Published: 1st October 2012 by HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 404 pages
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She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
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.
Firstly, I was hoodwinked by this book. It is not a retelling of the Alice fairy tale as the title, subtitle, and the names of the series and the main character will have you believe. Nope. Aside from a few cute references, this novel bears little similarity to Alice in Wonderland. Secondly, I haven’t read any other book of Showalter’s, but I was severely disappointed by this one.
Basically this book is about hot, smexy times (both real and in vision form) between the two main characters, broken up with fights with zombies, teen angst and copious rule-breaking. Alice Bell is actually a pretty cool girl who loves her family and takes a lot of care of her younger sister Emma, even though their father is a little crazy and believes in monsters that come out at night and harm people. The death of her whole family at the hands of these monsters quickly educates Alice on the very real dangers, but it’s only about half way into the book that the word ‘zombies’ is mentioned. My initial warmth towards Alice, however, quickly disappeared the moment she met Cole Holland.
When Alice first spies Cole, she concludes, rightly, that he and his friends are trouble. They are all tattoo-ridden, muscular, and sporting multiple bruises, and two of them have ankle bracelets. Which I’m guessing is exactly why she falls in love with Cole the moment they lock eyes (and get this: his eyes are violet. Ick!). I had to put the book down. I went back to it about a week later, and discovered that it doesn’t get better. Cole is controlling, arrogant and bossy, ordering Ali around and generally being a complete dick to her in the name of ‘protecting’ her. Not. Cool.
Some of the other characters do, however, shine. I really liked Emma, and I enjoyed reading about Kat, the new friend Ali makes at her school. I also really loved Ali’s grandparents, because they obviously cared about her so much. However, this effect is ruined by Ali taking advantage of the fact that they don’t hear too well to sneak out of the house, and her constant lying really annoyed me.
The stand out element of the book is definitely Showalter’s re-imagining of zombies – they aren’t kind of slow, stupid undead we’re used to, but creatures of the spirit realm that feed on a person’s spirit. The effect of this manifested physically as emulating the walking undead. This, at least in part, explains why Alice didn’t understand she was up against zombies for so long (although the other part is that the girl is really very slow).
There is a lot of unnecessary, and frankly distracting, teen drama in this book. Alice is fought over by two boys (both of whom struck me as weird and creepy, but to each their own), Kat has ex-boyfriend drama, and all the girls Ali interacts with end up stabbing her in the back or letting her down. I was disappointed in such a view of high school, because it isn’t really like that, and with the author being female, I would have thought she – at least – would take the view that girls can be friends without the gossiping, social climbing and back-stabbing.
The beautiful cover of Alice in Zombieland hides its disappointing innards well, but in my honest opinion life is too short to waste on books like this. I guess if you’re looking for a fluff piece, this would be a good candidate, but there is hardly anything remarkable or memorable about it.