Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase
Published: 20.08.2015 by Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Retelling, YA
Rating: 3/5 stars
I received this book for free from the publisher through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Henry never believed his older sister, Alice’s, fantastic tales about the world down the rabbit hole. When he’s whisked away to the bizarre land, his best chance for escape is to ally himself with the person called the Mad Hatter. Hatter—an odd but strangely attractive fellow—just wants to avoid execution. If that means delivering “Boy Alice” to the Queen of Hearts at her Red Castle, Hatter will do what he has to do to stay alive. It doesn’t matter if Henry and Hatter find each other intolerable. They’re stuck with each other. Along their journey, Henry and Hatter must confront what they’ve always accepted as truth. As dislike grows into tolerance and something like friendship, the young men see the chance for a closer relationship. But Wonderland is a dangerous place, and first they have to get away with their lives.
While I have watched the Alice in Wonderland movies, I have never read the original tale. I’m not really sure I want to either, because many people seem to dislike it and I’m already familiar with the story. Anyway, this book takes place years after Alice returns from Wonderland and centers around her younger brother, Henry.
Henry ends up in Wonderland. That’s the start of this story. He never believed Alice, and always thought she should’ve been put in an asylum. Which, to be frank, I kind of understand. If my brother started saying he’d been to Wonderland and saw the Mad Hatter, a floating cat and a queen with a giant hat, I’d probably think he should get some help too. He runs into the Mad Hatter, who promises to help Henry escape Wonderland. What follows is their journey through Wonderland.
If I had to describe this read -or its story line- I would say it is fun. It’s just an enjoyable journey to go on. I smiled several times while reading this, although the puns are sometimes so obvious I rolled my eyes a bit. Like the ants one. If you feel like reading a fun and light retelling, this is the one for you.
I do have to say that even in the dark parts of Wonderland, I was never afraid or creeped out. It lack that creepy vibe. And the big “battle” was very anti-climactic to me. All that traveling and plotting, for 1/4th of a page of conflict?
Lastly, I want to say that the tone of this book didn’t feel completely correct to me. At first, I thought this was like a middle grade novel on the verge of young adult. But actually Henry is 18. Most of the time, they don’t sound as old as they really are.
So this story is about Henry, Alice’s brother. Henry is 18 years old, about to graduate and living with his alcoholic father. He blames Alice for this, a he believes Alice’s weird tales have driven his father to drinking. Needless to say, they don’t have a great bond. I have to admit that at times, Henry felt a lot younger than he is. I did like that he wasn’t afraid to admit that he was wrong at times. He apologized immediately. It’s not an easy feat to admit you were wrong, especially when the disagreement has been going on for so long.
The other main character of this story is Hatter. I did like him, although most of what he said is complete nonsense. What are you even trying to say? I feel the exact same way when trying to read Shakespeare. The meaning escapes me at times. Again, I felt like he appeared much younger than he actually was. And while he mostly tried to survive, he also had a set of morals that ended up being stronger than his survival instinct. I do love his wit though.
I quite liked the romance in this book, although it was sudden. The biggest “problem” I have with this book is truly the tone. It felt like an adorable and cute romance most of the time, and Henry & Hatter could have been 14/15. Yet they were 18 & 20/who knows how old Hatter was.
If you feel like reading a fun retelling of Alice with an LGBT theme, read this. I definitely enjoyed myself while reading it.