Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland

ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND
(White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Gena Showalter
Paranormal Young Adult
404 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available September 25th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

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….


MY THOUGHTS
As she does so effortlessly with her adult Lords of the Underworld series, Ms. Showalter impeccably combines darkness and humor in her newest young adult series; crafting a world that becomes all the more terrifying the more we learn about it, but also filling it with individuals from whom charm and wit wafts in delightful waves. Her protagonists are fierce and determined, tragedy marking each and every one of them with permanent physical and emotional scars, but instead of succumbing to their pain they instead forcefully remove themselves from Death’s loving embrace, shoving his arms away and continuing on with life despite his constant presence by their sides. Making the battle to remain free of Death’s clutches difficult is Ms. Showalter’s take on zombies, a fascinatingly horrifying version of the living dead who wage their war on the spiritual plane rather than the physical one, and we’re easily swept away in their macabre tide.

Alice is a standout heroine, bolstered after the death of her family by an equally standout character in best friend Kat, the two of them causing many an unladylike snort to escape our lips as the banter between them flies back and forth at records speeds. Despite the pain of learning her father’s rantings were not those of man losing his grip on reality, but rather those of a man of sound mind and body fighting to protect his family, she never crumbles or despairs of her past mistakes, instead she vows to join the fight as a way of honoring his memory. Though Cole is intimidating and has the type of personality that easily swallows people whole, she never once backs down from him, seeing his demands and orders and raising him a constant barrage of questions about her newly discovered supernatural world.

Cole is cause for a bit of concern initially, his bad-boy status and Ali’s intense draw to him instantly setting off warning bells in our heads that suggest he might be the type of brooding love interest we’ve seen again and again. Our unease continues with some soulful glances across a crowded cafeteria and some stalker-like tendencies, but once he and Ali clear the air between them on the zombie front, he morphs into a character all his own, shedding the initial clichés and leaving them in a rumpled pile at his feet. Ms. Showalter has a gift for creating extraordinarily sexy male characters–men who practically singe the pages with the heat they throw off– and Cole is certainly no exception. His more intimate moments with Ali are enough to have us getting up to drop the air conditioning down a few degrees before continuing, but with the sensual side of him also comes the emotional side, combining to ensure we never have cause to doubt he’s anything other than genuine in his pursuit of Ali.

Though we’re definitely left with a few general questions as to how the zombies in this world function and what role our villains so desperately want them to play, they’re questions we expect to have left at the end of a first installment, and we’re content when we reach the final page to wait and see what Ms. Showalter will bring to the table moving forward. A monstrously entertaining beginning, Alice in Zombieland has readily claimed a spot on my shelf of favorites.

Rating: 4.5/5

52 comments:

  1. Meep! Sounds great! Can't wait until I can read it!

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  2. *squeals* I know right?? Awesometastic!! I loved Alice and I also loved that she wasn't broken after loosing her family. I agree, Cole could have been cliché but was not! Btw, now that I read your review I totally forgot about this kissing in the hallway scene? Was it revealed why this happened?

    Anyway, I LOVED this book!

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    1. I don't think it was revealed why the hallway scene happened or any of their "prophetic" scenes. Maybe that will happen in book 2:) Can't wait!

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  3. Pampmapampam.. So jealous you got to read this, heh. Want to get my hands on this book ASAP. Beautiful review, girl! Thanks you for this :)

    Siiri

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    1. You're welcome, glad you enjoyed it! And you only have to wait one more day:)

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    2. Oh. My. God. I loved this book!! Ugh, I want the sequel so bad already, it's crazy. My first zombie book and even though it wasn't exactly steam punk, I really, really enjoyed this. Thanks again for this review :)

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  4. Jenny, this sounds SO good! I haven't been very interested in it before since I don't like Alice in Wonderland, but it seems as if I'm definitely missing out on something. I'll have to pick this one up soon for sure! Brilliant review, dear!(:

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    1. I'm actually not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan either, so don't worry about that! The Alice in Wonderland aspect is extremely subtle, with only a white rabbit and her name to allude to it really. And the whole concept of being in a different world of course:)

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  5. I cannot wait to read this!!! I have it on my shelf!! I've heard a lot about this Cole! He better live upto my expectations now :P

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

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  6. I've been so excited for this book but some people had some unsavory comments about it, and I was let down by some of the aspects not being what I wanted them to be. However, I still plan to read it and hopefully enjoy it, as I do with all of Gena's work!

