Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
Author: Melanie Karsak
Series: Steampunk Fairytales #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings, Steampunk
Dates read: 25th – 28th July 2019
Publisher: Clockpunk Press
5th sentence, 74th page: Nonsense.
To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.
Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.
Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alic back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar’s mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is not problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.
I seriously love Alice in Wonderland. Or anything that uses themes and imagery from this story. And it’s moved beyond the Lewis Carroll original to something more. As time has moved and the many, many, many retellings have weaved their way into pop culture, the story has taken on more and more of a life of its own. Which is also probably why I love it so much. Each person’s take is amazing. Each aspect of the story that is focused on… but I’ve never read a steampunk retelling of this tale. Until now. And wow.
Every single moment in this story had an allusion to Alice in Wonderland. Yet, the creation of this world in a steampunk underbelly also made it completely disjointed from the original. I loved the way that these two ideas sit against each other. Alice is full of muchness (much like the original), but she’s also older, wiser and in a much darker world. The Queen of Hearts is also far more terrifying than she is in Carroll’s version. This separation between the two realities was just fantastic and it made me sink my nose into this book and refuse to get out. A bit like falling down the rabbit hole…
One of my favourite things about this retelling is the repurposing of the names throughout. Alice becomes the Bandersnatch, her father-figure the Jabberwocky and her love interest Caterpillar. They’re such familiar names and characters, and whilst I could still recognise them in the characterisation, they added a new layer, an extra something that was previously not there. It was so cleverly and seamlessly done that it would be so easily missed if I hadn’t recently been on an Alice in Wonderland binge.
Although this is an amazing retelling that just completely sweeps you into a whole new world, it is also a fantastic story in and of itself. Even if you have been living under a rock and had absolutely zero exposure to Alice in Wonderland, it is still something that you’d thoroughly enjoy. Actually, this is something that is almost impossible to put down. And I really wouldn’t suggest that anyone do so. It’s amazing! I can’t wait to read the next Steampunk Fairytales.