Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alice in Zombieland: review

Title: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Genres: zombies, retelling, paranormal ya
Rating: 5 stars
Source: library
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….

This is my 100th book read this year! :) Coincidence it almost lined up with my 100th post...

My first thought: Wow this is so great! An Alice in Wonderland zombie retelling?? Creative mesh!! Especially since I just saw live-play steampunk retelling the night before starting this. Everything was fresh in my mind.

My second thought: The setting is!!!....high school? Waitasecond. I guess I wasn't expecting that because in the summary/flap description it does not once say anything about high school. As weird as it sounds though, I got used to it and actually started to love that it did indeed take place in high school. It makes sense now, because Ali is sixteen so why shouldn't she be in school...but the original story has her going into some Wonderland otherplace. You see my train of thought went a bit teeter-tottery for a while.

The first supporting character we meet is Kat. Now, my first impression of her was not the same by the time I finished the book. Ali's meeting with her is weird, but Kat is so energetic and funny it's easy to just ignore all the underlying strangeness. But the more and more I got to know Kat, the less and less I liked her. I don't think there's anything wrong with the character herself, it's just me and her. In real life, I really despise people like her, all bouncy and gossipy all the time, so we just didn't click. This resulted in some major suspicions on my end that turned to a completely different road by the last quarter of the book. I wish my guesses had been correct (because I'm assuming she's the Cheshire in here), but as the reader, obviously things don't always go your way...

Alice (Ali) on the other hand, I hated right away, and grew to admire her by the end. She just sounded to me like an annoying sweet-sixteen-year-old who is really normal, kinda whiney and very na├»ve. But after the car accident (which happens in like the first chapter, don't worry) I guess I liked her a little more. When she was at school, and made friends easily with these normal girly girl people like Kat (Kat being one of them) I feared this would get too contemporary-like and not enough paranormal. I can easily say if this book were contemporary ya high school setting and plot, I would hate this book. But obviously it's not, so I loved it. Ali also has a very entertaining inner-voice that almost blends with what she actually says out loud.

Here is where the similarities to Die For Me by Amy Plum appear. Did I mention that before? Well there are some.

Family Dies.
Weapon training.
Strange Secret Group fighting.
The opposing Strange Secret fighting Group.

It's more complicated than that. The romance is very different, but lots of the story-line is the same. The actual zombie "mythology" is different, but I mean, they're still the undead, technically. (Can zombies be technical?)

Romance: There's chemistry, that part's very obvious. I really care about Ali and Cole, who I am assuming is the Hatter because he is mentioned to wearing different hats frequently. There's some squee-scenes. Quite a few actually. But when I noticed the cover saying bestselling author and I looked up her other series...well I understood why she's good at the romance aspect. It's not extremely serious or anything not PG-13 rated, but here and there I can just tell she's used to writing more.

Zombies: This is where I get opinionated, sorry. So every zombie story has to have a background, you know? Like how they started, the infection rules, and all that sciencey stuff. In here it's different than what I've read on zombies. (I will admit I've only read a handful.) I'm not buying the history that zombies are a 'manifestation of absolute evil' which is why they must be stopped. It's an unusual approach and the way spirits are mentioned in here, borderline religiously based. Barely there, but the fact that zombies are spiritually based instead of scientifically based....not sure I love it yet. There's also the fact that the opposing side is bent on capturing and researching zombies: aka the scientists.

Retelling aspect: I guess this is a trilogy? Possibly more? Don't think it's announced yet. There is a fair bit of the original story weaved in here, like seeing the white rabbit, hats, and wearing blue dresses, but I hope to see even more in the next one, Down the Zombie Hole. There is a club they go to called Hearts, I just remembered. The characters I'm able to recognize are Cheshire, Hatter, and the two Tweedles. The White Rabbit is more symbolic, and I'm pretty sure we have yet to see the Caterpillar?

Badass-ness: On a scale of 1-10, probably about a 6.6 because for most of the book, it's hinted that there's fighting and scary stuff, but it takes a while for Ali to be a part of it, and even longer till she wields a sword and punches people. As a protag, she isn't the most witty, but she has a resilient spirit and vengeance on her mind, which gives her points on the scale.

Overall Alice in Zombieland is an excellent read, so make sure to go buy it or order it from the library right away! Fans of Die For Me will definitely enjoy it, and anyone who likes the ya-paranormal, zombie, or retelling genres needs to give it a try. For me, it was one of those unexpectedly good books that made me not want to put it down for a minute.


A few minutes ago, I made a Facebook page! As I figure out how to use it...'likes' would be great! :) I don't have a cover photo yet...


  1. This one sounds so good. I'm excited to see the Alice in Wonderland characters appear. Thanks for a great review!

  2. I have been wanting to read this forever! I love her adult series and I really want to check this one out. Thanks for the review! :)

  3. I've had this book on my TBR just because of the fact that it's one of my favorite books with a zombie twist. I'll definitely have to read it now, thanks so much for the helpful review!

  4. Great review! I'm always interested in what other people thought of this book.

    After all the media / online hype (like the white rabbit scavenger hunt, etc) I was super excited about a retelling of Alice in Wonderland *with zombies*.
    Sadly I was disappointing there wasn't more of a resemblance to AIW and I'm still holding a bit of a grudge.

    though reading your review, it never occurred to me that Kat was supposed to be the Cheshire Cat - looking back it makes sense :)

    I don't see myself running out for the sequel any time soon.

  5. i like the title and then the cover of book