Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

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….

There appears to be a little bit of confusion surrounding this book – namely people thinking that it’s going to be some sort of re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, only with zombies (similar to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies et al.) This is not the case, so if you’re looking for a faithful retelling this book is really not for you.
However, if you’re after a good story with a fresh take on zombies and a kick ass heroine then please pick up this book!

Alice in Zombieland and I really did not get along to start with. The first fifty pages or so really took its sweet time to get going. Yes ok there were zombies, there were scary things and ick factors and death, but none of that really grabbed me. I just felt disconnected from it and wasn’t all that inclined to keep reading. Alice herself wasn’t driving the story and I was really worried that this book that I’d been so excited was going to be a disappointment.

And then Alice got to school, and things got good. And when I say good, I mean really good. Suddenly there was a purpose and a drive, both for me to keep reading and for Alice to get up in the morning. This of course had nothing to do with Cole, fantastic bad boy Cole. Ok I’m lying, it had a lot to do with him, but this isn’t one of those books where we’re with the heroine but the real life and soul of the book is the hero. It was like the book found itself with the introduction of Cole. Suddenly there was drive, there was plot and Alice found her snark. She went from being this flat and not particularly likeable character to a ballsy and snark laden girl who could take care of herself. Which I loved. Now this could be that we’re supposed to see how disconnected Alice feels in the first section of the book, hence the lack of awesome, but if that’s the case this book runs the risk of loosing a lot of potential readers with a flat heroine. However, please please push on, because once she gets her groove back I loved her. In fact sassy girls are definitely in abundance in AiZ, which was fantastic. And the eye candy really wasn’t bad either.

I loved that the bad boy trope was taken in another direction. We’re given a group of big, muscled (very sexy) tattooed, partying, school skipping (highly sexy) boys, and yet all their terrible ways are actually due to them trying to protect others who can’t defend themselves, which I loved.

I love the uneasy and highly volatile relationship that develops between Cole and Alice. It was sexy and funny and I loved that he tried to protect her but didn’t stick her in a corner and tell her to let the big boys fight. I would have liked maybe a little bit more time with them getting to know each other, but the rest of the book is so action packed that I’m not sure where more could have been crammed in. However it sets this up really brilliantly for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to see how the two of them get on with some more time and space for development.

The zombies were intriguing. It’s definitely not what I was expecting and not a concept I’ve seen before, and it has real potential to be fantastic. I think I probably need a little more convincing and I look forward to seeing how they are developed in the next book. There were some really fascinating concepts and ideas explored though, and I loved this book for its individuality and originality. I’m curious to see what others make of the twist on the zombie trope though.

I had one problem with this book and that was the adults, most notably Alice’s grandparents. The dialogue between them, with Alice and with any boy that comes within a thirty foot radius of the house not only felt completely unnatural but horribly cringe worthy. I really loathed it, to the point that I tried to skim the bits with her grandparents for fear of needing to wash my eyes with soap afterwards thanks to the mental images they brought up.

All in all the book had a shaky start but quickly redeemed itself with a fascinating take on the zombie genre and some great interweaving of some of the classic Alice in Wonderland elements. Cole takes bad boy to a whole new level and I loved seeing the new kick ass version of Alice emerge. Definitely a book to read in the run up to Halloween.

1 comment:

  1. I recently finished this book and I completely agree - I wasn't sold on the book, the story or the characters at the beginning. But once school and Cole happened, I was absolutely addicted to this book!

    Perfect book for Halloween :)