Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave.  Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed.

From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined?  Please.  But that’s all it took.  One heartbeat.  A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right.  The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead.  To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland.  But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

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Review

When picking up Alice in Zombieland, you may be expecting a reworking of the classic Alice in Wonderland, with zombies, perhaps a more macabre twist to Wonderland characters, and a whole lot of dark, fantastical nonsense, like I was. In that case, you’re not picking up the right book. There are a few tie-ins with the original, such as a girl named Alice and a white rabbit in another form, but missing is the cat and other animals, the Mad Hatter tea party, and the tie-ins are mostly subtle to non-existent (unless I missed the others).

I was disappointed, but not wholly surprised, to discover Alice in Zombieland is yet another paranormal romance, with a paranormal threat, big secrets, teenage girls taking orders from teenage boys and the teenage boys being over-bearing (a pet peeve of mine)… Getting past Alice in Zombieland not being what is expected, other readers may come to enjoy an entertaining story. Personally, and what is probably obvious by now, I wasn’t taken with it; something of which I know is not only due to my unmet expectations.

I found the characters frustrating. Kat eventually grew on me, however her interaction with Ali not only brought Ali’s standing down, but there was nothing nice about Kat’s treatment of Ali. Ali accepting Kat’s behaviour and deeming her friend material because of it, from the outset, bothered me.

What also bothered me was the condescending treatment not ending with Kat, but extending to Ali’s interaction with Cole. To be fair to Ali, she did protest and stand up for herself to a degree, she wasn’t a complete pushover, but it was disconcerting how much she submitted to the treatment. In the end I think I would have found it less irritating if she was a total doormat, especially seeing as she ended up contradicting herself often.

As for the romantic part to the tale, I found it to be off-putting. There was something going on there, but there wasn’t anything going on, and no one was clear about anything, for the majority of the romantic story line. It all added to my frustration and dislike of Ali. As for the visions, to avoid spoilers I won’t elaborate, but I felt they did not contribute to, nor further, the plot.

Speaking of being unclear, there were sections lacking descriptions, which jarred me from reading. Small things took place, but there wasn’t a clear connection, or a lead up, and it fell more to attempting a guess as to what was happening or how something came to be. It didn’t read as mystery writing either as descriptions seemed to be missing, but this may owe to my copy being an ARC so I’m still up in the air with that aspect of the story.

What did intrigue me enough to feed my desire of following the story were the zombie myths. A few facets were borrowed from the atypical zombie legend, but others were reworked, and certain components even reminded me of vampires. I was curious to discover more about these new zombies and the abilities of their slayers, but unfortunately I don’t feel my curiosity is strong enough if it means having to follow more of Ali and Cole as well. Alice in Zombieland is not my cup of tea, but I can see it appealing to die-hard fans of PNR.

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