Top positive review
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a trips down imagination road review
on 3 August 2014
Her Mad Hatter:
In order to stop the madness, the Hatter needs to find his Alice, and though his fairy Godmother, Danika, has tried to find that special Alice she's never succeeded...until now. Alice Hu has always felt different, and always felt drawn to the Mad Hatter from the story of Alice in Wonderland, so much so that she has just set up a bakery themed on the story and the characters. One night a strange woman leaves a card with a white rabbit on it and the words 'rub me', intrigued by the card, and aware that no one was watching, Alice rubs the card and finds her way to Wonderland. But things aren't as simple as turning up, the stream of Alices before her have left the Hatter sceptical and unbelieving...so much so that having Wonderland accept her may not be as straight forward as she thinks. This is the first book that I've read in the Kingdom Series by Marie Hall (I've previously read the two books that are currently out in the Night Series) and I'm glad I did. If you're looking for a read that you can be (fairly) certain of the end to, and a twist on fairy tale characters, then this is definitely a good choice. I did something that I don't normally do with Her Mad Hatter, and that was read other reviews before I wrote my own (I'm not sure why, I just do sometimes), and I'm a tad confused by some of them. Most notably those that say that the Hatter isn't true to character (though everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is just why I disagree with that). It is clear, and somewhat necessary, that the Hatter isn't the old man depicted in Disney's version, or indeed Lewis Carroll's, however I did think that he had the necessary qualities of the Hatter; he spoke in riddles and nonsense at many points as well as having his obsession with time, which was included in the story so that it made sense and fitted well. More to the point though, if all Hall did was recreate the other versions of the story then it wouldn't be original...plus some things needed to be changed, don't know about anyone else but a 7 year old Alice would not have fit with the story! There is a small cast of characters in Her Mad Hatter and I thought that that worked, especially as some of those characters are going to be expanded in other books in the series (that would be an assumption based on the titles!) and it gave time for Hall to develop Alice and the Hatter as well as Wonderland itself. Again I thought that the strange way in which the world worked was in keeping with the basic story but had its moments of originality, which was both refreshing and enjoyable. I really enjoyed this adult take on Alice in Wonderland, the characters interacted well and the setting was well constructed and imaginative (I will refrain from saying it felt real though! This is Wonderland after all!) and I'm looking forward to reading more from this series!
Gerard was caught with his trousers around his ankles...with the daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming, and now he's in big trouble. His fairy Godmother, Danika, has her work cut out for her. Not only does she have to try to save him, but she has to find him his mate within a year. Realising that the only way to save him is by saying that he is mating, she banishes Gerard to earth until the hearing is over, and sends him almost straight into Betty's arms. Though quiet librarian Betty is wary of Gerard at first she can't help but be drawn to him and want him as her own. When the sentencing arrives, Gerard is given one month to prove that Betty is his mated, and to make things more difficult the head Fairy unmans him until Betty loves him. I'm going to start with the only thing that I didn't like about this book (because then I can go all positive about what I did like!) and even then dislike is maybe not the right word...frustrate would maybe be a better one. What frustrated me was some of the French, and the fact that some of it wasn't grammatically correct (it made sense, it was just things like when referring to a woman it should be ma not mon, unless the following word started with a vowel, then its always mon). So basically...something most readers probably won't be fussed about or even notice (but you know, the French degree has to be used somewhere!) So now the minor niggle is out of the way...minor because actually it didn't stop me enjoying the book...I really liked the fact that the characters couldn't have sex. It led to a very different type of relationship than those that are typically got in books today and I found that I liked it. There was truly a sense of the characters getting to know each other; their likes and dislikes as well as their eccentricities. It meant that two characters I wasn't quite sure would work together in the beginning actually worked really well. Plus there was still crazy chemistry between Betty and Gerard! Gerard's Beauty is the second book in the series, and as such it offered far more characterisation than the first book, Her Mad Hatter, though I enjoyed both, I very much enjoyed seeing the characters being expanded upon more in this book, and it made me especially interested to see what happens with Wolf. There was also more about the fairies in this book, though there is still a lot of mysteries surrounding them, fairies other than Danika play a roll in this book and I found that it left me wanting to know more about how their politics and legal system work. Another thing was the moving scenes which involved a child with learning disabilities, in this case Betty's nephew. Both Betty and Gerard were amazingly good with him and it actually led to a moment of vulnerability on Gerard's behalf which made him become far more human, and more likable rather than just a bit of a play boy. Two books in and I am loving this series, definitely keen to read more!
Red and Her Wolf:
Red and Her Wolf is book 3 of the Kingdom Series.
The Heartsong was born of fairy magic and was protected as such until the Black Fairy decided she should die. Sending her wolves to do the job all goes to plan until Ewan realises that the Heartsong, Violet, is his mate, and realises he'll do anything to protect her. But that is when things start to go wrong, and the Heartsong is sent to Earth to hide from those that would kill her, whereas Ewan must stay in his human form for fifty years. 500 years later, Ewan still misses his mate, though there are signs that he will soon be reunited with her. Danika has hated lying to one of her boys, she knew that it was for his own good, but now she'll do anything to help Ewan get back his Red. Firstly, I thought that Red and Her Wolf was the most traditional of the stories retold in The Kingdom Series so far. By that I mean that almost all of the aspects of Little Red Riding Hood were used in the early story, but they were then expanded upon to make a whole new story for Red/Violet and Ewan. This also took into account the motives of the wolf to eat Red's Grandmother. There was also more of an overlap into other stories, in this case the Jinni played more of a part, and was expanded upon making me interested to see where his story is headed. There was also an update on Alice and the Hatter from book 1, who are happy and just as mad as each other now, and even a mention of Hansel and Gretel. The other difference between this book and the others was that there was more seen of Kingdom itself, and it became clear that the world Hall has created is both vivid and varied. Again making me want to see more of the world and its characters! I found it very interesting that in this book the fairies played a big part, and it became clearer that there are a lot of rivalries between them that cause friction, as well as power play. Thankfully though this did include more Danika time, and each time she is on page it becomes clearer that her motivations truly lie with her boys' happiness. I can't wait to read more from this series! The imagination and variety in this series just keeps getting better!