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Title: Ever Alice
Author: H. J. Ramsay
Published: 1st of August 2019 – Red Rogue Press
Format: Digital – 347 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today I am thrilled to be bringing you my review of Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay for the #blogtour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads. Ever Alice came 10th place in the #BBNYA2020 competition and it was my favourite book I read as part of the panel!
I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors.
If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website here, or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 author sign up form here. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.
If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)!
Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure.
When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts.
Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.
Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay is a YA Fantasy retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I have never read the original book, but I have seen multiple adaptations are really enjoyed them, so when I got the chance to read this retelling for the BBNYA 2020 competition, I was so excited. If you know me, you know I love retellings, so this was the perfect choice for me!
As soon as I started this book, I was completely hooked and I couldn’t believe how unique it was, despite the fact that so many characters and events were also in the original story. I think the author did an amazing job of giving this world a great twist and her own flair while leaving the crazy, whimsical and enchanting side that we all love.
I was actually quite surprised by the first part of the book which took part in an asylum and it made me so angry that Alice’s parents had locked her up in an institution when she came back from Wonderland. I think if anything, this book really makes you think about what happened after Alice left Wonderland, but also, more importantly, about what goes on behind closed doors in these kinds of hospitals. This is a YA book, but I think that the topics, although very important to talk and read about, might be slightly too vivid for a younger audience, so I would say maybe older YA readers would be better suited.
What I loved the most about this book is that you don’t only get Alice’s POV. You also get Rosamund’s POV, she is the Queen of Hearts and it was so interesting having her side of the story. She is clearly mentally ill and thinks that the whole Queendom is plotting against her, and I have to say that it was clever the way the author put Alice in the institution and Rosamund in her Queendom kind of in a parallel because it really makes you think about mental health.
I loved seeing some much-loved characters again such as Ralph, also known as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter (William), although I did not like him one bit, and so many other characters. I liked the addition of all the lady maids, and I especially liked Sabrina, and also the Prince of Hearts. I think all these characters are slightly “bad” at times and can be disliked by the reader, but I was just fascinated by the whole new world and cast the author created while staying in the bounds of the Wonderland we all love.
The writing style was so fluid and I just flew through this book. I had to reread the final 20% this week to remember exactly what my thoughts were about the ending. Even though I had read it already a few months ago, the ending shocked me once again. This book was constructed in such a clever manner that it’s impossible to guess all the plot twists, you never see anything coming and I just let myself be swept away by the story, it was fascinating. The ending really gets you thinking, so if you want to read a book that flips everything on its head, is completely bonkers and makes you think “what?” multiple times while reading it, and makes you think about mental health, institutions and the worlds we create to escape, then this is the book for you.
Trigger Warnings: vivid depictions of hospitals/institutions, beheadings, violence, cruelty, murder, attempted murder, poison.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was a book that I enjoyed immensely and I will definitely get myself a physical copy soon so I can reread it. This was utterly confusing but also so clever and I just couldn’t turn the pages quick enough, the plot twists were all over the place and along with the characters, the setting and the events, I just couldn’t keep up with the craziness, but that’s good because it was so much fun.
As I said before, I adored the addition of the Queen of Heart’s POV, I think it really makes you think about her state of mind in the original book, and although I can’t relate, it does make you see her for who she really is, not necessarily completely cruel, but mostly someone who has been influenced, terrified, and has had her mind contorted and confused. From everything that happens in this new Wonderland, it’s not hard to imagine.
All the elements of this book came together to make such a crazy and fantastic take on the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland tale and it honestly makes you think for ages afterwards about what really happened. I gave this book 4.5 stars, you can find my full ASPECTS rating below. I recommend this book to people who like mind-boggling plots, ridiculous worlds with clever and whimsical elements, eccentric characters we already know and some we don’t, retellings and a bit of a darker take on stories. However, I must press the importance of checking the trigger warnings first because this book is a lot darker than the original tale and might not be suited to some readers.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe.
Stay tuned for more #BBNYA2020 blog tours coming from me!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – H. J. RAMSAY
H.J. Ramsay has loved fantasy ever since she was a child. Growing up, she was influenced by movies like Legend, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth as well as books and short stories, such as The Collected Works of Brothers Grimm.
She is drawn to fantasy with a darker side to its glittery world and the idea that things are never what they seem. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and teaches writing classes at her local community college. Ever Alice is her first published novel.
Atmosphere – 8
Start – 8.5
Pacing – 8
Ending – 7.5
Characters – 8
Theme – 8
Style – 8.5
Total = 56.5
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