The author of Alice takes readers back down the rabbit hole to a dark, twisted, and fascinating world based on the works of Lewis Carroll…
The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. 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 and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.
The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen…
The first in the series had Alice and Hatcher break out of a maximum security asylum for the insane after a fire and the escape of the Jabberwocky who could have easily have killed them had they not been so evasive and clever. This time around Hatcher is on his own mission with Alice tagging along, hoping not to starve before she gets to the end of her journey. And it has been a long one for her, dodging criminals and gangs, she and Hatcher might finally get what they want in this second novel by Henry, who showed us just how dark the story could be.
In Red Queen, the two of them have to put their trust in those characters from the original plot who most would like to forget in order to find Hatcher's daughter. The problem, if you think about it is whether she's in Hatcher's head or she's real. At the start, a girl is being told by Cheshire that Alice is much more than she thought, more than the insane girl who has spent almost a young lifetime holed-up in an asylum. According to Cheshire she has the potential to become a magician, something she has never thought about when she has had daydreams before. Unfortunately, magicians had been all but driven out of the city, and that would make her a very rare person with a talent unmatched by many.
In the first novel, we had already established what a dark story Henry had weaved, but Red Queen has Cheshire reciting what had happened to her before, that the Rabbit had intended to sell her to the Walrus for a nice sum so that he could eat her magic. I could remember the old story, which had only hinted at murder and cruelty, but this shows it in all its gory wonder. Here Alice has come to realize what kind of man Hatcher is. She knows he is insane and a murderer, but she has grown to love him just as he loves her, which is strange, but some literature has a way of having us accept what is on the page.
Now the two of them have a chance to change their fate and look beyond their pasts, hoping for a better life, though with Hatcher's plan to find his daughter, there will be danger involved. What should trouble Alice are Hatcher's mood swings and bouts of mania where he takes his wrath out on any inanimate object around (at the moment, luckily not Alice) as he thinks of what happened to his daughter. Previously sold to a merchant in the East, he has no idea where she is, but a need to find her and reunite. The truth of not even knowing he had a daughter in the first place makes him angry as if he had, he could have done something about her welfare.
Red Queen is a disturbing, yet interesting and well written sequel to Alice I enjoyed for Henry's interpretation of the Lewis Carroll story.