Child of Nod (The Balance #1)
By C.W. Snyder
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Alice wakes one day to find herself on the other side of death, in the corrupted fairy tale land of Nod. Unable to remember much of the events leading to her demise, she sets out on a journey to discover her memory and the reason for her presence in Nod. Unknown to her, the man responsible for her death, Jack, is on a mission to find her spirit and end her second life.
Alice takes flight, only to find herself drawn into the lives of those around her and the mystery permeating that place. From the humble streets of Elysium to the mirrored spires of Memoria, her journey takes her on a path that leads to a decision that will affect the fate of Nod.
Along the way, she meets a cast of characters that include a madman with a dark secret, her faithful companion, Dog, and woman made of memory. Together, they help her on her journey as she uncovers the truth of Nod and the woman behind it all, the Red Queen.
I shamelessly admit, that the cover originally attracted me to Child of Nod. When I read the blurb and realized it was a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, it was a done deal. Anyone who knows me or half follows the blog is well aware of my passion for retellings, particularly of my favorite classic. But this very fact also means that I hold some seriously high expectations when approaching such titles.
Alice awakes in the land of Nod to find she has met her end but cannot recall how. Her memories seem to be missing. She does the only thing she can and sets out to retrieve them. However, she is not alone. She is being followed, this much becomes clear. What she does not know it that her pursuer is someone very significant. Meeting an eccentric and at times terrifying group of individuals, she soon finds that she will bring about a revelation that could forever alter the land.
Was that vague enough? I do hope so. I almost feel like this is a story best entered blindly. So I am keeping this review light and highlighting what worked so well for me.
Boasting an ensemble unlike any I have ever encountered and offering a completely original take on a timeless tale, Child of Nod delivers something I feel I rarely experience as a reader. Not be confused with a child’s tale, this not so friendly rendition is unnervingly dark at times and brilliantly pieced together in all facets.
There is a feeling that we remember when we look at childhood favorites. It is as enchanting as it is inviting but often not without a bit of fear. Many favorites such as Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz offered some frightening moments for young readers. Here were are returned to those familiar emotions through clever narration and beautiful character development that manages to encompass the very elements we have come to love in such stories while successfully tailoring them to suit an adult audience with an added flair that will feel reminiscent of mythology while embracing the supernatural.
Multilayered, Child of Nod cleverly offers stories within a story through the process of character exploration and revelations. The result is a rich and complex read that is at times unsettling but also impossible to put down. Nothing is to be expected but the unexpected.
Fans of Wonderland, dark fairy tales and elements of horror will find this to be a surprisingly rewarding read!
*I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press & Netgalley for my copy. The above review is my own, honest & unbiased opinion.
Pairs well with a nice cup of double spiced chai.