Review: Death of the Mad Hatter

Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J. Pepper

I give this book a 3 and a ½, but am indecisively bumping it down to a 3.

Okay

I’m not a traditionalist in the basic sense of the word. I appreciate things for what they are, but I was disappointed in this reading experience and probably not for the reasons you may think.  Overall, I commend this author for the ingenuity of taking a classical, commonly known, story and turning it into something completely new, but beyond that, I have issues.

First off, I was expecting this story to be more New Adult than YA (not a big fan of YA, but was willing to give New Adult a try). I had so much trouble taking, what I believe was supposed to be, the serious aspects of this story seriously because of all the high school banter. For YA fans I’m sure this isn’t a problem, but for me it was.

There is more than a good amount of crazy in this story and the added darkness was great, but some of the repetition came off as annoying, and I think it was supposed to be mysterious or add to the “crazy”. Crazy I get, but sometimes even that didn’t seem to quite hit the mark. In the story, we are supposed to have an understanding that Al is tortured, but it just comes off as silly and weird playtime to me, most of the time.

The best part of the story development, to me, was the notion and significance of the “sweets” being the link to either sanity or insanity. As far as logic goes, I know it’s Wonderland and there doesn’t necessarily need to be any logic, but there were some things that either did or didn’t happen that really didn’t make sense to the overall goals of the characters.

I loved the rummperrabit and the spiders! I was not disappointed that I read this book; it really wasn’t that bad. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t like it more. I’m such a fan of all things Wonderland, but this story was only okay.

Still, I’d recommend this to anyone who likes Wonderland tales, fantasy, and or YA fiction, with the mention that this is a little dark.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt Three by Sarah J. Pepper

From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.”

“I’ve only begun to give you a headache,” she whispered and turned around and walked down the steps.

She got to the landing before I was close enough to grab her wrist, stopping her escape. She wiggled, freeing her hand. When I refused to back off, she moved her leg like she was going to knee me in the groin, so I completely closed the gap between us, pressing my hips against hers. She had no movement to strike.

“I’m done with this charade!” I yelled even though we were millimeters away from each other. “Everything you say doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why did you come here? Surely it wasn’t just to annoy me.”

“Just because you don’t understand my way of thinking, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make sense!” she yelled. “You’re such a—”

“A what?” I interrupted. “An Otherworlder?”

She stepped closer, even though I hadn’t thought it possible, making it clear that I hadn’t intimidated her. Even though I was taller than her, she stood on her tip toes, making us closer to the same height.

“Actually, I was going to say that you are such a boy! What’s an Otherworlder, Ryley? I’m not sure that word even has a definition, or did you make it up? Now, who sounds crazy?” she said, spreading her arms wide.

I’d forgotten about everyone else in existence. Everyone was staring. Judging from the context spoken, I did sound more insane than she.

“What is Wonderland, Alice Mae?”

“Do you not remember anything?” She seemed genuinely frustrated.

“I’m not in the habit of remembering places I have never been, you stupid girl!”

“Don’t call me that!” She socked me in the gut. Normally, I would have thought it cute that she tried to attack me since she was so feeble, but today it only aggravated me.

“I was alerted that your father’s car had moved,” Alice Mae said. “Was he able to answer any of your questions?”

The hall got so quiet, not a single person coughed. I wanted to rip the damn rabbit’s head off, but it was in my backpack that I’d dropped when I noticed the hat carnage in my locker.

“My dad is not around,” I said.

“Interesting phrasing,” Alice Mae said, analyzing my comment. She tapped her finger on her chin like she was deep in thought. “You didn’t say he was dead, nor did you confirm it. Perchance you and your mom made up a series of lies about him?”

I had to shut her up before she told everyone the truth! I wanted to strangle her. I hated how she could completely destroy me with a few simple words. She knew my deepest secret, and now she was telling the whole school about my whacked-out dad!

“—where does he live Ryley? I can’t seem to remember its name. It was some kind—”

I slapped my free hand over her mouth. She bit down. I pulled my hand away. Teeth marks were embedded in my skin. Smirking at me, she licked her lips.

