By: Cynthia Ayala
A review on Gene Showalter’s first novel in her White Rabbit Chronicles: Alice in Zombieland”analyzing the roots of the zombie genre taking readers away from the “norm” and bringing them something new.
Author: Gene Showalter
Published: August 27, 2013
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Retelling
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 zombie.
Readers who pick up this novel should not expect it to be the typical zombie novel where the zombies are on the physical plane due to some viral outbreak. If that is the expectation, readers will be sorely disappointed because Gene Showalter goes above and beyond, literally, not to recreate the zombie mythos but rather reintroduce readers to the origins of zombie and their mystical voodoo oriented roots. And that is the reason this novel stands out among zombie fiction.
Alice was an ordinary girl until the day her family died in a horrible car crash. But that wasn’t the worst part. Waking up in the crashed car to see beings feed upon her father and then her mother, that was the part that forever changed her life.
Alice in Zombieland is a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s famous work, Alice in Wonderland. Book one of the While Rabbit Chronicles, Alice in Zombieland was published August 27th of 2013 by Harlequin books. Writer Gene Showalter takes young adult readers through this supernatural and horror themed retelling, giving them something unexpected and unique for the zombie genre.
The fact that this novel was something completely unexpected is the best part of the novel. As readers follow young Alice through her life that inexorably turns upside down. Although, in reality, she does not go through a rabbit hole, in a supernatural way she has. Showalter has reintroduced the zombie genre through this realistic story. Zombies are not running rampant through the world, but are instead some invisible creatures that go bump in the night. They do not exist on the physical plane in this novel, unless an evil corporation that has many of the aspects of the Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil puts them into body for experimentation. Instead, these creatures are spirits, evil spirits, akin to voodoo folklore, that seek to regain what they once lost: life. Readers follow Alice as she discovers that only people who suffer traumatic losses are able to see them, people like her, and learns just how deadly they are and how to fight them. Exploring a new route of the zombie genre is exactly what this novel is about causing to stand out among all the novels.
Now, moving along, the narrative was also done well. Gene Showalter has done a great job creating Alice and the characters like her. Alice stands out in the crowd with her fun and socially awkward narrative that readers will find amusing, in a very good way. The detail that goes into her character is remarkable to the point where readers are able to imagine this character and her quirky facial expressions with clarity. Alice has an incredible strong will that makes her socially awkward moments incredibly, for a lack of a better word, adorable. Coupled with her character development, she really stands out in the crowd of characters, neither obnoxious nor perfect, she really is a character readers can relate to and appreciate. ★★★ ½ (out of 5 ☆’s | B+)