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4.9 out of 5 stars54
4.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 May 2011
I loved the original American McGee 'Alice' game, and still play it sometimes. I bought the game soundtrack music, and play it all the time. So I was delighted to hear that there was an updated game coming - it will have a lot to live up to!

While waiting for the game's release, I bought this book, not expecting much. What a surprise! Even the weight of it surprised me. It's a heavy book, largely because it's printed on such high-quality glossy paper.

The artwork is an utter delight. Artists (and game designers, I suppose) will find inspiration, and the rest of us will just gaze at these gorgeous pictures and lose ourselves in them.

After the short intro by American McGee himself, there's a minimum of text throughout the book - just enough to set the scene for each section. If you loved the original game, or the new incarnation, or are just a fan of gothic takes on the Alice story, this is a must-have.

I've added a short video, trying to give you a virtual 'flick through' of the book. What the video can't capture is how good the book actually feels to hold and read.

Definitely recommended - I have quite a collection of 'art of' books, and very few of them are up to this standard.

If you have any questions, post a comment and I'll try to answer.
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on 10 February 2013
I am a big fan of the original Alice game by American McGee. It was a dark and gritty interactive depiction of Wonderland and it's o so many weird inhabitants. Even back in the days when the Quake 3 engine was still at large, the game's art design was exceptional with mind boggling level design, colourful environments and very organic structures. Alice: Madness Returns tried to recreate these wonders for the current generation of consoles. In my opinion the game itself was not nearly as fun as the original game, yet still good in its own right. However the art design was once again the star of the show and I was pleased to see that Dark Horse Books was also going to release an art book for the game... and what an art book this is!

The Art of Alice: Madness Returns features a hard cover binding and its 184 pages are of very high quality. The book feels and looks phenomenal. The Art of Alice: Madness Returns features six distinct chapters and an introduction written by American McGee himself. The art presented in this book ranges from pre-production drawings, to high fidelity environment images (London and Wonderland), character concepts (literally every single character from the game seems to be in this book!), world object design and so much more. Small descriptions beneath some of the artworks will explain the things you'll see, which is a good thing and something I really missed in art books from Blizzard entertainment.

The art in the book can be best described as Wonderland meets HP Lovecraft meets MC Escher. There are so many weird contraptions, impossible structures and otherworldly creatures to be witnessed in this book, that your mind will be blown halfway through the pages.

Please, make no mistake. This book as well as the game itself is by no means anything you should show your kids. The images in this art book can be very aggressive, gross and - in layman's terms - generally eff'ed up. Even the cover itself may be enough to invoke nightmares in a child for weeks to come.

The Art of Alice: Madness Returns has got to be the best art book in my collection as of now. You can still get this phenomenal book via Amazon for a very good price. I can't praise this book enough. Go get it now.

For more Reviews like this, visit my personal homepage (check out my profile for the link) where I review video game art books.
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on 31 October 2011
I got this on halloween 2011 - I couldn't have timed it any better. The book itself is high quality with a hard back cover and glossy pages. As an art book they really did well to make it feel professional - as with some other books I have found the paper quality to be lacking.
The contents are great - I particularly like how they have included some of the original sketches - as a fellow designer I like seeing how an idea started out and its development into the final design. While there is plenty of landscape art I would have like to see some more of the character development. What is there is a highly detailed and very informative look into teh consept art of the game.

A brilliant book for any collector - highly recommended.
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on 5 February 2012
I have to say at the start that I am not a gamer - not since the days of Space invaders at any rate! - but I can always appreciate the art & design that goes into the production of the medium. For me, as a lover of the many diverse forms of art, this is such a wonderful book to add to my bookshelves. It contains some of the most amazing images - both painterly and computer-generated - that has complemented the Alice in Wonderland story I've ever come across. At times beautiful, ethereal, deliciously sinister and twisted, bleak, macabre and grim - as I turned each page, I was rewarded time and time again by the imaginative interpretations of the contributing artists; a veritable feast for the eyes!
The accompanying text is illuminating, informative and sits easily and unobtrusively with the images. (And I appreciate the semi-matt paper the book is printed on that reduces light reflection!) There is a gallery of the aforementioned artists at the end of the book which is a nice touch - all credit to them!
If you like your art diverse, exhilirating and definitely grotesque, then you won't be disappointed. Extremely good value for money!!
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on 5 June 2011
I'm a huge fan of American Mcgee's Alice and when I heard a year ago that a sequel is coming out I was thrilled!!! The excitement got bigger when they also announced the art book about Alice: Madness Returns and finally a week ago it arrived in my door step. My first impression upon opening the package was that we're dealing with a very professional and solid hard cover edition. They use illustrated paper all the way, with some illustrated paper effects on the front and back cover. As far as the content you have the chance to experience the "journey" that the visual artists went through in order to capture the essence of American Mcgee' Alice...dark, twisted & dangerous!!! You can also see some concept art that didn't make it in the final game which is pretty cool. All in all I recommend this truly beautiful art book not only to the fans of the game but to anyone who is interested in gaming art direction in general cause this book is a master class!!!
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on 8 March 2015
This is one of the best artbooks for a video game. The game itself was a bit of a disappointment, but the art style was superbly dark and stylised. This artbook covers all of the ingame art and shows it all off beautifully. Print quality is great, as is the binding. Even if you do not care much for the game itself, it is a book well worth having if you have even a slight interest in it, such is the quality of the work inside.
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on 23 August 2011
The book is packed with sublime concept art and illustration from the video game, 'Alice: Madness Returns'. But you don't need to have played the game to appreciate the talented artwork on display.

The content is well thought out and presented with a huge quantity of artwork and supporting text. The twisted nightmare theme of the game is consistent throughout.

The binding is excellent and the hardcover is thick and strong - better than most 'art of' books out there.

Overall, this book is a must for all 'art of' book collectors and concept artists/illustrators. Great collectors item for fans of the game too. I would put this in the same league as 'The art of Kung-Fu Panda' and 'The art of Sucker Punch'. Worth every penny!
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on 18 January 2013
I am in love with the world that is Alice, and this compilation of art makes me want to play it for the 19th time! The 2-D cinematics really set the artistic vision in the game, which I think makes the game more of a Victorian style. The ideas conveyed in the book makes the person's familiar to the game realise just how many amazing ideas never included in the final release that would have been really interesting to work out and have fun with. I can only wish to be able to draw and have ideas as good and as well made as all of these in this book. If you are an Alice madness returns can or just want to look for a different look at Alice, this is the book to put on the wish list.
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If you've been living in a box without eye-holes, or are just not at all interested in computer games, you may not be familiar with American McGee's incarnation of Alice. This book accompanies the game's sequel and contains pages upon pages of glorious artwork, from sketches to stunning land and city-scapes.

For artists, illustrators, game designers and fans of Alice, it really is a visual treat. It's dark, surreal and gothic yet strangely beautiful. The final renderings are very painterly and the design team were encouraged to include Chinese elements in the style.

I'm not a big gamer myself, but looking through this book has made me want to play the game.
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on 9 October 2011
I waited two whole months for this item to come back into stock to purchase, it was definitely worth the wait. The art inside is extremely good, lots of great concept pieces and the accompanying text describes the thought processes behind each piece. The thing that you don't get a sense of on the pictures is the sheer weight of the book, it feels expensive to hold. A must buy if you like collecting art books for your games, and even then this book is good if you like gothic/twisted art and even a vague interest in Alice in Wonderland.
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