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    1. It's definitely going to be one of those books that inspires differing opinions:) Some people, like me, will love Cole, and I'm sure a lot of people will find him dark and brooding and won't care for him. I went in wanting to be entertained, and I was, so that was more than enough for me!

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  7. What a great review! I think I am going to wait for the 2nd one to come out before picking this one up. I have heard there won't be enough Zombie action in it for me but that everyone has a feeling that changes book 2. I have heard Cole is quite the little hottie though---*sigh* they always have to be so stinking young LOL

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    1. See, the lack of zombie action is a plus for me! I don't care for zombies at all, but I liked these ones since they fought in the spiritual realm and weren't actually eating body parts and what not. Very cool. And creepy.

      And Cole is definitely a hottie. Seriously.

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  8. Jenny!!! I've missed reading your awesome reviews and I'm glad I dropped by on your blog on another fantastic one! I've been reading this book for a while now, despite not enjoying as much as you did, I enjoyed reading which parts stood out and worked out a lot more for you. I have to agree with you Cole is a character who singes the pages with the heat he throws off ;) Another wonderful review Jenny! :)

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    1. I know not everyone will love this as much as I did, and I was worried for the first several chapters that it was going to be a "there's a hot new boy with an instant connection to the heroine" situation, and while there was that, I thought it changed enough once Alice was aware of the zombies that I could settle in and enjoy the two of them together:)

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  9. Hmm, the synopsis doesn't quite grab me and I'm not a big fan of zombies so I'm a bit unsure of picking this one up. The lack of explaination of what the villians want to do and how the zombies function has me worried. I think I'll still this to the maybe pile for now. Glad you really enjoyed it, Jenny!

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    1. I'm not a big fan of zombies either - not even a little - but I really liked her take on them. They were creepy without being utterly terrifying, and her books always have humor in them which balances out some of the darkness:)

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  10. Ooooh...men who singe off the page. That creates quite an image. Definitely makes me want to read this book :-) Did you read her other YA series? I heard mixed things about it.

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    1. YESSSSSS. Cole is hot. Hot I say! I read the first 2 books of her other YA series and liked it, but there was a lot going on in those books and it was challenging to keep up at times. I much prefer this series.

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  11. Okay, so I've now seen both GOOD and NOT-SO-GOOD reviews of this book (just today, actually), and I'm CURIOUS to read it, just to see where I fall. (I also have apparently DEVELOPED an AFFLICTION for using ALL CAPS. Mondays have a WEIRD effect on me.)

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  12. Oh my gosh "men who practically singe the pages with the heat they throw off" I need to meet this Cole! This sounds like a wonderful start to a promising series. I must pick this up. Wonderful review Jenny. :)

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    1. Yes, yes you do Rachel. Cole is delicious. And there's no love triangle. Win.

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  13. I am so crazy excited to get my hands on this!! And Cole? Sounds absolutely delicious!!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  14. Oh love it! Haha, ok so zombies freak me out! But I do like reading books about them

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    1. Fear not, zombies freak me out too, but these guys are a bit different since they're more like ghosts - only certain people can see them, and they don't physically consume people, it's more a consuming of a person's essence.

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  15. I'm not too much a fan of zombies but this sounds like it might be one worth checking out!

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    1. I'm not either, believe me! I avoid zombie stories usually, but I really enjoyed this one:)

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  16. I plan on making this my first Gena Showalter book :) I've heard that this one doesn't really resemble Alice in Wonderland but it still sounds like it has a really fun plot. And, I'm glad Cole doesn't turn out to be a cliched YA bad boy.

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    1. YAY! While I loved this book, I do prefer her adult books, mainly her Lords of the Underworld series, I hope you give those a try if you like paranormal romance!

