort of place and Zombieland is no different especially with all the blood and severed body parts, LOL! Cook gives the reader a classic story mashed up with an updated horror theme. It was very well thought out and Cook does an amazing job of incorporating zombie like characters and themes into the story. Horror is definitely his niche and this novel is sure to make a real impact in that genre.

The idea of Alice becoming a Zombie herself adds a new dimension to the story. Her skin is starting to rot, her hair is falling out, she even has a bizarre desire to take a bite out of someone now and then. She certainly isn't the original Alice, but is she that much different? She is still a young girl who falls asleep and finds herself in a land that is much different from her own. She still meets some very weird and strange characters and has some one-of-a-kind adventures. The addition of the zombies doesn't really detract from the original it just warps it a bit, which for some readers, is exactly what they are looking for.

It's not a secret that zombies have not been my favorite characters in the past, but I started this book with an open mind and found myself enjoying the story very much. Alice is a great character whether she is the lovable little girl we met with Carroll or the zombie version we get from Cook. Cook's knowledge of zombie lore and stories is remarkable and I am sure the fans he has gathered from his horror writing will find this one an extension of his ability to create great humor and horror and mash it all up.

I recommend this one to fans of mash-up stories and to horror fans. It's not for the faint of heart, with lots of blood and body parts and some really wacked out zombie desires, but I think it's definitely a re-invention of Alice that you won't want to miss, even if you think zombies just aren't your thing.

Alice in Zombieland is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag, based on the remarkable changes that Cook was able to make in the story, while remaining true to it's essence.

Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898), the pen name of Oxford mathematician, logician, photographer, and author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is famous the world over for his fantastic classics Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, "The Hunting of the Snark," "Jabberwocky," and "Sylvie and Bruno."

Nickolas Cook lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and four Chinese pugs. He is an editor (The Black Glove Magazine), a horror critic, and reviewer, with hundreds of articles in print. He is also the author of a couple of dozen published short stories and three novels,
The Black Beast of Algernon Wood (Daily Swan Press), Baleful Eye ( Publishing) and Alice in Zombieland (first published by Coscom Entertainment) and a short story collection, 'Round Midnight and Other Tales of Lost Souls (Damnation Books).


Svea Love said...

Thanks for the review, Debbie! I passed this one up, since this is obviously not my usually read, but I was quite curios as to what madness would occur. It seems that Alice's adventures definitely haven't become any less wacky :)

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the great review!

BTW, just wanted to say thanks again for 'only mr darcy will do' I received it yesterday!!