Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland Review

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 classic fantasy novel written by Lewis Carroll. It is such a quintessential family fantasy novel that is a timeless joy to this day.

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It’s no use going back to yesterday,

because I was a different person then

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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It is probably the first work in the nonsense subgenre where the plot is seemingly nonsensical and where everyone is acting crazy. Its story is so well known by now that I don’t need to summarize it. Of its various film adaptations, none of it managed to match its quality, only the Disney version which is to me even better than the novel.

Let’s talk about each and every chapter. Chapter One – Down the Rabbit Hole is such an undisputed perfect opener and I love everything about it. The way it starts off is riveting, Alice is well introduced, The White Rabbit is so much fun and of course those size cakes are great.

Chapter Two – The Pool of Tears is very engaging once again and very atmospheric, but even though I liked the mouse character, I found it to be forgettable compared to the rest and this chapter is quite uneventful.

Chapter Three – The Caucus Race and a Long Tale is so much fun and it is the first chapter that showcases Alice not fitting in this crazy world and others being frightened of her in an amusing way.

Chapter Four – The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill is phenomenal as the titular character is so memorable and Alice’s situation here is unforgettable.

Chapter Five – Advice from Caterpillar features this awesome character who is easily one of the best ones in this book. His riddles are entertaining and he is such a unique, odd creature and the plot point with size here is one of the highlights.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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Chapter Six – Pig and Pepper has a great introduction to The Cheshire Cat, but I really disliked The Duchess as her character is quite forgettable and pointless.

Chapter Seven – A Mad Tea-Party gives us so many classic parts and characters. The March Hare and The Mad Hatter are amazing and so funny, this sequence is so authentic and brilliant in its craziness and it is probably the best chapter of the entire book.

Chapter Eight – The Queen’s Croquet Ground finds us meeting this crazy queen and she is an awesome villain. The game is great, the suspense is evident and it is such a great point in the book that I wish that it happened later on, just like in the movie.

Chapter Nine – The Mock Turtle’s Story has its moments, but the characters here are very forgettable and the chapter feels like a filler.

The same applies to Chapter Ten – Lobster Quadrille which is basically the continuation of the previous chapter.

Chapter Eleven – Who Stole the Tarts has many great developments and is such a great build-up for the finale and I liked the king character, quite a bit actually.

Chapter Twelve – Alice’s Evidence is awesome! It is such a great action packed final chapter. I loved the various testimonies, I loved the chase where the cards chased her and the ending is so satisfying.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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The dialogue is the highlight of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland naturally. it is so clever and sophisticated and it is the reason why I deem it to be a book for adults more so than for children. The poems are great, the riddles are memorable and it utilizes the English language in such a great way.

I wish that some parts weren’t filler-like and some characters weren’t forgettable, but most were memorable, the plot here is mostly spectacular and of course unforgettable and it is just such an influential novel that deserves praise centuries after its release. To me it is uneven and far from perfect, but I still really enjoyed it as it is such a memorable, amusing read.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is uneven in terms of the pacing as some parts do feel like filler, but it is mostly such a terrific book filled with a memorable storyline, crazy and amusing characters, great humor, superb dialogue and excellent writing. It deserves its classic reputation.

My Rating – 4

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Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

Through the Looking-Glass

Through the Looking-Glass Review

Through the Looking-Glass is an 1871 novel written by Lewis Carroll and it is a sequel to ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ which was released in 1865. It is somewhat on par with its predecessor.

First I will talk about the plot. The book is very short once again and it is divided into 12 chapters. Looking Glass House is the first chapter in which Alice gets transported to this world once again, but by different means now. It is a fairly well done chapter and a really good beginning, albeit paling in comparison to the beginning of the previous novel. I really liked the Garden of Live Flowers as it makes use of its characters perfectly. The next chapter about the insects also has its moments and the dialogue in it is great, but it is Tweedledum and Tweedledee that is one of the finest chapters in the book with a great characterization and intriguing plot.

Humpty Dumpty is also superb and probably the finest part of the book with some great discussions. But it unfortunately goes downhill from there on with less interesting characters and weird pacing. The Lion and the Unicorn is often good and also Queen Alice is sometimes fine, but other chapters are lacking both in its story and in its characters. But the final chapter rounds up the story very well in my opinion and it is quite a memorable and satisfying ending.

The characters are solid, some forgettable, but some very memorable. Humpty Dumpty was the standout character and the dialogue exchange between the two is excellent. Tweedledee and Tweedledum are naturally phenomenal as are the Walrus and the Carpenter. Alice was once again great  and a great deal of development she gets indeed. She is definitely a reason why these books work as you sympathize with her and her struggles in this crazy, odd world.

But the other characters are really lacking. The Queen is very much wasted and Red King is very forgettable and weak. It is once again a testament to how great Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ is because it literally took the very best characters of the novel and leaving the rest, more forgettable ones.

The dialogue is absolutely the biggest reason to read this book. There is no question about it. Many lines and quotes here are instantly recognizable and while it isn’t as quotable, it is when language issues are concerned better than the original. There are a couple of chapters here that make great use of language, particularly using interesting poems and having Alice argue with others about the meaning of the words. Those were the highlights, so funny and so thought-provoking. It shows how great its humor is at certain times when it tackles such subject matter.

But it isn’t as interesting in its later parts because there isn’t as much of it there. That is why this work is so uneven. It is beautifully written and once again the world-building is extraordinary, but the first half of Through the Looking-Glass is infinitely better than the latter half which is why the book disappointed me eventually. I expected more from it as I was promised more. But what it gets right, it does it in style with some memorable characters introduced and awesome discussions about language. I also adored its imagination in the moments where the absurdities of some characters came to play. The poems were also well written and overall the characters are well developed, although some are quite forgettable.

In the end, Through the Looking-Glass has its issues mainly the much weaker second half, some forgettable characters and it is very uneven both in quality and pacing, but some characters are very memorable and well developed, the imagination is terrific as is its world-building and there are many great dialogues and discussions about language here which are the highlights.

My Rating – 3.9

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