Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1), Gena Showalter

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter (author website | blog)
Release Date: Oct. 1st 2012 by Harlequin Teen Aust
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star

Alice in Zombieland. The name alone screams Burtonesque-Resident Evil promise. Yet readers approaching Gena Showalter’s latest Young Adult offering with such hopes will find themselves disappointed. Instead, Alice in Zombieland will appeal to fans of the likes of Twilight and Vampire Diaries, those desperate for unrequited romance, dark teen angst and dangerous secrets. Leave your expectations at the door, and climb down the rabbit hole...

From Goodreads:
She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave.


Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

The Story:

Alice’s father’s always been nuts. He sees monsters—walking corpses, hungry for the living. But that’s the thing: only he sees them—until her entire family, Mum, Dad, and beloved little sister, are killed in a car accident, leaving Alice the lone survivor.

Now Alice sees them, too.
And they see her.

The 101:

I know, I know, I used the dreaded ‘T’ word up there, but, in truth, Alice in Zombieland is the closest I’ve come to Meyer’s progeny’s cousin. Perhaps this is the point which needs addressing first: Contrary to the promises of its name, Alice in Zombieland is not a fantastical take on the zombie apocalypse. It’s a straight up YA paranormal, heavy with the tropes of its genre: Absent parents, protagonist with previously unknown power, new school, small town? Check. Controlling, untouchable bad boy with a dark secret? And then some. Alice in Zombieland is, in fact, a compulsively readable addition to its category, but in a genre turgid with paranormal tales of angst driven romance, it does little to set itself apart.

While Alice does have much to recommend it—amongst them a fascinating, eminently creepy take on zombie lore, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters (none less than Alice’s fantastic best friend, Kat, and her sweet, funny grandparents)—it’s let down by two its most crucial players: Alice, and her love interest, Cole Holland.

Alice, whilst a fairly engaging protagonist, feels somehow spurious, her voice sounding more like an adult attempting to channel a seventeen-year-old than an authentic teenage narrative. While people seldom speak precisely what they think, there seems a disconnect between Alice’s inner vulnerability and uncertainty, and the brave, ballsy girl she projects when she speaks. Alice’s dialogue is one of the highlights of the book, her tenacity making for fabulous verbal smackdowns. She is never at a loss for the right thing to say, her words as fierce a weapons as her fists—this girl can fight–but everything admirable about Alice crumbles around one boy: Cole Holland.

Condescending, controlling, and a borderline sociopath, Cole Holland screams ‘bad boy,’ and not in a good way. He’s a deeply disturbing YA paranormal archetype, second perhaps only to Patch Cipriano of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush ‘Saga’. Yet, while even I admit to Patch’s appeal (and the guy is a confessed attempted murderer), Cole left me cold. The connection Alice and he share is disturbingly intense, and the power gradient in their relationship unhealthily balanced. While the Alpha archetype irks me little in adult romance with a female lead who can hold her own, it leaves me profoundly uncomfortable in young adult. Nevertheless, the chemistry between Cole and Alice is palpable, and will hold strong appeal for readers looking for heady, smoking-hot romance—it certainly kept me reading.

The Verdict:

Alice in Zombieland is a book with many problems, yet it’s also compulsively readable, with a teen romance boasting unparalled heat and chemistry. Paranormal readers will devour the tome, just don’t look too deep. The reading experience is kind of like making mud pies: Fun at the time, but leaves you feeling dirty.

Books in This Series:

  1. Alice in Zombieland (October 2012)
  2. Through the Zombieglass (Expected 2013)

Want it? Get it:

Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Borders/Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD
An enormous thank you to Harlequin TEEN Australia for providing a review copy of Alice in Zombieland


  1. Yikes! There are just too many unenthusiastic reviews of this for me to even feel Alice is worth my time. Sorry you didn't enjoy it, Sarah. Great review !

    1. Ooooh, really? This is actually making me feel a little better. I was I think I'd read only 2 other negative reviews, and I've been thinking "BUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?" *hystrical sobbing*

      Honestly, it'll totally appeal to Hush, Hush, Twilight, etc fans (and I count myself among them), but something about Alice just didn't sit right with me :(

  2. So, exect a movie series soon? ;)

    1. Heh.

      If they got Burton to write/direct it? I'd watch it. What he could do with the premise? *happy place*

    2. WAIT.
      The Axix of Awesome: Sam Raimi, Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino. CAN YOU EVEN EFFING IMAGINE?!

  3. "The reading experience is kind of like making mud pies: Fun at the time, but leaves you feeling dirty."

