*all reviews are spoiler free*
Author: Marissa Meyer
# of pages: 449
My rating: 2.5/5 stars
Honestly I almost DNFed this book which I have never done but my friend told me to push through and that it would get better at the end. And it did get better, but only slightly.
Okay so most who know me that Meyer’s debut series, The Lunar Chronicles, is what resparked my love of reading. So it would be a bit of an understatement to say that I was excited for this book to come out. But after having read it I’m kind of disappointed.
Starting with the thing that really kind of upset me, the world/setting. I was so excited for an Alice in Wonderland retelling and because of Meyer’s past success with retellings I had no doubts that whatever world she created I would love. But in this book it doesn’t even feel like she created a world. The world it self felt so mirrored to the 1951 movie that I couldn’t even find any difference between it and my memories of the movie. And I love the idea of taking themes from something and making it your own but in this it felt like she took the already well known world and threw her characters into it.
Then there was the characters themselves. And they weren’t inherently bad but they gave me no emotional connection at all. The only character that I felt a connection to was Hatta. Catherine, the King, Jest, and all of the others felt mostly underdeveloped to me. They had development that eventually came but I felt as though it came too late in the book and by that time I was on the verge of DNFing it.
I didn’t even really want to talk about this because it kind of annoyed me so much but the insta love that is in it was enraging to me. And in some cases insta love isn’t a bad thing and is fine but I think that it placed on top of all the other things I wasn’t enjoying just made it harder for me to finish. The progression of the romance felt really odd to me and honestly for the first half of the book I was almost oblivious to the romance.
I know that this is a retelling and that it is supposed to feel like the original story but it felt too much like to original story to me. I don’t know if it was because I was expecting it to be more like her other series or what but it didn’t really feel like a retelling.
Finally moving on to the pacing and writing style. Which are both things that I think were done very well. The pacing had it’s normal progression and was beginning to be rushed towards the end but by that point I was glad for it. And ignoring the pacing of the romance the overall flow of the book was great and made it easy for me to continue. Then there is of course Meyer’s amazing writing style. And while in this book I felt like it had shifted and was slightly different I still really enjoyed it. Her writing style is this great third person narrative that just has a way of making it easy to understand everything she means. I really love her writing style and it is probably one of my favorites.
While this overall was not a great read for me I have to say that I know many who loved it so it may just have not been my style of read.