Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 19th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
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After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll's paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland's real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.
Well, I sure am glad I went into reading Cameron Jace’s Insanity, the first in the series of the same name, without reading the summary on Goodreads – had I read it, I wouldn’t have been so pleasantly surprised by the story’s plot.
I’ve been curious about Insanity for a long time, but had held off on reading it because I judged the book by its cover, which isn’t my favorite by a long shot. However, when I found the first three books in the series available for rental from the Kindle Unlimited library, I took it as a sign and checked them out virtually.
I was almost instantly sucked into Insanity, with its short and sweet chapters and quick action. As I mentioned before, since I hadn’t read the Insanity summary, I was very surprised to learn the series revolves around the maybe real Alice from none other than Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland.
I’ve never read Carroll’s original work, but I am aware of the basic plot points, which are touched upon by Jace in the Alice retelling.
This may be odd to some bookworms, but I very rarely go into reading a book actually knowing what it’s about. I generally don’t even read the backs of books or the insides of their jackets; I’ve read too many silly summaries, which have turned me off particular tomes.
Which leads me to a big reason I’m glad I skipped the Goodreads Insanity summary – I’m bothered that one of the major characters is referred to as ‘Professor Caterpillar.’ Granted, the character is the caterpillar of Lewis Carroll’s imagination, but in Jace’s retelling, he is NEVER referred to as ‘Professor Caterpillar’ exactly – he’s Pillar the Killer.
Anyway, despite my aggravation with the summary, the imagination that went into the writing of Insanity is incredible. Not only does Jace take the reader on a ride with Carroll’s characters in the modern world, the author delves into the personal history of Lewis Carroll himself, who also plays a role.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book is the guessing game played by the reader in a dance with Jace to figure out whether Alice Wonder is in fact THE Alice in Wonderland.
This is the first book in a while I’ve read decently quickly and without moving it to the back burner to start another, more exciting story. I am genuinely interested in the fates of Jace’s characters, who are those from Alice in Wonderland re-imagined, and I’m tickled that there is an upcoming eighth book.
I adored this book and am excited to continue the series. I give Insanity four stars…I would have most likely given it five, but there were a few typos I can’t let go.
For instance, the name of one of Alice’s sisters is different in one sentence – I wouldn’t have known who was being referred to had the actual name not started with the same letter as the incorrect one.
Every other facet of the book – plot, world building, character relationships, pace – fit into my reading style perfectly.
I very highly recommend Insanity, especially to those who adore retellings, as I have recently discovered I do.