    Sarah, this is why I love you: you have such a WAY with words. (Also, if one really wants to feel dirty, I suspect there is a better way than mud pies. Just saying.)

    1. Ahahaha! *hugs* I ♥ YOU.

      Mwahahaa... I think I can think of a couple, too. It's why I love YOU. I know you'll go into detail with them >:P

  4. I know exactly how you feel, Sarah. This book didn't sit all too well with me either. It was still INTERESTING (it definitely was) but there was a lot of problems that I experienced as well. Anyway a nice and honest review! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't like this book as much as we all wanted to.

    1. Oh, THANK YOU. I was really wondering if I was alone on this.

      There was a lot of good things and fun things about it. But there was a lot wrong :/

      THanks so much Erin! It makes me feel a LOT better knowing I'm not alone on it, either :)

  5. Hm, interesting review. I've pretty much only been seeing 5 Stars or 1s and 2s, which has me nervous to read it. I'm disappointed to hear that it's just another YA paranormal romance with a questionable relationship. I do think I'll still pick it up though.

    1. Ooooh, it's interesting it's such extremes either ends of the scale :O

      I'd only been seeing 4 and 5s, and the occasional 1. I was wondering if I was nuts!

      Honestly, there's a lot to like about the book, and I totally think most people will enjoy it. I think it's back to what I said, and what Sam says (below). It's one of those books to sit back and enjoy, and I was having trouble switching my thinky brain over to me 'ENJOY THE ROMP!' frame of mind. I really hope you love it! The romance is HOT ♥

  6. No, this isn't a book to look too deeply into, I agree with that! Funnily enough, I really enjoyed this book, even though I'm not a fan of Vampire Diaries or Twilight. For me, it wasn't a literary masterpiece, but more something fun and quick. :) I'm sorry this didn't completely work for you, Sarah! Brilliant review as always though. :) I hope your next read impresses more!

    1. Ooooh, I just tweeted you, but you've made me thing.
      Firstly: OMG. You made me seriously think about my wording, and I am SO sorry if it came of in anyway dirisive or offensive >__<

      I actually kind of maybe still really like Twilight, and I LOVE VA, but I can kind of see parallels in the romance intensity, if that makes sense?

      I just said to Angie, above, "there's a lot to like about the book, and I think most people will enjoy it... it's back to what I said, and what Sam says (below). It's one of those books to sit back and enjoy, and I was having trouble switching my thinky brain over to my 'ENJOY THE ROMP!' frame of mind." (is it totally narcassistic to quote myself? :S) if that makes any sense?

      I half feel like I'm contradicting myself. I couldn't put the book down. But parts of it just... bothered me profoundly, and didn't sit right with me at all. But others I loved. Cole made me feel squicky, but I LOVED the romantic tension.

      Ugh. I don't even know what to do with myself >__<

    2. Sarah, I'm not offended at all! Of course not. :) Sorry if it sounded like that! I just tweeted back. :)

      I completely understand your split feelings! I guess it's the parts that sat well with you that really made this book work for me. I do recognise why though, at the same time, you didn't fully enjoy this book. A lot of people have felt one way or another, which I guess is why all the reviews have been so varied. :)

  7. I love how you used the phrase 'T' Word...I'm going to start adopting that from now on! ;) I'm so sorry this one didn't work out for you though, Sarah! I've seen both overly positive and negative reviews of this, so I can't decide whether or not to pick it up. From what you've mentioned though, this doesn't seem like a novel I'd enjoy, so I think I'll skip it...thank you for the honest and brilliantly written review, dear! :)

    1. Bahahaha! Do it! Do it! We'll make it a 'thing'.

      I hate comparing things to Twilight--it seems so lazy--but it was the most apt parallel I could draw!

      There really is SO much to like about the book, but I think my main problem was Cole. If Cole had have been... I don't know, a little less psycho I would have liked it a lot more, and quite possibly, the other issues wouldn't have bothered me :)

  8. Oh no! I'm sorry you didn't care for this one, Saz, I thought this one was super fun. I get why you disliked Cole, though--he pushed the limits a couple of times for me too, but I actually liked him for the most part.

    Goodness, we hardly ever disagree on a book lately. I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL. Who will win? It's hard to say.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I honestly can't believe you liked this one and I didn't *cries*

      Maybe we read a different book?
      I mean, I GET the appeal. But so many things about AIZ squicked me out for the WRONG reasons. Boo.

