Thank you to NetGalley and Red Rogue Press for providing me with this eARC (Advanced Reading Copy) in exchange for an unbiased review.
This is my first early release book that I’ve ever read! I was very excited when my request got approved on NetGalley. NetGalley is a website where bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and so on can request to read books before their release date in exchange for a review. It’s harder to receive the more popular books if you don’t have a big following on your blog.
It feels special to be able to read something before it reaches everyone else. But after reading this book, I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t deliver as much as I hoped for. However, I am happy to receive an early release and write a non-biased, honest review.
Title: Ever Alice
Author: H. J. Ramsay
Genre: YA / Fiction / Retelling
Number of Pages: 347
My Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (2 stars)
Synopsis: The story presents the well-beloved character, Alice, as a 15 year old in an asylum. She has been talking about Wonderland to everyone who would listen and her parents, worried about what people might think, decide to close her off and treat her from her delusions. However, Alice is willing to do anything to leave and agrees to an experimental procedure abroad. After abruptly changing her mind about this, she escapes to Wonderland with help from the White Rabbit, and ends up in an even more manic and whimsical world in the court of the Queen of Roses.
Overall Impression: I really struggled to keep on reading and had to persevere through sheer will power to finish it. The book didn’t make me excited to read it, I felt bored quite a lot of the time. The story itself took quite a long time to pick up speed and develop into something. At times, the story felt like it was really stretched out in order to fill up some pages. It felt fairly repetitive at times and slow going, even though there weren’t any hefty descriptions.
The story also didn’t make me root for any particular character. They were all quite one-dimensional and not very elaborate. Just a bit bland in general.
Likes: I enjoyed the new take on the story and the idea of showing what was happening to Alice after the years that she’s been back from Wonderland. Another thing, that I personally enjoy in books, was the way the chapters were written, with variation between Alice’s or The Queen’s side of the story. It kept a nice pace throughout the book. I also liked the ending, but I don’t wanna give any spoilers away!
Dislikes: I think I mentioned all the main dislikes in the Overall Impressions bit. The thing that I disliked the most was the lack of plot and the fact that the book felt very stretched out. I really, really struggled to finish it and got bored about half-way through. The characters lacked motivation and internal drives, were very fiddly and one-dimensional. In general, it just wasn’t a gripping book and I really tried to find some aspects to include in the Likes section. Characters wise, it felt to me that the Queen of Hearts, as a character, could’ve been developed so much more, consequently bringing more complexity into the story. I liked the hints towards her previous life and intricacy of her role, but it was overshadowed by the negatives.
In Conclusion: If you’re a big Alice in Wonderland fan, this will be a great read for you. This books allows the reader to explore what happened to Alice after her first visit to Wonderland and brings a very different twist to the story. But generally, as a fiction/retelling book, I wouldn’t recommend it. It was okay, but I struggled to sit down and write out this review, just because there’s not much to say about this book.
Are there any books that you really struggled to finish but still persevered with? Let me know in the comments!