Title: Alice in No-Man’s-Land
Author: James Knapp
When teenage Alice falls down the rabbit hole (or, in this case, from the luxury plane), she is just as surprised as “Alice in Wonderland” was in the old classic by Lewis Carroll. This re-imagined heroine falls into a land destroyed by chaos — a land that she foolishly believes her father was there to save. Destroying to rebuild seemed like a good scenario to Alice when she was sitting in the lap of luxury, but down there with the locals, it’s an entire new idea. With the help of two drug smugglers, Basilio and Maya, she fights through the foreign land to find a way to get back home.
This dystopic young adult book was a very good read and was full of action! It’s rare we see a heroine who has everything, nowadays. The trend in YA seems to lean more towards poor heroines who fight to the top, but the tale is quite reversed in this novel. From the first few chapters, the readers can feel Alice’s pure repulsion of the world surrounding her. She’s not used to the dirt, the desperation, the constant lack of signal to make a simple phone call that could save her life, but she must quickly adapt to her condition if she is to survive.
I felt a bit of Anthony Burgess’s “A Clockwork Orange”’s influence in this book, although it might just be me. Basilio and Maya, like most inhabitants of the land, speak in slang. You can figure out what they’re saying pretty well, and their rough speech even grew on me by the end of the book. They were very well crafted characters, and you really want all three of them to get the hell out of that place. By the middle of the book, I was rooting for all three of them.
The world building was very good! There was a little piece of insight on worldwide news at every start of the chapters, and they were very fun to read. For instance, you read about how people in the destroyed sections of land would eat each other, and then you could contrast the lie with what Alice was experiencing. It makes you reflect on how much power the media can have.
This book is a solid four stars, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested by the synopsis. The similarities with “Alice in Wonderland” pretty much end with what was mentioned above, however, so don’t expect a pure retelling of the classic. Nevertheless, it was a very smart way to twist the concept!
I would like to thank Curtis Brown Unlimited, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.