      Off to Twitter to discuss our weaponry choices >:D

  9. The reading experience is kind of like making mud pies: Fun at the time, but leaves you feeling dirty. Uh, this may have made me laugh :D

    I can agree with you on SO many points you've made, things that rubbed me the wrong way too, yet somehow I still managed to really enjoy this. Cole wasn't a strong point for me, though I did warm up to him a little more toward the end. And as you know, I ADORED Kat.

    I sorry this failed for you! Alice is clearly a book that's getting divided opinions, which I kind of find fascinating to see who it works for and who it doesn't. FABULOUS REVIEW, AS FOREVER ALWAYS.

      I'm not even joking :D

      I mean... I SO get people loving this. It has all the right ingredients for sexy alchemical magic... but it just didn't sit right with me. I really think it was Cole. I just couldn't ignore him.

      But Kat? I LOVED HER. SO MUCH. She was fantastic. So fun and funny and sweet and SUCH an amazing friend.

      I really hope everyone else loves it, though :)

  10. I'm curious about this one. I haven't read a review apart from yours, though, so I suuppose I should seek out more. It's not on the top of my list but it does have an interesting premise. I do think the romance you described would drive me nuts though...and NOT in a good way. LOL

    I'm really excited for the book Splintered though, which has an Alice in Wonderland theme.


    1. Ahahaha! EXACTLY. I mean, I TOTALLY get the appeal, and why so many people have liked it. The chemistry is AMAZING, but it made me *uncomfortable*, you know?

      I think a lot of people will like it, still :)

      SPLINTERED! YES! Now THERE is an Alice book. And that cover is SO pretty ♥

  11. Leave your expectations at the door, and climb down the rabbit hole... - Ha, I love.

    While people seldom speak precisely what they think, there seems a disconnect between Alice’s inner vulnerability and uncertainty, and the brave, ballsy girl she projects when she speaks. - Now that you've mentioned it, I totally see it! Alice's voice, along with her thoughts and feelings, is rather vulnerable and shy yet her actions are kinda badass - it doesn't really add up. Feel this way, act another.

    The whole jig that this is an Alice retelling but with zombies is total crap. I mean, cut it out, you've been exposed, drop the act already. It's a fantastic selling point - Look! An Alice in Zombieland but with zombies! - but it's false pretense and very misleading, which because of this readers will be disappointed.

    For me, AiZ was enjoyable but since reviewing it and rating it 3 stars, my opinion has surely but slowly started changing. Don't you just HATE it when you rate a book but a few weeks later you feel differently? Should you base it on how you felt then or how you feel now? Eh, who knows. But then it feels fake if you don't change it to the rating you feel it deserves now but what, do you change your review, if your feelings have started to change. It's like going round and round in a cirle.

    As always, AMAZING review. Even your negatives ones are gorgeous!

    1. TOTALLY. I mean, it didn't bother me, because I didn't actually *expect* it to be Alice? But if I HAD have done? I would have been VERY dissapointed.

      AND YES! I know EXACTLY what you mean about rating a book and your opinion changing! I think it happens in bother directions, too. Up and down.

      I mean, I GET the appeal of AiZ. In all honesty, it couldn't put it down. It was fun. BUT. Bits of it (especialyl the Cole/Alice relationship) made me REALLY uncomfortable. I think, if you've the luxury to rate on how you feel in the future... it becomes a kind of combination of feels? That's probably good? But... I mean, if you enjoyed it, you enjoyed it. Some things shouldn't be overthinked. Overthunk? OVERTHOUGHT :P

      You know? ♥

    2. I wasn't expecting Alice either, only a few similarities but...still!

      Yes, I know. Overthunk, I like ;)

  12. HAHAHHAHAHA I LOVE how you compare reading this to making mud pies!! But I should mention..I've..ahh...never made a mud pie before :S Awwwww I'm sorry you weren't entirely pleased with this...I know a lot of other people had trouble with this too! I'm sort of..scared to read it now...but I also want to read it..because it does sound fascinating. OMGG WHAT DO I DO?!

    heheee Sarahhh...I should hire you to do my English HSC for mee...HOW ON EARTH DO YOU WRITE SUCH AMAZING REVIEWS?!?!?! hahaa LOVED your honest review Sarah<3

    1. Hehehe! I've TOTALY made mud pies. But, I was like, 8. That's OK, right? :D

      It is actually a lot of fun, and I think MOST people will enjoy it. It's maybe just one of those things you have to turn your thinking off for, if you know what I mean? :)

      Ahahaha! I'll do your HSC if you do my reviews? Deal? And... honestly, I think you'd do a better job of it, Shirley! You're S M A R T!

