Genre:

Retelling

Book Review

Insanity

InsanityInsanity by Cameron Jace
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 19th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 254
Format: ebook
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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.

Love, Maggie

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Book Review

Ensnared

EnsnaredEnsnared by Rita Stradling
Published by Rita Stradling on May 23rd 2017
Genres: Retelling, Romance
Pages: 380
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.
Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.
To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.
Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.
[This novel contains adult situations and is only suitable for readers who are 18+]

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the story arc is predictable, meaning girl falls in love with Beast and vice versa, Rita Stradling’s Ensnared kept me guessing nevertheless. The buildup to the final push of love between Alainn, the pretty captive of Lor, takes twists and turns that actually had me wondering if the fated couple would ultimately be together.

What interested me in this book is the fact that it is a futuristic retelling, complete with robots that are very intelligent. Alainn begins her journey into the fortress of the mysterious, scarred Lor, posing as a robot, Rose, which was created for Lor by Alainn’s father.

Keeping up the guise of being inhuman, Alainn soon finds that the plan made for her by the real Rose model is not what she agreed upon, which was to go to Lor in Rose’s place for a short time before being switched out for the real robot.

As she falls in love with Lor, pressure mounts for Alainn to maintain her robotic act. Alainn is a brilliant character; she is very creative when questioned about her seemingly human behavior at times. While in the midst of falling in love, Alainn is being manipulated by another robot, the original Rose model, which is in cahoots withe the newer model.

Alainn’s seemingly idyllic existence with Lor is quickly shattered as she finds herself caught in a race against time to not only save the life of her true love, but to reveal to him her true identity.

Love, Maggie