Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family.
She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
So, modern Alice in Wonderland, a distant relative of the original Alice, forced to live out the curse of hearing plants talk and have everyone think you're crazy. Firstly, I loved the concept, I thought it was done really well, with the madness and magic of Wonderland seeping into the modern world. Second, the characters: Alyssa was one bad ass heroine and she had some wicked support from long-time crush Jeb, Wonderland native Morpheus, her parents, and her best friend. And third, the whole series was full of fantastical, beautiful descriptions of the madness.
Alyssa was really cool, proper punk girl, not to mention a great heroine. She thought for herself, made mistakes, had wicked adventures but also needed saving sometimes. Apart from saving Wonderland from the evil Queen Red, Allie also had two gorgeous guys to choose between. Personally, I totally fell head over heels for Morpheus; I would have picked him in a heartbeat but I could understand why Allie wanted Jeb and her human life. The way both guys portrayed each side of Allie was done really well, it made it feel less like a love triangle for the sake of it. Jeb was a great hero and so protective of Allie but didn't want her to have that life; Morpheus on the other hand might have nearly always had some hidden motive but he really did want what was best for Wonderland, and in turn Allie. He encouraged her madness and magic while Jeb was scared of it overpowering her.
The second book really felt like a filler book, even though we learned a lot more about Wonderland and Allie's mum. The series really should be taken as a whole though, as Allie's adventures got crazier, she progressed with her powers and we got to know the mad characters. I especially loved how the story was a blend of Lewis Carroll's original work and how it had morphed through a little girl's eyes, the truly disturbing being tinted by innocence. But Alyssa isn't innocent anymore and now she's got to really understand her role in saving Wonderland. All in all, it was a great trilogy, with real development in Allie and her heroes and family, coming to terms with the truth and their history with Wonderland.