Saturday, 26 January 2013

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: October 5th 2012
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

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…
(from Goodreads)

I haven’t read very many zombie books, but seeing as there have been a lot released recently, I decided it was time for me to branch out! As Alice in Wonderland has been a story that has always fascinated me, I figured Alice in Zombieland would be a good place to start (and of course, who can deny the appeal of the very pretty cover?). I did enjoy the book as a whole, but it was very different to what I expected and I had a few problems with it.

First of all, Alice in Zombieland is a very misleading title. There is nothing Alice in Wonderland-y at all in this book, bar a few very, very minor things. So if you are expecting some kind of zombie retelling of it, think again. I went into it thinking there’d be some zombiefied version of Wonderland with a half dead Mad Hatter and other such things, so when I found out what the story was really about, I was very surprised and, I have to admit, a little disappointed. However, I think if you are aware of this fact beforehand, it won’t affect your enjoyment of the book as much. The story in Alice in Zombieland is in fact very interesting, and this is probably just a case of me not doing enough research on the book before reading it.

For me, the best part of Alice in Zombieland was the plot, and this was for two main reasons. Firstly, the different take on zombies and the way only a few people could see them was very interesting. Even though I knew zombies were bound to turn up at some point in the book, I was still questioning whether or not Ali’s dad was crazy – and you know what, he probably was. But not because he was seeing things that weren’t there – they were there all right. More because the zombies had plagued him for so long, they’d eroded his mind, made him paranoid and fanatic and unable to think about anything else. And who could blame him? After what he’d been through, you couldn’t really expect anything less. And now it was Ali’s turn, and she was finally starting to understand the reasoning behind her dad’s actions. She had to adjust to all these changes in her life so quickly and it was understandably a struggle for her. The zombies themselves (though are they really zombies? I won’t spoil it for you, but there’s a whole other side to this “undead” thing in this book) were also pretty fascinating and their nature made it even more difficult to fight them, which I actually liked, because I hate it when the evil creatures die too easily.

The second reason I liked the plot best, though, is because I found the characters a Lacking? I don’t know. I felt Ali was a lot like many other characters in other books, she was one of those pretty standard “I have no friends and everyone thinks I’m a weirdo” people who somehow still manage to always have at least one friend, a bit of a Judgey McJudgerson, looking at the way she spoke about others – especially girls – and I just didn’t like her very much. Felt she was a bit of a hypocrite sometimes and meh. I didn’t hate her, I mean, she was all right. But as a protagonist, I felt it was the plot that moved the story along, not Ali, which was a shame because I am very much a character person and I like to get to know and get attached to characters.

Cole was much the same in terms of likeability. I saw what the author was trying to do, the whole mysterious bad boy thing, but I felt Cole was a bit too controlling and I really, really do not like controlling or demanding characters (especially the way he just expected Ali to obey his every word – I get he was more experienced in zombie-killing and stuff, but still, what was this, the 17th century?). And I hate that Ali put up with it! I mean, she didn’t always listen to him, but most of the time her mind was filled with “Cole Cole Cole” and not much else. The romance was okay and would have been infinitely better had I like the characters more. But I just couldn’t support these two, I’m afraid.

The only other thing that I found a bit off with this book is that it was rather overly preachy, which I really didn’t find fitting in a book about killing zombies and making out. I don’t like preachy books anyway, but it was just kind of weird here.

Overall, I had some issues with Alice in Zombieland, but I liked the zombies and the action, so it was still a decent read. Recommended for zombie beginners.


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  2. I know what you mean, Liz! Especially with the Cole thing. I get what the author was trying to do with him with his whole bad boy routine but . . . he lacked what I love in a book's love interests. He just needed something more, you know?

    Anyway great review! I'm glad you still enjoyed the book despite a couple of issues.

  3. I agree, it is a misleading title. I was expecting a gritty and dark re-telling, but there were very for references to the classic. The character fell flat for me too, I found the mc's friends to be annoying and cliched. Overall it wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it overall. Great review. :)

  4. OH NO! I just recently got a copy of this for xmas since I'm still trying to like zombie books. I was really hoping for a huge plot and character development from this one. I have heard so many people rave about Cole that I was hoping I would love him when I eventually read this book.

    Now I'm sad because I'm a character driven reader and if the characters were lacking then I'll be upset with this one as well.

    Sorry you didn't like this one but thanks for the great review!

  5. The misleadingness of the title was so disappointing! And Cole, I just couldn't like because of the trying too hard to be badboy. I didn't pick up on the preachiness though. Great review :)

  6. For me, this one's a book I enjoyed much more if I didn't think about it too much. Like, if I really started thinking about Alice and Cole's relationship I felt kinda squicky, but when I was just reading it, I didn't mind. Ditto for the characterisation in general.
    Also, I know it's only a tiny thing, but I actually quite liked the zombie-fied chapter titles. That appealed to my (sometimes slightly lame) sense of humour. Though I do wish there'd been more Alice-in-Wonderland links!

  7. I don't know much about the story at all - of this novel or Alice in Wonderland - so I'm hoping I'm not let down because of my expectations like others were! However…I'm not too keen on these characters or the romance. I've read some so-so reviews so I've been a little reluctant to start reading… Great review :)

    Lisa | Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me


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