Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts

Alice in the Country of Hearts (manga)
By QuinRose

Published in: 2008

Synopsis (via GoodReads): In this inventive retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story - manga-style! - Alice wakes up to find a white rabbit wearing clothes. The rabbit forcefully drags Alice into the rabbit hole, where he turns into a young man with rabbit ears.

* I'd like to apologise because this is going to be a review of books 1-3 because I read them back to back and I'm having trouble distinguishing between them!

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a multi-book manga series that gives the Alice in Wonderland story we know and love a nice big twist. Not quite as meek and submissive as the original Alice Liddell this Alice didn't fall down the rabbit hole when out of curiosity she followed the white rabbit, instead she was kidnapped by the white rabbit and taken to a Wonderland quite different to the one we know.

Wonderland is divided into four lands overseen by Julius Monrey in the clock-tower (safe ground), Blood Dupre- a mafia boss from a family known as the Hatters, Heart Castle ruled by the Queen of Hearts and Gowland in the Amusement Park. The Hatters, Hearts and Gowland are all feuding about one thing or another and for the most part it is rather dangerous to make your way across the land in fear of treading upon the wrong side of the division. Because if someone catches you on their land the general rule is to shoot first, ask questions later.

This isn't so much a problem for Alice, as everyone seems rather taken with her, and for good reason. It appears that Wonderland is a manifestation of her deepest desires. From the start Alice is depicted as being extremely jealous of her sister Lorina and the elegance that seems to come to her so naturally. Within Wonderland Alice, who normally feels silly and slight alongside her sister, is the object of every one's attention and they all fall head over heels in love with her, something that begins to annoy her almost instantly when she realises that this is the reason the White Rabbit captured her.

The first book is mostly spent exploring Wonderland and getting to meet all of the characters, most of whom are some form of hybrid human/animal, for instance the White Rabbit is a (handsome) man with rabbit ears and the Cheshire cat is a punish young man with cats ears and a tail.They're all rather charming and sweet (though there are the occasion standoff-ish types too) but almost to the point of absurdity. I couldn't help but feel like the whole thing was a bit of a mockery of that super attentive and almost stalkerish type of boyfriend that has been popping up a lot in YA thanks to Twilight. 

Books two and three focus on a mystery that Alice is determined to unravel, investigating why everyone is so cavalier about death and exactly what it is that Julius does as the clockmaker in Wonderland. The first book was enjoyable but it is in these two books that the storyline and the characters really begin to be developed and it becomes more than just a bit of quirky Japanese manga. I was drawn to this series purely because I'm a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and I thought the covers were cute and I was quite surprised at the level of development in the story and the depth and complexity that the characters evolve into.

I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys manga and is a fan of adaptations that aren't completely reliable to the original text. Apart from the character names and the Wonderland location this is a very different story, but it is an enjoyable one none the less. I'd also recommend that if you give it a go and are feeling a bit on the fence about the story after book one, hold on and give book two a go before you give up completely.


  1. Thanks for posting this! I just tried Manga for the first time a couple of weeks ago...I did not have a lot to choose from at my library and am looking for titles I may enjoy.

  2. It's a fun series, I'm looking forward to getting hold of the next two books!



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