Reasons for Inclusion: M/M romance, bisexual characters.
This isn’t his sister’s Wonderland….
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.
Wonderland is once again under the tyranny of the execution-happy Red Queen, and this time it’s up to Alice’s brother and the Mad Hatter to save it.
The story’s take on Wonderland is both classic and new. Beloved and hated characters make appearances: the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, the Bandersnatch, even Alice herself. There’s plenty of wordplay and bizarre settings reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth, and of course, the original Alice stories.
Hatter and Henry travel through a mountain range scarred by bakers’ pastry-themed wars, a garden where everything is backwards, the Neutral Forest where nothing is too little or too much, the city of Ruin where the residents take pride in keeping the place as artfully run-down as possible. They spend some time on Earth as well, a place Hatter finds just as strange as Henry does Wonderland.
Unfortunately, some of the jokes get old fast, and the constant humor makes the emotional beats difficult to take seriously. The references to fast food and Star Wars are distracting, even if they allow for funny comments from Hatter. But that doesn’t last for long- the characters quickly get back to their quest.
All in all, this was a very fun book, full of the odd logic and unforgettable characters of Wonderland.
(ARC received through Netgalley)