Red Queen by Christina Henry

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Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2)
By Christina Henry
Publisher: Ace
ISBN13: 9780425266809
Pages: 291
Genre: Retelling/Horror

Blurb:

The author of Alice takes readers back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll…
 
The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.
 
Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.
 
The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen…


my-thought

Red Queen is the second and final book of the The Chronicles of Alice. This dark and delightfully contorted retelling pick-ups where we last left off with Alice and Hatcher. While there is a prologue, I do not recommend reading this title out-of-order or as a standalone.  For that reason, I am not going to be providing a recap during this review.

“Once, there was a girl called Alice, and she lived in the New City, where everything is shining and beautiful and fair. But Alice was a curious girl with a curious talent. She was a Magician. Do you know what a Magician is?”

The Chronicles of Alice easily fall within my favorite of  retellings. Fast paced, gritty and beautifully re-imagined, Henry gives new life and breath to a loved classic with Alice. I was filled with elation to immediately discover Red Queen was no exception and would follow in the shining footsteps of its predecessor.

We are now accompanying Alice and Hatcher on their journey to find Hatcher’s lost daughter Jenny. But alongside of our familiar heroine and her “somewhat” unstable companion, we are introduced to some new and rather eccentric individuals. This includes Pen the giant and the denizens of their current surroundings. Each encounter provides additional insight into Alice and Hatcher’s quest and the Red and White Queens. The author cleverly relies on this new ensemble to convey the history and fill in many blanks.

The world building maintains the previously introduced, bleak yet imaginative setting that manages to effectively pique the curiosity and encourage further exploration. While the environment is a more limited in this adventure, I did not find it to be any less appealing. It was well-tailored to the direction of the story and serves its purpose.

It is fair to mention at this point that Red Queen is not as dark and graphic as Alice. Do not approach this portion of the story expecting the exact same action packed experience or you may miss all that it actually has to offer. Here we are gifted with a rather unique but welcomed change of direction or turn of events. The tale is now very much character driven and the pacing has slowed but not without justifiable reason.  Through fragmented memories, we are exposed to Alice’s past and family life. Any pre-existing questions are answered and the veil is finally lifted from Hatcher as Henry thoroughly examines Alice’s relationship with him. This is Alice and Hatcher’s story.

The writing continues in that very straight-forward, crisp manner that I have come to expect with Henry’s storytelling. She effortlessly manages to balance all elements providing just enough detail to fuel the story but continue to play on and encourage the reader’s own imagination. The end result is an adequately pleasing conclusion that I would recommend to anyone who found appreciation in Alice.

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36 thoughts on “Red Queen by Christina Henry

  1. Glad you enjoyed it and you had the exact same thoughts as me, character driven which works well for the story in the book and yeah, it’s definitely not as graphic or dark as Alice but that adds to both books having a different feel and making for a great duology.😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy retellings of classic stories, especially when they’re darker (although I thought ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was already pretty dark :P) and grittier. It’s always interesting to see another person’s take on a fictional universe, especially with one as complex as this. I will heed your advice if I give this series a go and start with the first book. Too often I’ve started a series out of sequence and it just gets confusing. Fantastic review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Danielle! This sounds like a really intriguing duology. The world of Wonderland has so many amazing books and crannies yet to be discovered, in my opinion. It’s great to see Alice retellings.
    I appreciate your call out of character development taking a front seat in this book. That definitely attracts me! Did you like the change in pacing/focus?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your review. I’m a little off fairytale retelling right now, except fir finishing up Maguire’s Oz books (hopefully soon), but I will add the first titke to my looks interesting GR shelf. I LOVE the cover of this book!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well this solidifies my need…want…for these books! great review Danielle, you’re one of the few I’ll still read reviews of sequels since you know how not to spoil *happy dance* I have been intrigued by Henry’s Alice since last years Comicon & read a few reviews. I’m a BIG time Alice fan, it being one of the 1st real books I read & was obsessed with. This dark & twisted re-telling seems right up my alley as far as re-tellings go. Def picking these up soon 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, now I have to hunt down this book. I love the original work. This is a must read. Wonderful review.

    Like

  7. Gosh, ever since I first heard of Alice, I just knew I had to pick it up someday. An adult retelling of an excellent classic? I was all in. I sadly have yet to pick it up and enjoy this unique take on these characters! Your review of its sequel makes me so much more hopeful and psyched to try this out for myself. I mean… Danielle enjoying the darkness in this? That’s definitely an instant 5 stars to me!!! 😀 I did find out that the author is releasing another retelling (or rather an origin story) soon called Lost Boy. I might even end up reading that one before Alice and Red Queen. 😛 Fantastic review as always Danielle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pretty excited for Lost Boy! She did wonders with the characters of Wonderland. I cannot wait to see what her take on Neverland is. There is so much potential in the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys for a good, dark retelling 😉 Colleen Oakes put a nice twist on Pan in her Wendy Darling series. I will have a review of the latest book in that one next month. I do recommend giving Henry a read though, even if you start with the new book 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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