Red Queen

Red Queen, CH


Title: Red Queen

Author: Christina Henry

Series: The Chronicles of Alice, #2

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: July 12th 2016

Rating:

Four Stars

The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash and hope is nowhere to be found. Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter: a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King. The pieces are set and the game has begun, and each move brings Alice closer to her destiny.

ā€“ Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Hatcher and Alice escaped from the hospital, and travelled through the Old City in search of their pasts and in search of a monster called the Jabberwocky who made the streets run with blood and corpses.”
The girl shuddered. “I know about him…What about Alice? Did she have a happy ending?”
“I don’t know,” Cheshire said.

After facing off against the Jabberwocky and the Rabbit in the first book Alice and Hatcher have fled Old City and are heading East to try and find Jenny, Hatcher’s daughter. Once they leave Old City, crawling through underground tunnels for days on end, Alice expects to find fields of green and somewhere peaceful where her and Hatcher can build a life together. Instead outside of Old City they find a burnt wreckage, the land has been scorched and Alice’s dream for peace and safety seems to be destroyed.

But as Alice and Hatcher head East they discover that leaving Old City and the Magicians there they have not escaped the danger. After days of wandering they come across an abandoned village; a place where there are clean clothes, fresh bread, and supplies all free for the taking but no inhabitants. However when Alice and Hatcher fall asleep she dreams of people standing over them; talking, threatening, and referencing a menacing White Queen.

“Alice thought, my magic doesn’t seem to be good for much at all. And there is no one who can help me learn, for all the Magicians I have met have been mad or cruel or both. I was mad once too, but it doesn’t seem to have taken properly. I didn’t come out of the hospital with any powerful powers.”

It seems that on the way East to find Jenny Alice and Hatcher have wandered into the domain of the White Queen; a place where giants guard an abandoned town, where goblins roam the forest, where the Black King burns everything he sees, and where the White Queen steals children from the local village. Then, when Hatcher feels the White Queen’s power, he flees and is trapped under her spell leaving Alice on her own to navigate the White Queen sinister traps and face the deadly monarch herself.

While the first book in the series, Alice, was very much a horror story Red Queen seemed a little lighter. It seemed to turn more towards fantasy with the romance between Alice and Hatcher playing a larger part. What I liked the most about Alice was the setting and the horror aspect, it didn’t shy away from the dark side of the Old City and it’s what set this series apart from the other Alice in Wonderland retellings. It felt like that uniqueness was missing in this second book.

…The Characters

“She’d spent years under the influence of drugs that made her think she was insane. She was only just learning who Alice was, what it was like to be her own self. She would rather use no magic at all than become some one unrecognizable.”

Alice, after facing her worst fears in the Jabberwocky and the Rabbit, craves peace. All she wants is a small cottage in the country where her and Hatcher can live their lives in peace. But it seems fate has other plans. After using her powers as a Magician to defeat the Jabberwocky Alice is trying to learn more about them, and when she loses Hatcher she knows she needs to master her abilities to face the White Queen. However there is still so much she needs to learn and no one sane who can teach her.

In the first book Alice relied on Hatcher for pretty much everything. She followed him through Old City and up until the very end seemed content to let him take the lead in all aspects of their hunt for the Jabberwocky. However in Red Queen, with Hatcher taken by the White Queen, Alice is forced to rely more on herself. It was interesting seeing her character grow; she forced to use her own instincts to tell her who to trust and what her next move should be, and she is forced to trust people she isn’t sure whether she can trust to get her closer to the White Queen and to Hatcher.

“The world gobbles us and chews us and swallows us,” Hatcher said, in that uncanny way she had of reading her thoughts. “I think happy endings must be accidents.”
“But we hope for them all the same,” Alice said.

Hatcher is very much the same character in this book as in the first. He is still determined to keep Alice safe; and even after the White Queen had taken over his mind part of him still knows Alice and still seeks to keep her safe. Even when he is far away he is never far from Alice’s thoughts; Hatcher is what drives her forwards, as well as the injustice done to the people under the White Queen’s rule. She wants Hatcher back and is willing to go to the heart of the White Queen’s kingdom and fight magic with magic to get him back.

