ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: Wonderland (The Realm Series #1)
Author: Emory R. Frie
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing: July 30, 2016 (Emory R. Frie)
Format: Paperback, 300 pages
Source: Self-purchased finished copy from Amazon
“Brave, impossible Alice. Stop being so sensible.”
They think she’s mad.
After returning from Wonderland again, Alice Liddell has been sent to the Facility—an asylum specially designed for others like her. Such fantasies are no longer suitable for a girl of seventeen, or so they tell her. Everyone around her demands she be sensible. Her story has been twisted for the entertainment of children. But Alice knows the truth. She won’t be moved to sensibility.
And she’s not the only one.
Along with her new friends, Alice is thrust into a journey to save the Mad Hatter from the Queen of Hearts. But things are never so easy. Alice quickly discovers her fate is tied closer to her fellow Facility escapees than any of them could’ve imagined.
Stories weave together in unexpected ways as Alice and her friends find themselves deep in something that effects far more than just Wonderland.
This is just the beginning.
Wonderland was selected as the Indie book of the month in April for my online book club, Buxom Book Beauties. Prior to then, I knew nothing about this book or its author, Emory R. Frie. As soon as I saw the cover, though, I was sold! Can we take a second to admire how absolutely stunning the cover of this book is?! Hello, cover buy!
I ordered my copy of Wonderland from Amazon and finally read the synopsis once it arrived. I thought it sounded interesting, and it is not a big book, so I figured it would be a fun, quick read. I took far longer than I probably should have to read this book, and I believe that stems from a disinterest that set in fairly early. I struggled to get into Wonderland.
Speaking (or writing, technically) candidly, I enjoy what little I know about “Alice in Wonderland,” but, confession: I have never actually read anything by Lewis Carroll (shameful, I know). My only point of reference for “Alice in Wonderland” is the Disney film adaptation (1951), and I hardly recall specifics from that. So, the elements that I presumed to be pulled from Lewis Carroll’s work were almost like new to me. These components, though, were amusing and silly (aside from the Queen of Hearts and her followers, of course), like the Chesire Cat and other Wonderlanders and the magic, as they should be in a world like Wonderland. Someone else who reads Wonderland may have more appreciation for the “Alice” elements and how Emory portayed them in this book, but I could not definitively tell you which were direct references to Carroll’s original work and which were newly imagined by Emory.
The beginning of the story follows the main character, Alice Liddell, as she experiences a cruel place called the Facility. At the Facility, Alice befriends several others whose stories inspired popular tales, like Wendy from “Peter Pan” and Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I loved that Emory incorporated the characters that Alice befriends at the Facility! Never having read a synopsis for the second book in The Realm Series, I would venture to guess that the series will continue across the various fictional worlds that are associated with these characters. I think it will be interesting to learn more about these characters as the group traverses the realms, but I do not know how urgently I will feel the need to read further into the series to find out what is in store. Again, I struggled to stay interested in Wonderland.
Without sharing spoilers, I will say that I still have a few unanswered questions about the Facility and a mysterious person that helps set the ‘Wonderland’ portion of the story into motion. Now, there IS a second book in this series, Neverland (Kindle edition published February 2017), but I wish Wonderland did not leave me feeling unfulfilled from its lack of explanation of certain portions of the plot and underdevelopment of some characters and scenes.
For a young writer, I thought Emory did well. I felt like the plot was disjointed at times, and, again, I thought some elements of the story could have been explained more, but as a whole, I think she has a good handle on her writing style, which can only improve as she writes more and harnesses her craft while in college.
Overall, I liked Wonderland, but I did not love it. Some will likely find it to be a fun, quick read, as I had hoped, but it just was not my cup of tea. The book’s pace picked up as the story progressed and culminated in a defining action-packed sequence, but the slow start stunted my reading and enjoyment of the adventures of Alice and her crew in Wonderland.