Having read all of Christina’s previous books — which i’ve extremely enjoyed — i had very high hopes for this book: alas, it was not to be.
So “Red”, our protagonist and narator, is on a journey to her Grandma’s house across several hundred miles of the USA after a coughing plague has culled nearly all the people: basically it’s a post-apocalyptic survival story.
And the whole book is taken up with the first half of this journey until there’s an endoparasitoid-bursting-out-the-chest-thing — WTF!!! Remember Alien and Sigourney Weaver? Yeah, that’s what an endoparasitoid-bursting-out-the-chest-thing is.
The army turn up and the soldier guy who chases the endoparasitoid-bursting-out-the-chest-things admits to Red that the government made it in a lab. He lets Red carry on with her journey instead of taking her to the quarantine camp, and in a few pages Red arrives at her Grandma’s. It’s like the second half of Red’s journey didn’t happen, like she was just magically transported to her Grandma’s. And no explanation as to the endoparasitoid and why the government would make such a thing.
And it’s this one single, silly, ridiculous idea of an endoparasitoid thrown into the story with no purpose whatsoever that completely ruins the book — and also the second half of Red’s journey being skipped over as though it didn’t really happen, or was in a completely different world to the first half.
We don’t even get to know how Grandma has been surviving or anything.
Basically, the ending is utter garbage and totally ruins the whole story. It’s just a total nonsensical ending.
It just left me which such a disappointment. This is far below Christina’s usual standard.
Ho hum: i suppose we all have to write something crap once in a while.
Another great story from Christina.
I certainly feel rewarded for reading The Little Mermaid and The Fabulous Showman before diving straight into this, as they do give one the feeling and attitude of the age and thereby give this story a sense of genuine realism. So i would certainly recommend reading both before hand if you’re looking for a more immersive experience from this story.
Reading a work of fiction that contains real historical characters, in their real historical places and time, while only twisting the factual narrative where needed to make the fictional narrative fit was, at times, quite emotionally disturbing. One can truly feel for Amelia as though she is a genuine historical person, because all the people around her were genuine historical people.
For example, Barnum really did put a huge tank into his museum, but he put whales in it. And the way in which he treats the mermaid in this story is not too dissimilar to how he treated the whales. One can almost read this story as the story of those whales, and have Amelia’s voice speak for them. Sadly, the whales never had a voice, nor did they have someone like Levi to champion their corner: each successive pair of whales suffered awfully and died, entertaining the ignorance of the masses while nicely filling Barnum’s bank account. It made me feel genuinely uncomfortable, and moved in ways that an ordinary work of fiction simply cannot. So yes, do read the above mentioned two books before this, it really is quite the experience, and one i certainly recommend.
As with all of Christina’s books, the writing is wonderful, flowing, and, for me, perfectly edited. A wonderful read. It really does capture the feeling and attitude of the age.
Christina’s latest book, The Girl in Red, is out now. All aboard for a Little Red Riding Hood reading binge.
After my recent dive into Peter Pan’s history i was so looking forward to this.
And i can happily say it was everything, and more, than i hoped it would be.
Everything in the sense that it was up there with at the level of Alice, but instead of the violent schizo escaping from a high security mental hospital, rapidly withdrawing from her anti-psychotic meds leading to a total psychotic meltdown while running around town with a mad axeman on a murder spree, this one’s delving into the realms of psychopathy. Of course, like Alice you can just read it as a straight forward story and not get too into the mental health side of what’s going on, but it’s all there if you want some depth to it. Christina is one brilliant writer.
That’s everything i hoped it would be, the more than i hoped it would be was the similarity between Peter Pan and his Island and a person and place i found myself in several years ago. It was at times quite disturbing in how similar it all was, to really understand how the protagonist, Jamie, felt and to be able to put myself in his place, because i’d found myself in a very similar situation with a very similar person. But as much as it was disturbing it was so because it was so incredibly cathartic and i’m really pleased to have had the experience of reading this book, so thank you Christina for that as well.
On top of all that, i certainly felt it showed respect for J.M. Barries’ work, and built on that really well giving it all a whole new dimension to consider, one only hinted at in the original works, and i definitely recommend reading those three original books by James before embarking on this one — although this can be read as stand alone if you so wish, i just feel you’d be missing out a great deal by doing so.
For now though, this brings an end to my current Peter Pan binge, but i’m sure i’ll be back to Neverland in the future, there’s just too much been written around the original story for me to ignore for long.
I really enjoyed reading Alice and was expecting a bit more of the same, but this book feels quite different.
Whereas Alice had me feeling like i was reading the adventure of an escaped patient from a max security mental hospital who hasn’t had her meds and has gone into full blown psychosis; Red Queen read far more like normal fantasy, probably due to Alice finding her magical abilities in this book. Both books have been great in their own way and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful new take on Alice in Wonderland.
I certainly look forward to reading more from Christina in the future.
Here be some more “Alice and Wonderland” books.
Wow. This was awesome.
This can pretty much be read as the story of a paranoid schizophrenic who has escaped from a max security mental hospital and is rapidly withdrawing after being heavily medicated for years on anti-psychotics. It truly has the hall marks of full blown psychosis.
Of course, you can read it as a fantasy novel that bears no relevance to the real world if you don’t want to think about why people in full blown psychosis due to rapid withdrawal of anti-psychotic meds go around killing people.
Whichever way you want to read this, it’s a fantastic re-telling of the Alice in Wonderland story.
Straight onto Red Queen now. I’m so looking forward to more of Alice and Hatcher.
Here be some more “Alice and Wonderland” books.