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Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Friday, November 09, 2012 § 3 Comments

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: September 25, 2012
ISBN-10: 0373210582
ISBN-13: 9780373210589
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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...

My Review:
For most of her life, Alice Bell has lived under a close watch by her father. He insisted that evil was out there; that there were monsters. Their family were never allowed to go out at night, and she had been taught how to fight at a young age, in case anything happened. Alice never believed him... until one day, after insisting that the family go out to watch her sister's dance recital, a tragic accident happens that leaves Alice completely alone. It turns out her father wasn't lying. There were monsters, and Alice had seen them with her own eyes. Now, she's moved and living with her grandparents, goes by Ali, and is pushed into the ever-exciting world of high school, where's she's now free to live the life she had never really known, all the while keeping the secret of what she saw the night her family died. Little did she know that there might be others like her out there, and her life would change much more than she thought it would.I had just finished reading Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem and was still reeling from it when I started this book. So I was going into it expecting another take, this time of one on my favourite tales, Alice in Wonderland. ...It has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. Well, there are some references and allusions mixed in, but don't expect it to be a modern-day version of Lewis Carroll's classic.

With that aside, I was quite pleased with how the story went. I didn't go crazy over it or anything, but I couldn't put it down. The writing style was engaging and it was all paced nicely. The titles for each chapter had a little reference to Wonderland, which was kind of cool. The zombies in this book were way different than the usual. I thought it was done well, it's just so different that it shocked me something fierce.

There were a lot of characters in this book. I just need to pick on a few... at length. Kat, Ali's new BFF annoyed the living hell out of me when they first met. Ali's entire family just died, she was still in the hospital, and this girl comes in and goes on and on about her "man-whore" of a boyfriend and this "hobag" named Rina. Then she became super awesome as the book went on and now she's probably my favourite. She was a great comic relief to this otherwise intense story, and I'm glad that there ended up being much, much more to her than meets the eye. Our protagonist, Alice, on the other hand... I liked her in the beginning, especially her relationship with her sister Emma, then I got over her pretty quickly. I understand her angst and pain over losing her family, but she became... how do I put this nicely... she became kind of a bitch. And in a short period of time, too. Like where did that come from? Then there was Cole, the love interest. There's a line in the book where Ali says that every girl likes Cole; if they say they don't, then they're lying. I can dig that, sure. But he was described as being muscley, bruised and tatted up with violet eyes... his friends were described in the same style (some even had house arrest anklets, which just had to be pointed out each time for each different guy, just to show how dangerous they were, obviously). The picture I drew up in my head made me laugh and at the same time hope I never ran into people that looked like that out of fear of having the living crap beat out of me for doing something as simple as blinking in their direction. Also, I get that Ali was very, very attracted to Cole, but the narrative when it came to him was 90% focused on how he looked. Other than him being super hot and oh-so-badass on paper, though? I don't know, nothing really stood out about him. He was also kind of a bossy-boots. Needed to relax a little bit. This always happens to me; I find the side characters more interesting than the mains when it comes to book series. There were the others in Cole's group like Mackenzie, Bronx, Frosty (no, seriously, that's actually what they call him), then Kat's friends Reeve, Poppy, Wren, and a whole slew of others. I hope that in the next books, we get to find out a bit more about some of them.

The first half of the book was very high school clique-y for a zombie book, but hey. It can't be all about fighting zombies. It was kind of nice to see Ali living a regular high school life after all the years of isolation because of her father's fears. There was a lot of romance, and it covered the beginning of her and Cole's relationship and followed their evolution at a nice pace. They had some pretty steamy scenes, too, which worked, but it was kind of shocking to have it all shoved in my face early on. It's not necessarily insta-love between them, but you could tell that they were going to be attached at the hip by the end of it. The second half was better in terms of action, and as always, the plot twists happened here. I really liked those twists in the story near the end; I would have never seen them coming at all. I won't mention them here, but if you're planning on picking it up, you'll know what I'm talking about when you get to them.

I really, really wanted to absolutely love this book. I saw so much hype surrounding it, the title was a play on Alice in Wonderland and the synopsis made it sound really awesome. But honestly, I was underwhelmed most of the time and there were some aspects of the book that just confused me. Showalter's take on zombies threw me off the most. Not in a bad way at all -- it was actually really creatively done and very refreshing. I guess I'm just so used to the flesh-eating, grave-crawling, decayed zombies that we're so used to hearing about. Also maybe a little too complex for my brain to handle (or that could just be from me reading it at night all the time right before bed. Pretty sure I actually fell asleep one night mid-read just because I was so tired). I think I set up such high expectations, as well. Note to self: try not to. If you're into teen paranormal romance stories, though, this would be for you. Overall, this was a quick read, held my interest, and was a nice take on the whole zombie genre.

My rating:

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Buy this book:
IndieBound.org | Amazon.com | Indigo.ca

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