  13. Well, I already knew this was not your cup of tea but I didn't know it was like a freakin' punch in the face for you either. lol.

    2 stars. I have to say I am surprised. But not that you didn't find it stimulating, I get that. It is in no way deep and analytical at all. But I had so much fun reading the joyful nonsense for some reason. I would compare it to Obsidian. Both books had the "not so good" moments but they also have that spark that make it hard to put down.

    I have kind of resigned myself to bad boy, insta-love type of YAs. So I guess that's why it didn't bother me as much.

    But anyways. I totally get what you mean though. Books just can't be for everyone. *Sighs* I wish it was more fun for you. :(

    1. Ahahaha!

      "Alice in Zombieland punched me in the face, stole my candy, and kicked my puppy!"

      You know, I think Obsidian is a REALLY good parralell, and a similar reading experience... yet, for some reason, while I was caught up in Obsidian, AiZ grated. Interestingly enough, I felt similarly about Onyx. VERY torn. Yet that was because of Katy, not Daemon.

      I think... perhaps Daemon had a more defined reason for being aloof and cruel. He also has a sense of humour about his ego? Maybe I'm reading too much into it?

      The thing is, I couldn't put AiZ down. I'd even read a sequel, but... there's this massive, 10 foot high, neon 'B U T' over AiZ for me :/

      I GET why you loved this, and I get why everyone else did, too? I wish I could have switched off and just enjoyed it. Technically, on many levels, I think this may actually be a better book than Obsidian. UGH. Contradictions >__<


    2. LMAO. You are cracking me up. OMG, Look! Your reply button worked for me finally!!!

      Anyways. I'll tell you a little secret. After reading AiZ and thinking about it for a couple of days, I was going to lower my rating a little bit. When I really thought about it I dont think I loved it as much as I thought.

      But then I remembered it was the timing that made me love it. If I read it right now, I would probably give it a 3.5 or 4 stars. But at the time, I needed a break from over-analyzation, in-depth rhetoric and needed that predictable, fun, no thinking story. I don't know why.

      So, like I said, I get your "no yay" on this one. Don't over think it. You got it right because that's how the book felt to you at that moment.

      Just like Obsidian wasn't a knock out for me despite the much love it gets.

      Anyways. I really need to write my review for Obsidian. I stupidly booked my blog for too many events which means no reviews for this week except for sunday. So mad at myself. I need to do like a week of reviews straight to make up for it. I feel bad.

      Wow, I really feel like typing or something because I just gave you an essay.

      Hehe. I swear. I'm stopping now.

    3. Ahaha! I think it's infectious--me too!

      "Anyways. I'll tell you a little secret. After reading AiZ and thinking about it for a couple of days, I was going to lower my rating a little bit. When I really thought about it I dont think I loved it as much as I thought."

      I SO know what you mean, but, still, reading's a subjective experience. It's SO about what you thought at the time. Right time and right place is crucial.

      I think it's SUPER interesting, though. About Obsidian? Because, I mean... yeah. Especialyl since Onyx left me feeling much the way AiZ did.

      I don't really think it's an AWFUL book. I enjoyed so much about it, and... yeah :D

      Don't stop, Jenn!

    4. Thanks for remidning me. Onyx is my next book buy. I am scared though, since it might not be that good, but I have to see what is going to happen next!!

  14. quoted: Fun at the time, but leaves you feeling dirty. - oooh... I've put this book down for the time being because the protag Alice annoys me so much, she whines and demands and then she will feel sorry for it and then back to whining again and I was like ugh what the eff? I couldnt connect to her but Id like to give it another try but not so soon. I loved your review Sarah.. Since I havent even finish half of this book I cant really tell what prob this book has but frrom your awesome review I think this book isnt for me but,, but like I said I will still give this one a chance. x

    1. Oh, nooooo. Lalaine, I'm sorry it's not happening for you, but I know PRECISELY how you feel.

      It's a shame it didn't happen for you, either, but I think it is what it is, you know? :/

      You may end up liking it, still. The chemistry between Alice and Cole IS pretty hot ;D

  15. Aw, sorry to hear that this didn't work out for you! I've been seeing a lot of mixed reviews for ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND, and I'm having second thoughts as to whether I should read it or not. Cole Holland sounds exactly like the kind of guy who's unhealthy for a girl. *shudder* Haha, I love how you described this book as playing with mud pies!

    Lovely, honest review, Sarah!

    1. "Cole Holland sounds exactly like the kind of guy who's unhealthy for a girl."