Even though they are no longer in Old City, or anywhere near it, there are still influences that are shadowing Alice’s mind; be it Cheshire who guides her forwards in her quest and teaches her little facts about magic, or the Jabberwocky still trapped in a jar in Alice’s pocket, she can’t take him out until she has forgotten him and he is dead but it’s hard for Alice to put his presence to the back of her mind. The little niggling doubts she has in the back of her mind, telling her that she isn’t good enough, that she isn’t powerful enough, that she’ll never be able to save Hatcher, feel a lot like the presence of the Jabberwocky.

…The Setting

“There were monsters in the night but there were monsters in the day too, and monsters inside people who smiled and showed you all their teeth like they were nice.”

What I liked a lot about Alice was the setting. Old City was dark and horrific but it was easy to see the influences Lewis Carroll’s original tale had on it, mostly the presence of the other Magicians; Cheshire, the Caterpillar, and the Rabbit. Red Queen was likely supposed to be carrying on that story, showing us Christina Henry’s take on the Red and White Queen’s. However aspects of this story felt more like the Snow Queen rather than Alice in Wonderland; the White Queen in her castle, isolated at the end of the world, stealing children from the local village. I really liked this aspect of the story don’t get me wrong, but I expected more Alice in Wonderland influences and didn’t really see any of them.


All in all I thought Red Queen was a brilliant conclusion to the Chronicles of Alice series, granted I did have higher hopes for this story but I enjoyed reading more of Alice and Hatcher’s adventures. The ending was left open; it allows me to imagine my own conclusion for Alice and Hatcher but could potentially allow the author to go back to the world on day, which I sincerely hope she does.

What did you think of Red Queen? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Red Queen

      1. I don’t really want to spoil anything in case you read this series but the Red Queen only has a small part in this book when compared to the White Queen. It would have been more fitting for the book to be named after the latter I think.
        Yeah, but then you get it where the US covers are better than the UK ones and I end up ordering books all the way from America! šŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! šŸ™‚ I can actually get through books pretty quickly. I have a three hour round commute to work each day so if a book is around 400 pages or less I will be able to read it in a day, and yep it helped that I was dying to read what happened next with this series! šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! I used to read books that fast when I answered phones…some days I’d only get one call. Then they transferred me to a campaign that didn’t allow books on the floor, so I’d secretly read from my browser. Thank goodness I am going back to school and have the summer, but my mom just went to the hospital and they found a bleed in her brain…so it’s taking me a little longer because I have to take care of her until the angiogram on Wednesday, when they’ll hopefully find out what caused it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. God I’d love to be able to read books at work when everything’s donee I’d get so much more read. I bet you’re looking forwards to the summer now though, and going back to school with all the holidays you’ll get. šŸ˜€
        Oh god I’m so sorry about your mum, I hope everything works out for you and her! ā¤ļø

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Aw, thank you!! I appreciate that so much! Yeah, I’m looking forward to school but I do love the summer just working part-time and reading.
        Lately I’ve been getting sleepy while reading and it’s setting me back…have you ever had that? Where you’re reading a book, and it’s not boring or anything, but your eyes just start to shut? I’ve almost face planted into a book before, and I’ve dropped them several times from it! Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m jealous of your summer of part time work and reading! It’d be a dream for me. šŸ™‚
        I get in slumps sometime, when I just can’t be motivated to pick up a book but I’ve never really fallen asleep while reading one. Most times if I ever do fall asleep while reading it’s just because I’m so tired, which happens more often than not! šŸ˜€

        Like

  1. Oooh, kind of an Alice in Wonderland retelling! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this series before, but the strong setting would be a very big catch. When something that’s described as horrific actually FEELS horrific, it’s pretty great. šŸ˜›

    So is there a love triangle between Alice – Hatcher – White Queen? The blurb makes it sound like more of an adult book (Hatcher has a daughter? Who from?). And there’s a Black King! I’m intrigued now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the first one has more aspects of the original story in but the second is still good! It’s not a well-known series, and is definitely say more adult than YA because of the themes of horror throughout but it’s definitely a strong series in all aspects, not just the setting.
      Nope, no love triangle at all, which is a good thing in my mind (I don’t really wanna say more about Hatcher in case of spoilers but yep he has a daughter!)
      It’s a good series but the first book does have some references to rape, just a warning in case that’s not something you want to read!

      Like

      1. That’s all right, I just wanted to make sure in case. If it’s something you’re not comfortable with this book would be hard to read.
        Yep, hopefully you manage to find it soon. And I agree, strong series are a must! šŸ˜€

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s