I “met” J. M. Sullivan through Twitter, particularly through her monthly hashtag game #authorconfession. When she began tweeting about the upcoming release of her debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles, I was intrigued, but not especially drawn to it. It isn’t the kind of book I typically enjoy. In recent months, however, I have tried to make a concerted effort to support more small press and indie authors. The enthusiastic conversations surrounding Sullivan’s book brought it to the forefront, and I decided to take a chance on it. I’m glad I did.
When I decided to make this the year I focus on books by women authors, I knew this was one of the books I needed to be sure made my 2018 Reading Challenge list. I had to work a little bit to make it fit, but I decided to read this for prompt #40, favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016 or 2017 Popsugar challenge. It may be a bit of a stretch, but it works for the 2016 prompt – a book based on a fairytale.
Alice is unapologetically a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Sullivan has set her story in a post-apocalyptic Arizona. A plague has struck humanity turning people into zombie-like monsters known as momeraths.
Shortly after the story opens, Alice’s adoptive sister contracts this virus. Alice then goes in pursuit of a rumor she’s heard of a possible cure. So begins her journey though “Wanderland,” which is how locals now refer to an all but abandoned Phoenix, Arizona. Along the way she meets others who help – or not – to varying degrees.
This book is very well written. The suspense is great. And despite being a retelling of a classic tale, it is filled with surprises. Though I’m not particularly a fan of zombie fiction, I loved this book. The references to Lewis’s original might seem rather obvious and heavy-handed, but I found them to be rather fun. I’m looking forward to more from J. M. Sullivan.