Author: Mary Shotwell
Review: The opening to Weariland was amazing. It was suspenseful and tense with an absolute air of mystery surrounding it. It really sucked me in as a reader and I couldn’t wait to read on. We are introduced to Lason whose grandmother has died mysterious but we the reader are privy to this information, her grandmother was killed by tarmals; mysterious creatures that can shape shift from liquid to solid forms. When they arrive in London to go through Alice’s belongings they find the area swarming with police, Lason’s mother also tells her about the murder but from the opening chapter we also know Alice left a clue for Lason in the form of a text message.
I love how this book is a twisted version of the Alice in Wonderland fairy tale and it kind of reminds me of the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. When the white rabbit makes his appearance in a public library to talk to Lason I was so enthralled that I couldn’t put the book down, the rabbit tells Lason that her grandmother had been to Wonderland now called Weariland who is ruled by an evil Queen. She also learns her grandmother was in possession of a book that the Queen wants and Lason is the only person who can recover the book and go to Weariland, while skeptical Lason does listen to the rabbit and takes in the information he provides about her grandmother and her untimely death. As we approach the 1/4 mark in the novel, Lason is trying to wrap her head around her grandmother’s death, white rabbit’s information and what the cryptic text message could mean among other things. When she meets White again the head back to her grandmother’s house because Lason thinks she has discovered what the hiding place is, but both are still completely unaware that the tarmals are still hiding in the house, waiting.
As we cross the 1/4 mark in the novel, White and Lason have found what they were looking for but now they have a bigger problem the tarmals are hot on their trail and are out for blood. While they escape from the tarmals the pair end up in Weariland where things I feel are only going to get worse for Lason before they get better. I really loved the pace of the novel and how you fly through the pages so quickly. In the background of all Lason’s madness there is still a police investigation going on, and her mother has now noticed her disappearance from the human world all the while Lason is trying to acclimatize to Weariland and what she is supposed to be doing there. In Weariland Lason is referred to as Alice the 7th as she is the 7th person from her family line to come to Weariland. White is taking her to see the butterfly who knew the first Alice and she hopes to get some answers from him about how to get home. As everything becomes more and more mysterious in both world we are gathering a lot of question with very little answers and as we approach the half way point in the novel I was wondering whether the author will be able to answer all the questions in the second half of the novel or whether we will be left hanging and have to wait for a sequel.
As we cross into the second half of the novel Lason begins to learn more about her ancestors’ history and would she is expected to do to help save Weariland, but a part of Lason is refusing to believe and wants to go home. It seems that Caroline Lason’s mother knows about Weariland and goes to tell the police despite the fact there is a huge chance they will think she is crazy. White is either killed or kidnapped by the tarmals who take him back to the Queen but Lason realises now she has no way to get home and further still White has the book that the Queen wants so badly. Lason now has no choice but to help the inhabitants of Weariland. When we first meet the Queen of Souls she is as horrid and cruel as her mother the Queen of Hearts. When we go back to the human world we learn that Caroline’s brother Nicholas may still be in Weariland where Lason is now as she desperately tries to convince the police that her story is true. Lason faces more trails travelling through Weariland to find White and the Queen and meets some unlikely characters along the way. Nicholas has been a prisoner of the Queen for a long time, how long we don’t know as people aren’t allowed to track time in Weariland. but in the interest of self-preservation he agrees to work with the Queen in order to capture Lason (who he doesn’t know is his niece).
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel, Lason is heading towards the castle with the intention of saving White from execution but not knowing what dangers lie ahead of her. White despite his situation holds out hope that Lason will be able to fill her grandmother’s footsteps as this is the only way she could survive in this harsh and unforgiving land. As the Queen begins to close in on Lason, Nicholas is also working a plan of his own to find out exactly what happened to his mother and his own world he has seen in years. As we cross into the final section of the novel Nicholas has managed to convince Lason to accompany him to the castle, but as for what his intentions are they are still unknown but I have a feeling we will know very soon. When the truth about the relation between Nicholas and Lason is revealed, the alliances quickly change. The battle between the Queen and those that oppose is short only covering a few pages but it signifies something bigger in the entirety of the novel. But while the opposition won this first battle the Queen has another plan up her sleeve. As Lason and Nicholas prepare to return to their own world, White assured Lason that they would meet again some day as he and her grandmother did often.
The final section of this book was amazing, everything seems to come together and provide some measure of closure for Lason and a new future for Nicholas and Caroline but there is an ominous feel to this ending and hints at a sequel where Nicholas and Lason may have to go back to Weariland once more. Overall, I loved this novel and its hints to the traditional Alice in Wonderland story with a darker undertone. I also love the fact the entire novel only takes place over 9 days but the time differences between the worlds makes it seem a lot longer but the pacing makes it appear shorter. I highly recommend this novel to all reader who like re-tellings and twists on classical stories and I hope there is a sequel I will be able to read soon.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by YA Bound Book Tours
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Also see: Splintered by A. G. Howard