Unbirthday by Liz Braswell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Meg’s current ratings for The Twisted Tales series:
1. Reflection (Mulan): 4-stars
2. As Old As Time (Beauty & the Beast): 3.5-stars rounded up
3. Mirror, Mirror (Snow White): 3.5-stars rounded up
4. Unbirthday (Alice in Wonderland): 3.5-stars
5. Conceal, Don’t Feel (Frozen): 3.5-stars
6. A Whole New World (Aladdin): 3-stars
7. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid): 2-stars
We all know the story of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, but what happened after?
In this installment of Disney’s popular Twisted Tales series, Liz Braswell examines just that.
Alice is now 18-years old and it has been many years since her last trip to Wonderland. In fact, it has been so long that the memories are starting to fade.
There are times when she wonders if it was even real and just the vivid dreams of a little girl with an overactive imagination.
Living with her parents and her slightly overbearing sister, Alice’s favorite past time is now photography.
She has a wonderful camera and wanders all over taking candids of various people and places.
When characters she met in Wonderland start magically appearing in the photos she develops, she can’t help but feel they are trying to get a message to her.
After more and more images come up, it’s clear, they need her help. Wonderland is in trouble and Alice is the only one who can save them.
Finding her way back to Wonderland is tricky, but she eventually succeeds and is able to reunite with old friends.
It appears the Queen of Hearts is more out of control than ever, continuing her reign of terror and executing Wonderland’s citizens seemingly for her own pleasure.
Does Alice have what it takes to defeat her once and for all?
Young Alice may have been afraid, but as an 18-year old, Alice is stronger and more willful than ever. You’ll have to pick it up to find out!
This novel is definitely an interesting one. It felt very different than the other books in the series; heavier in a way.
It follows Alice after her time in Wonderland, so there is no twist per se, to the original tale. It’s more of a follow-up, in my opinion.
A large chunk of the story follows Alice in our world with her interactions with her sister, parents and potential suitors.
There is also a large political element, as Alice’s sister is involved in local politics and tries to drag Alice along even if she is not as interested, or has conflicting opinions.
There was quite a bit of social commentary on nationalism and discrimination against minority groups and immigrant populations.
These are definitely important topics to explore in literature, but I must admit I was surprised to see it here in such depth.
I have read six other books in this series and this is the only one that I can recall having that type of narrative element. Normally, I am all for incorporating such discussions, but part of me feels like it was out of place in this story. It sort of made it feel disjointed for me.
The reason I say this is that when picking this up, I was expecting a magical jaunt through a nonsense world, spending time with some characters I know and love.
While I did get that, the story switched back and forth between the adventure in Wonderland to a very serious, more modern world, where the pace was slowed down quite precipitously. It made the book seem like it was too long.
With this small critique out of the way, overall, I did enjoy Unbirthday. It was nice to be back with Alice and the whole gang.
If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, you should definitely pick this up and give it a shot!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.
I absolutely adore this series and will continue to pick them up for as long as they are released!
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