      Exactly... but sometimes they're so hard to stay away from >__<

      It still has a lot of appeal. I'd find this one hard to pick. I honestly wouldn't know whether my best friends would love or hate it. Nuts, huh? :/

  16. Fantastic review, Sarah! I love the sound of this book, and I am a fan of the books you mentioned at the end, so I'm hoping I really enjoy this! It's such a shame it didn't work for you, though. I'm feeling very wary of Cole though. We shall see! Thanks for the review, lovely!

    1. Ooooh, in that case? I REALLY hope you love it. Seriously, there is a LOT of fun in it, and I know Brodie really enjoyed it, so *fingers crossed*

  17. One of the best covers out there. Lovely review Sarah and thanks for stopping by our blog :D


  18. Hi sweetheart! <3
    OMG! ymy dear Aussi Sarah! you LUCKY GIRL! OMG please take pics (if it's allowed) at Quintana's release party! OMG you lucky!!!! I wish I could go there! sniff... so far =(
    If you can post a recap that would be fabulous! I'll keep an eye on that just in case ^_^
    Gosh! ENjoy the novel my dear, I still have to wait centuries to read it =(

    Now about your review... Nah... Im not much of a zombie girl and I've been avoiding paranormal novels a lot (at least I know is a very good one) but most of the paranormals that comes out I just skip them. But the smoking-hot-romance could still do it for me XD. But anyways, like you said "just dont look too deep" and that's what have kept me away from most prn XD.

    THanks for the review, Im glad to see and okayish rating for a change. It gives me a different opinion ^+^


  19. sad 2 hear this book had some faults . i was not interested in this book . but ooweee i can't wait for splintered

    have a great day saz

  20. Sarah! This sounds very much like how I feel about Jessica Shirvington's Violet Eden books (Embrace, Enticed, etc). I read - and re-read the first three a ridiculous amount of times even though I LOATHE the protagonist, Violet, with a passion. But there's something so bloody addictive about it. I do seem to be in the minority re those books though - all the other reviewers - including Kristin - seem to love them. As for Alice, I think I'll give this one a miss, and hold out for Splintered (which had BETTER be as good as I'm hoping it will be).
    Completely agree with Rebecca though - you write such good reviews, both the positive and negative ones. :-)

  21. Cole Holland seems like SUCH A SWOONWORTHY DUDE. I mean, 'deeply disturbing' is the kind of guys I'd totally go for, you know?! Jokes aside, I am sorry this is such a bummer! It did sound pretty creative but eh at it being a straight up paranormal. I'm not really a fan of paranormal tropes so I'll be skipping this one. Fantastic, honest review, S! YOU ARE THE ONE WITH THE BEST REVIEWS. <3

  22. From the reviews I've read, they seem to range from four stars (claiming this was a really fun, original read) and one or two stars because this is ridden with all the YA cliches (love-triangle, hot mysterious love interest, missing parents syndrome, and so forth). The latter would bother me, so I'll pass on this book definitely!

    And love the review, hon. :) Sorry this one didn't work out for you.

  23. Oooh, this does not sound good. All those stereotypical paranormal aspects would put me right off but this was so well reviewed, Saz!

  24. Oh no! I really wanted to love this book - it sounded great! :O It's a shame the two main leads didn't particularly impress. I don't know whether I'll like this Cole guy. He seems aggravating and I know exactly what you mean about Patch even though I, too, do have a small soft spot for him during his better moods ;) Luckily this one's further down on my reading list so I'll have time to get back into my groove before tackling it ;) Hopefully I have better luck than you did! Great review anyway!

    Lisa | Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me

  25. Oh poo! NOT TWILIGHT!!! :( I guess I am skipping over this one!

  26. *wails* Awwwww. I loved this book--wish you loved it too. I loved so many aspects about it but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one <3 But then again, I'm a Gena fan, so there is that ;) Still, great review. Very honest and fair to your thoughts. <3 <3

  27. Heheeeeee!!! I love how honest your words are. I did love this book, lol!! But what can I say, but that is ok that you didn't. I thought I had been here already commenting, but it must have been Goodreads. I loved all your reasons, hehe!! You and me have a lovefest with some books and lol!! kinda opposite with others, but it is always fun to read these reviews. I must come off as such a spaz sometimes with what I love, but I can't help it:D:D


  28. I wish I had simply listened to your review, but alas, I bought the book anyway. I hate it. I can't even be nice about it like you were.
    It's good to know that I'm not the only one who thought Cole was over the top on the whole "bad boy" thing he had going on.



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