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  17. *cries and throws a fit* Okay, the tantrum of jealousy is now out of the way... ;)

    Oh I've been wanting to read this one so much! Of course, I was also nervous that it would totally fail and leave me wanting, but now that you've reviewed it... I'm totally drooling over this one now. ACK! I don't even mind the questions lingering at the end! As you say, it is what you would expect from a series. *sigh*

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    1. I'm sure it will leave some people wanting, but I just had fun reading it. I forgot to read it critically as I sometimes do with review books, and I got sucked right into the story. And Cole? So added to the harem Melissa. For serious.

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  18. I am with Melissa crying and throwing a fit for months trying to get a copy of this....I am a Showalter virgin, yes Jenny I hear your gasping. I endeavor to read this soon! I can't wait to meet Alice and I can live with a few lingering questions! I knew you would love this being a
    Showalter fan!

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    1. WHAAAAAAT?! *falls down dead* I hope you become a Showalter slut soon Heidi! Come to the dark side:)

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  19. Okay, now I'm torn. Recently, I read a review where this book was panned flatter than a pancake and here you are, loving it! *sigh* Still, I really do want to read it, just because it's Gena, who rocks the adult world so hard. Plus, you're such a book-pusher, I can't resist!

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    1. I wrote you an email:) Are there flaws in this book? Sure. The beginning has a Twilight vibe to it with the stares across a crowded cafeteria, but I was entertained the entire time, there was no love triangle, Cole was extremely yummy, and I couldn't put it down, so all in all it was a winner for me:)

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  20. Wow...you write reviews so beautifully :-)

    I love Gena's adult series (one of my fav's), so when I heard about this coming out, it went immediately on my "to buy" list. It's on it's way to me in the mail now! So looking forward to it :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Amber! I'm a huge fan of her adult books as well, she can't write the Lords of the Underworld series fast enough for me!

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  21. I actually wasn't quite sure about this novel to begin with. I had a hard time getting into it, but it grew on me. I feel the same way you did about Cole, especially Ali's instant attraction. I'm still reading AIZ. I think it's fun and I like the different zombies.

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    1. I'm glad you stuck with it Julie! I was worried in the beginning with their instant bond, but I like the way it progressed after that, and I didn't feel like it was instant love which I have trouble with, but more instant attraction which I think is more than believable:)

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  22. YAHOO! I am so freakingly happy that you liked this one so much! I love Gena Showalter. I read the Lords of the Underworld before I got into YA and LOVED those poor guys!! I'm so glad her venture into YA isn't watered down or dumbed down!! And you know I love snark!! And humor!! And it's cool here so I can fling the window open if it gets too hot!! So looking forward to this!

    Great Review!

    Heather

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    1. I really hope you like it Heather! I think this one is going to inspire mixed reviews, but I loved it. She writes great character and I think has a brilliant sense of humor, so she never leaves me anything other than entertained:)

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  23. Hooray! I'm so glad you liked this book. I just go it to read and I can't wait to get into it. And your review is lovely as always :))

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    1. Yay! Can't wait to see what you think:)

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  24. I haven't really decided whether I would read this because of the whole zombie thing. Are the zombies scary and intense? I don't know, I love that cover and your review has me thinking that I really need to give it a shot. Great review!

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    1. Wrote you an email. I'm petrified of zombies. Petrified. And while these were scary at times, they weren't horrifying because they were on the spiritual plane, and that made things better for me. I could see them more as ghosts than zombies and weirdly enough I found that comforting:)

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  25. YAY I'm super glad you loved this one Jenny : this means that I definitely have to get a copy !! I'm happy to know that Cole is not the typical male interest but a chracter of his own !! Thanks for the great review darling :)

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  26. I've heard mixed things about this book, so I hesitated to try it. You've given it so much life in your description I may have to though.

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  27. This one sounds seriously intriguing! I think I had written it off at the beginning because it didn't sound like my kind of thing, but you've really sold it here. I had no idea that Gena Showalter was funny!

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