Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice Book 2).
4 stars out of 5.
The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. 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 or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King. The pieces are set and the game has begun, and each move brings Alice closer to her destiny.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Red Queen is the second book in the Alice Duology, you can find my review for the first book Alice here.
After a short prologue at the beginning, recapping the events that took place in the previous book. Red Queen starts directly after the conclusion that transpired at the end of Alice, following both Alice and Hatcher as they continue their search for Hatcher’s daughter.
While technically you could read Red Queen without having first read Alice, I wouldn’t advise or recommend it as your’ll get far more out of the characters and story if you already followed their dark, twisted and creepy journey that took place during Alice. And, Alice itself is a great read so of course you’d want to read it first and not be a silly nit! – Got my Alice term in! 🙂
This time around we step outside the confines of the Old City as the story takes us to a variety of other locations, the plains, an abandoned magical village, a forest, a village and an Ice Castle atop a mountain, meeting a plethora of weird and wonderful characters along the way. Including, a trio of Giant, The White Queen, her goblin, The Black King and of course The Red Queen of the books title.
The world building continues to be of a high standard with the various settings all being well thought out and detailed with each having unique characteristics making them individual. That forest comes across as damn creepy! Likewise the character development is top notch to, with thought shown by Henry in creating her own spin on the beloved original classic characters. Praise goes to the White Queen’s goblin, he really is a sinister and menacing character.
The book is well written and well paced with the story moving along nicely as we move from location to location and from obstacle to obstacle for our protagonists to overcome with a few twists and surprises thrown into the mix. There’s also the occasional nod to other classic fairy-tales thrown into the story, which is a nice addition by Henry, just adding something extra and allowing you a knowing smirk when you recognise the fairy-tales.
Red Queen is still dark and at times that darkness abounds from the pages but only in smaller doses and it’s not the visceral style, more a feeling of unease and foreboding at what’s next to come. The overall tone is lighter than the previous book. There’s less focus on outright horror and bloodshed this time around and unlike in the first book, there’s no really unsettling scenes that some readers may have found disturbing.
When I was reading and even after I had finished the previous book I never realised until I was reading the Red Queen but for a book called ‘Alice’ while she was technically the main character of the book she shared that title with Hatcher. From start to finish it was their tale, with everything that happened to them in the books present story arc, happening to them both, facing each trial and tribulation together. It was their journey.
Whereas, upon reflection, Red Queen is far more Alice’s journey and is more orientated towards Alice growing as a person throughout the book. Without going into detail and spoiling the story, for a large part in the middle of the story Alice and Hatcher are split up with Alice having to make her own way and fend for herself giving her the opportunity to aid her personal growth and development without being able to rely on Hatcher to save her.
In Alice, Alice had quite a few childlike tendencies, needed Hatcher and was at times, very unsure of herself. Whilst in this book, we watch her grow, developing her latent magical ability, becoming more confident and sure of herself and changing into a woman instead of the child she first seemed at the beginning of the journey. At the end your left with the feeling that the relationship dynamic between Alice and Hatcher has completely changed from the first book, gone is the meek and scared Alice to be replaced with someone who stands shoulder to shoulder with Hatcher as equals. Red Queen is Alice’s journey.
While Red Queen is the second part in the Chronicles of Alice duology, with the ending there is definitely the chance of a sequel being written by Henry somewhere down the road in the future. And, for me, well I liked the bittersweet ending.
Readers of a variety of genres, ranging from, fantasy, classics, horror, to Y-A and even those who simply like a good book. Along with someone just looking for something a bit different to read, will all find plenty to like in Red Queen.
A cracking good continuation of the story started in Alice that is well worth reading. If you haven’t already fell down the rabbit hole with Alice and Hatcher then it’s time you take the fall and join them in this dark and captivating retelling.
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