Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: Insanity: Mad In Wonderland by Cameron Jace

Insanity: Mad In Wonderland

By Cameron Jace

Blurb: 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.

Genres: Young Adult Retelling

Publication Date: December 19, 2013

Pages: 254

Series: Insanity (book 2)

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I've read one other book by Cameron Jace--or rather, attempted to read. That didn't go so well, not because of writing or anything (though looking back, it probably would have been a major complaint if I had finished) but because I found the book a bit disturbing* and really reminiscent of the Hunger Games. I decided to give this author another chance; the results? I'm not a huge fan of the book, though it had its moments.

At some part of the book I just had to marvel at how...well, insane, most of the book was. It's creepy, it's weird...it's basically what you should be shooting for if you try to retell Alice in Wonderland, which is definitely one of the creepiest stories out there.

However, the worldbuilding wasn't great. This book, I think, takes place in modern day; however, if it does, what happened that made there be a huge Alice in Wonderland cult following? How did this suddenly happen? And why is the insane asylum so horrid? I don't know that having evil nurses that shock people until their brains turn to mush is well, legal. A lot of things about the setting/world just didn't get explained well.

The Pillar never seemed as big and bad as he was originally made out to be in the beginning of the book. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would have labelled him as a slightly cooky uncle to Alice or something; he's pretty tame for most of the book compared to what he apparently did before the story started.

Sometimes the dialogue seemed a bit off. I was not sure if this for effect to add to the confused, crazy ambience of this story or it was just poor writing; whatever it was, I wasn't a huge fan, and the fact that the speech only seemed unrealistic at certain times makes me think that this was less for effect and more just weird dialogue plain and simple. 

I did, however, like a lot of the characters. I didn't like Jack Diamonds for the duration of the story, but the ending actually made me appreciate his character a lot. It was a twist I was not expecting. So I really can't say his character annoyed me, seeing as the reason why makes a lot more sense now. And Alice; I loved how the readers actually weren't sure themselves if she was insane or not. She was a noble, but utterly confused, heroine, and I haven't come across many characters that I can compare her to. 

The Cheshire cat was scary. I remember liking him a lot in the movie/book, so this was kind of a twist of events for me. His backstory was actually really interesting; I researched it a bit after reading about it in this book, and the cat lover in me is equal parts appalled and relieved that the practice talked about in the book that shaped the Cheshire into what he became isn't practiced anymore.

I'm not saying, 'don't read this book at all costs.' I may not have liked it immensely, but it did have its good parts, and I think that this book will appeal to a lot of people; it's really different from a lot of books out there. It's a bit whole lot of creepy, but it's definitely a unique book.

*This book was waaaaay more disturbing then that book, but for some reason I didn't get that bothered. I am not sure why.


  1. This sounds so promising (I love anything to do with Alice in Wonderland!) but it sounds like it doesn't quite live up to it. Shame. Great review :)

    1. Yeah, I was really excited to read it. Though many other readers liked it more than I did, so you may like it more if you do decide to try it. :) Thanks Maia!


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