“You instigated this war!” she said. She spoke more loudly. She was right. Her voice did carry. “Your father isn’t dead. He’s insa—”

In a stated of extreme panic, I did the only logical thing I could think of to shut her up.

I kissed her.

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Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt Two by Sarah J. Pepper

From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

There were the types of girls who dressed for guys, the type who still played dress-up, the type who lived in sweatpants, and then there was an entirely different breed who wore mismatched socks with pride. This chick fell into the last category. Why anyone could possibly think bright orange and blue would go together, unless they were a Boise State fan, was beyond my thought process. Her shoes were quite possibly handcrafted a hundred years ago, and her tattered skirt looked as though she found it in a dusty box tucked away in an attic. However, the zebra patterned gloves actually appeared to be from this decade.

“Well, it’s rather fortunate that you didn’t dribble. Mr. Ruth would have a fit if he became familiar with the underside of your pet-soaked shoe,” the girl said, petting the stuffed animal’s head. Her accent was none that I’d heard before—and I’d lived in a lot of different places. She sounded like a British gal impersonating a southern bell. “It’d be quite regrettable if anything happened to him on the first day of school. He must have fallen out of his hidey-hole.”

“You named your stuffed rabbit, Mr. Ruth?”

She covered the bunny’s ears. “Rutherford is his real name, but he hates it and makes all the other rumperbabbits call him by his nickname.”

“Rumperbabbits?”

“Bunnies, rabbits, hares—rumperbabbits. Same thing,” she said with a wink. She had the most volatile light-blue eyes that were so electrifying I couldn’t look away.

Time out—just for reference, I didn’t believe in juvenile notions, like love at first sight. In my book, time didn’t cease to move forward when two people fell in love. As a matter-of-fact, I’d have to be drunk (not on love) for such an irrational thought to enter my mind.

But, there was something magical about her. A mischievous charm. I wouldn’t have said that I necessarily liked it, but it was intriguing. She was intriguing… and new. For a town whose newspaper’s biggest story was the harvest report, having a new girl in school would most likely be headlined on The Gossiper’s front page.

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Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt One by Sarah J. Pepper

From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight.

No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers.

Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter.

“If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.”

“Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.”

The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash.

“I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood.

“Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?”

“No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”

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Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Sara J. Pepper Presents: Top 3 Retellings of Alice in Wonderland

…and why they deserve to be mentioned.

I thought it would be fun to incorporate a few of the original Alice in Wonderland quotes to reference the most significant (to me) Wonderland retellings.

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From Pinterest, please do not copy. Click image to share on Pinterest.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― 
Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

I’ve always been a little afraid of Alice’s story—okay, lame I know, but I blame Disney for my irrational fear of all things Wonderland. I watched the movie when I was a young girl, and being a food lover, I was petrified. Why? Because Alice ate some yummy food and then didn’t stop growing!! How could you hide the fact that you snuck a cupcake from Mom when you are ten feet tall? So eating a wondrous breakfast was out of the question. If a cupcake could make me a giant, then I wasn’t about to try the orange juice.

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From Pinterest, please do not copy. Click image to share on Pinterest.

 “You would have to be half mad to dream me up.”
― 
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Johnny Depp’s Alice in Wonderland would probably be my next favorite retelling. Any J.D. fan will love his performance. He gets so into his characters, becoming them through and through. Since Death of the Mad Hatter is focused mainly on the Mad Hatter, I was inspired by Depp and hope that is portrayed in the novel. Maybe I, me, and myself, am a little bit mad to dream up a character who is unapologetically insane.

 

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From GoodRead, click to add to your bookshelf.

“Off with their heads!”
― 
Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

“Wonderland was an intoxicating, magical world where the most farfetched dreams could come true and the impossible was possible. Conversely, it was a realm where the most daunting nightmares could haunt us until the end of time”—Death of the Mad Hatter. To me, Wonderland is a beautiful haunting place (probably because I have mixed feelings about their food). But to another person, the food might be the best part about the fantasy world. I just love how far the imagination can take you, which is why Alice in Zombieland is my third favorite retelling. The author took us to a completely different Wonderland than what most people imagine. So off with their zombie heads!

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From GoodReads, click to add to your bookshelf.

Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords