Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1

alice in zombieland -gena showalterShe 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. But that’s all it takes. 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.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Don’t take a look at my rating and think to yourself, “Oh, it’s not that great. How can it be when she gave it a 3 or so stars?” It’s become increasingly hard to rate books with a 5 star system and I feel I wouldn’t be giving an honest review if I gave Alice in Zombieland a few more stars.

That being said, I did REALLY enjoy the book. Here are the facts about me going into it.

1. I’m not a particular fan of zombies. I never was. So my shelves are barely lined with zombie apocalypse kind of book. And I rarely watch shows/movies that focus on them.

2. I’m a HUGE fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. (Does my blog name, Down the Rabbit Hole give that away?) I think he’s an imaginative genius for the absolutely crazy things he comes up with in that head of his. Even his poems are ridiculous, with made-up words that have occasionally become real words in our modern society. Isn’t that the coolest contribution an author can have?

Gena Showalter writes about the most swoon-worthy kind of guys. And to think, in this book, there’s a whole group of bad-ass, tatted up guys who seem to be in an awful lot of fights. Why else would they be covered in bruises, like every morning? But of course, the greatest one was Cole Holland. My, oh my, he sounds like he shouldn’t be my type of guy. He’s got the bad boy angle going for him very well, as he’s the leader of this group of rough-looking boys. But somehow, he just IS!

Our protagonist, Alice (or Ali, as she prefers to be called), feels the same way. She was a nice voice to follow. I liked her, felt I could feel her emotions very well and understand her reactions to what she was going through. With her family ripped away from her after a tragic accident (caused by zombies!), she has a lot to deal with.

Then in comes Cole Holland. Or I should rather say, in comes a VISION with Cole Holland, right as they met for the first time. Isn’t that the perfect setting for a crazy turbulent romance to build on? To top that off, he’s not just a bad boy, but he has a line, a LINE of ex-girlfriends behind him. Warning signs should be flashing around him saying “BEWARE OF HEARTBREAK AND POSSIBLY BEING USED.” Of course, I still love him (Sorry, Ali.) With a premise like that, lots of potential romantic drama is for sure going to be ensued.

The secondary characters, and boy were there a lot of them, were all so vivid and different. Kat Parker, Ali’s best friend from day 1 after the accident, is the strangest yet amazing best friend character I have ever read. It makes me want to find a Kat Parker for myself. She’s egotistical and constantly breaks up with her on-and-off boyfriend, Frosty, who happens to be Cole’s good buddy. But at the centre of it, she’s loyal and strong-willed, with a secret she’s harbouring of her own.

So why couldn’t it be the absolute 5 stars I wanted it to be?

I guess the answer is just plain and simple. There wasn’t a lot of references to Alice in Wonderland. I know, that’s silly of me, right? But going into the book, I had REALLY hoped there would be more connections or references. There were some, don’t get me wrong. Just…it wasn’t what I had anticipated. It was still amazing! And I know the following books in this series would be better now that I have gotten rid of that expectation.

To end this off, I just wanted to say that the zombies took me by surprise. Yeah, Showalter could’ve left them as the stereotypical zombies that crave brains and walk among us to infect more human civilians. Starting to sound like The Walking Dead? I wouldn’t know. I never watched it. But, it wasn’t anything like that. They’re zombie GHOSTS. They are spirits and they are not so easy to kill at all. The thought behind building these Zombies 2.0 were well-done, and for a not-so-keen zombie reader, I think that’s what made me love the book more.

Overall Recommendations:
Gena Showalter added a strangely unique twist to an ever-present plot on zombies. With references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, this story of Ali and a bunch of (hot!) zombie slayers will leave anyone wanting more for the adventure and the giant fight between good vs. evil. The numerous secondary characters are all well-written and vividly imagined, seemingly popping out of the page to draw you into their world of zombie fighting action. The pacing is decent and Ali proves to be a very interesting protagonist to follow. I swear, you’ll never think of zombies in the same way ever again. I sure don’t, and I’m no fan of zombies.

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