Series: White Rabbit Chronicles
Published by Harlequin Teen (9.5.2012)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 404 pages
Narrator: Natalie Gold
Source: I own it
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. 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….
Going into this, I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to like it. First of all, it was really over-hyped. Which tend to be the kind of books I end up not liking. Second, the negative reviews I read scared me away. A few things I heard about this book that made me not want to read it:
- Despite the title, it’s not actually about zombies. Or Alice in Wonderland.
- Gena Showalter tried too hard to make the prose sound like a teenager and it ended up sounding lame and forced.
- The romance is instalove-y.
The first point was half true. No, there’s not really anything about Alice in Wonderland. Although, it is a metaphor, because Ali’s life spiraled “down the rabbit hole” into madness. (And there was also a white rabbit cloud.) I said half true because it is, indeed about zombies. I think the people who said it wasn’t didn’t read enough of the book to get to that part. The zombies don’t actually come into play until the last half of the book. There’s a lot of mystery in the first half, so you don’t know what’s actually going on. I can see how some would believe there aren’t really zombies. But there are, I assure you – they’re just not your traditional zombies.
The second point may have been true if I’d been reading it myself, but because the narrator rocked so hard, it worked. It really worked. I loved Ali’s voice! Natalie Gold did a FABULOUS job at bringing Ali to life. I loved her so much, I wanted her to be a real person so we could be friends! She was very sarcastic, and I personally loved the way she talked. The prose was quirky and different, and for me it was in a good way. (Also, can we please talk about the fact that Ali loves Skillet and The Iron Fey?!?! WINNING.)
The third point: The instalove. Okay, so this is mostly true. Mainly because of the visions that Cole and Ali share. Also, their relationship was very hot and cold (mainly on Cole’s part), which probably would have annoyed me a lot more if I hadn’t been enjoying the narration so much. Despite everyone gushing about Cole Holland, I couldn’t get onboard the Cole train. He just didn’t do it for me. I mean, there were times when I did like the chemistry between Cole and Ali. But I don’t like the stereotypical aloof bad boy that’s all “you should stay away from me for your own good.” That’s getting a bit old.
Other than that, this book was perfect! I really loved Gena’s Intertwined series, so I don’t know why I was so worried about reading this book. Just like Intertwined, Gena made her story stand out. Most paranormal stories fade into the background in the sea of paranormal stories. Not hers! She has a way of adding her own flair to the genre that makes it unlike anything you’ve ever read before. Let me tell you, I am not a fan of zombie stories. In fact, until I read this book, there wasn’t a single one that I genuinely liked. This one is different. Also, they’re not your typical zombies. (I’m putting this next part in spoilers because the book loses a little of its mystery and intrigue if you know the answers before reading it – that was one thing I enjoyed about it, is that you have NO clue what the hell is going on in the beginning) View Spoiler »The zombies weren’t just undead flesh eating monsters, they were part of the spirit realm. Meaning you can’t touch them in your normal body, but they can still eat you. Creepy…but cool! I loved the idea of the spirit fighting. « Hide Spoiler I loved this little twist on zombies that Gena added in. It made it interesting and unique!
I looooved Kat! Actually, at first I wasn’t sure if I liked her or hated her. She’s so arrogant and conceited, and she’s the kind of girl I would usually hate. But for her, it worked! I loved her sarcasm so much! She was always so sure of herself, which would usually be annoying, but she had a way of making it funny. She was also a great best friend to Ali. She stuck by her side no matter what, and lifted her up instead of tearing her down. I think she’s one of my favorite sidekicks ever!
If you are skeptical about reading this book because you heard the same things I did, listen to the audio. I promise, you won’t regret it! (I’m super picky about narrators, but Natalie is one of the best I’ve listened to!) I get the feeling that I wouldn’t have enjoyed this book half as much if I’d just been reading it – mainly because the romance might have kinda ruined it for me.
As I mentioned several times, I don’t know if I’d have enjoyed this book nearly as much without Natalie Gold narrating it. I’m picky about narrators to begin with, but I think she’s one of the best I’ve listened to! She did such a wonderful job bringing the characters to life, and she had the perfect amount of inflection to add emotion to the story. (And the perfect amount of sarcasm!) Sometimes in narration you can get the characters confused when different people are speaking, but that was not the case in this one. There was a clear difference between each character’s voice. I was especially impressed with Kat’s voice! It’s amazing how well Natalie could change her voice to match the different characters.
Evil is here, it is real, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll be consumed by it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can win. We should win. But too many people are ignorant of the truth and without the truth, we will perish.
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5