Mad About the Hatter

Mad About the Hatter - Dakota Chase

[I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A slightly different take on Wonderland, with a highschooler character instead of a little girl, and with Alice (and her brother) as contemporary young people. Not the usual Wonderland, but why not? The world had that delicious, in a nonsensical, atmosphere, with its inner "logics" that appears silly at first, yet also holds its own explanation when you think about it. That's something I had liked in Carroll's story: how much "wonder" is in fact governed by its own rules, if you care to dig deeper and have a look at them.

However, this novel didn't accomplish much in the end. It was more light-hearted than I had expected, and the dangers the characters had to face never felt really prominent. The Red Queen and her guards could've been much more of a threat, but never were. The action ended up being mostly Henry and Hatter wandering around (in dangerous areas that didn't feel as wonderful and at the same time dangerous as they did in the original novel), with a thin enough plot, all things considered. A bit of a twist after the secons third, sure... and that was all.

I didn't care much for Henry either, who didn't seem to have much of a personality, and looked more the pouting teenager on the verge of throwing tantrums (at least the Red Queen's were to be expected). The mutual attraction between him and Hatter was cute, but... nothing more. Barely any character development here, and not the kind of relationship I thought I'd find here. It also hovered too much between actual romance and barely-touched-upon romance, which in turn made it a weird mix: either too much or not enough. As if, past some point, the novel couldn't decide whether to take things further or not.

A few brain farts as well when it came to the writing style: at times emulating the original tale's, at others much too close to spoken modern style. The clash between both wasn't very pleasant.

Conclusion: cute, fluffy, and a nice read if you don't want to think too much. While readable, it was nothing exceptional.