Review: After Alice


From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’s Carroll’s beloved classic

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

Let me begin by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, there lived a young boy, who, born out of wedlock, was abandoned by his mother on the streets of Prahran. His name was Gregory. The only things he had on him were the clothes on his back and the small thesaurus in his pocket. As Gregory sat on the edge of the dusty road, crying for his mother, his sadness radiated from the inner parts of his heart until his anguish seeped into the very pages of the dusty thesaurus. He pulled his thesaurus from his pocket and held it tightly to his chest, treasuring the only thing he had left in this world that had been given to him by his mother. His crystal tears made their way down his dirty cheeks and one splashed onto the spine of the book.

Suddenly, there came a loud bang, and Gregory looked up in fright. Out of his thesaurus was coming a foggy shape. It twisted and span in the air, until it took the form of a person. The person looked down on Gregory and his eyes shone with a devilish light. It became clear that this person was a god.

“Gregory…” it breathed, “my son.”

And from that day on, the great god took care of Gregory and raised him to become the author that he is today. That God was Thesaurae…. and Gregory is the descendant of the Great Evil God Thesaurae.

If I were to judge this book on plot alone, I would give it a ten. Definitely. It has the same slightly-off, quirky scenes as Alice In Wonderland, and it is so extremely creative. But. I can’t judge this book on plot alone, because I have to judge on writing as well, and unfortunately, the writing completely spoiled it for me.

The purpose of the little story above is to explain to you what was wrong. It was pretentious. Almost unbearably pretentious. It’s like he wrote a sentence, and then went through and changed all the small words into words that were confusing and long. For example:

A deity lolling overhead on bolsters of zephyr

Basically, “a god floating on wind”. Was that so hard to say?

Anyway, this writing style really stilted the book and it was just so hard to actually read the book. I was constantly looking words up in the dictionary and asking my friend (who’s also extremely pretentious) what things like “ambulatory munitions device” meant. By the way, “ambulatory munitions device” means a walking weapon.

I think that this writing style could be justified if there was a suitable target audience for it, but to be honest with you, I really cannot think of what audience would be able to instantly understand what an ambulatory munitions device is. Not my cup of tea, and I’m not sure whose cup of tea it would be either. Maybe I’ll pass it on to my super-pretentious friend.

Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion!

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 3/10

After Alice is out on October the 27th, 2015. Buy at your local bookstore.

The Info:

  • Title: After Allice
  • Author: Gregory Maguire
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperVoyage (October 27th, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060548959
  • URL: Goodreads

One thought on “Review: After Alice

  1. Pingback: Let’s Talk: Book Peeves Part Two | The Galaxial Word

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