Editors: Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane
Year Published: 2019
Overall Rating: 3.75 stars
Wonderland was a magical anthology full of short stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. All the stories managed to capture the wondrous yet morbid whimsy of Wonderland as they were full of imagination and followed no rules. It was a mixed bag– some were amazing and some not so much. Here’s a brief summary of the stories and my thoughts on them:
Alice in Armour by Jane Yolen- 3 stars:
This was an amusing poem which I liked but it didn’t greatly impress me.
Wonders Never Cease by Robert Shearman- 2.5 stars:
“Just because love dies, it doesn’t mean you can’t go on.”
This story was about life, love and death and even though I understood it was trying to convey a deep message I thought the writing was confused and just generally muddled and I didn’t enjoy it.
There Were No Birds to Fly by M.R. Carey- 5 stars:
“If you follow the rules… you’ll live a whole lot longer”
This was so wonderfully creepy and mysterious and I did not see the ending coming. I liked how the narrator of the story was clearly hiding something and their intentions were gradually revealed. Also, it gave me very strong Birdbox vibes so if you liked that book/ movie you will probably like this.
The White Queen’s Pawn by Genevieve Cogman- 4 stars:
The White Queen’s Pawn was quite short and not much happened but it still had an impact. I loved how it slowly went from a seemingly normal situation to something scary and macabre!
Dream Girl by Cavan Scott- 5 stars:
This one started off in Wonderland, from the perspective of the Hatter, and ended on a very unexpected and refreshing plot twist. I loved it! Furthermore, I appreciated how the ‘Alice character’ didn’t fit the visual stereotypes surrounding her.
Good Dog, Alice! by Juliet Marillier- 4.5 stars:
When a girl called Dorothea calls her dog ‘Alice’, she doesn’t realise how useful her pet will become. This was another short story with an ending that came out of the blue but it was also quite satisfying.
The Hunting of the Jabberwock by Jonathan Green- 4 stars:
As the title suggests, this story was inspired by the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem and was about a young man trying to slay the Jabberwocky to earn his glory but comes to some unsettling realisations. I liked how the story included the whimsical nonsense language from the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem.
About Time by George Mann- 3.5 stars:
This story was about how our fears can affect our realities and the power of believing that something is real. It also had quite a sweet ending.
Smoke ’em if You Got ’em by Angela Slatter- 3 stars:
This one took Alice to the Wild West and while I liked the ideas behind it and the direct writing style it just didn’t create much of an impact on me.
Vanished Summer Glory by Rio Youers- 4 stars:
Vanished Summer Glory was a poignant story about grief, loss and love and it was really touching and quite saddening to read.
Black Kitty by Catriona Ward- 3 stars:
It was quite weird and I still don’t quite understand what on Earth went on in this one but I guess it gets credit for creativity!
The Night Parade by Laura Mauro- 4.5 stars:
This one was inspired by Japanese mythology which was intriguing and original. I also liked how the ending left me with so many theories and thoughts about all the implied things that could have caused the things that happened.
What Makes a Monster by L.L. McKinney- 3 stars:
What Makes a Monster was set in the author’s A Blade so Black universe and it was about some rather cool monster hunters. At the start I thought I was going to enjoy this story very much but it didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would although it was still good.
The White Queen’s Dictum by James Lovegrove- 4.5 stars:
This one had a lovely hint of supernatural and while I saw the plot twist coming I enjoyed the dramatic irony of it. It was based on the idea that ‘impossible things’ can sometimes be more real than you first think.
Temp Work by Lilith Saintcrow- 2.5 stars:
Temp Work was heavily based on sci-fi but I didn’t enjoy it because the plot didn’t interest me.
Eat Me, Drink Me by Alison Littlewood- 2 stars:
An utterly weird and confusing story and my least favourite in the anthology.
How I Comes to be the Treacle Queen by Cat Rambo- 3.5 stars:
This story was extremely imaginative with a strong narrative voice and I was satisfied with the way it ended. I also liked how it explored previously uncharted territory in Wonderland.
Six Impossible Things by Mark Chadbourn- 3 stars:
It was quite touching and nostalgic tale and I liked how it included the history behind the original ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ book.
Revolution in Wonder by Jane Yolen- 3.5 stars:
Another humorous, clever poem which concluded the anthology nicely!
Overall, this was a really interesting read and I liked reading all of the different takes on Wonderland. I’m not going to lie- I hate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the animated Disney adaptation gave me nightmares as a child. However, this anthology makes me feel like giving the books (and the movies) another chance!
Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.