The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
Heads would Roll…
Hearts would Break…
In the end, would it matter who Reigned?
I received an email from this very sassy lady a few months ago asking if I’d like to review her upcoming book, Death of the Mad Hatter when it was finished. After reading what it was about I (almost literately) jumped at the chance and eagerly awaited my review copy. Death of the Mad Hatter is the authors wonderful own take on the well known story of Alice in Wonderland. Ryley meets a wonderfully weird new student, Alice Mae and he knows she’s up to something. Alice Mae has been sent from Wonderland to find Ryley and bring him to Hearts, the Queen but Ryley has no idea about his connections to Wonderland even though a prophecy has stated otherwise. Follow Ryley and Alice Mae down the rabbit hole and join them in “A world where the impossibilities of our most farfetched dreams come true – that is the essence of Wonderland.”
The first thing I noticed when starting this book was how unusual Sarah’s writing style is. In all honesty, it did take a little while to get used to however it wasn’t off putting at all. Despite the style of the book being a bit weird and wacky, I was so unbelievably impressed with everything the author done in terms of character development and settings. Her descriptions are phenomenal and having seen both Alice in Wonderland’s (original cartoon version and the version with Johnny Depp in) it was so easy to imagine this bright, weird, upside down world. All her characters were amazing. It features lots of the original characters from Alice in Wonderland e.g. the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire cat etc. but she makes them completely her own. I absolutely loved the character of Alice Mae, she was the most loveable yet infuriating character I’ve ever read and I think it must take some talent to be able to make a reader both love and hate a character equally. Not only that, she was also one of the strongest, dominant and well developed characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
The layout of the book was in 2 different points of view, both of which were in 1st person. This really worked and I liked how for the majority of the book Alice Mae knows what’s going on but Ryley doesn’t and I like the idea of one character being left in the dark. To avoid confusion she states at the beginning of each chapter whether it’s present time or not or whether the character is in Wonderland or not and I think it was absolutely crucial she did that because I would have been extremely confused otherwise and that could have potentially ruined the book for me. This is a pretty serious book, despite the Wonderland idea it does delve into quite real and painful territory but I loved the underlying romance between Ryley and Alice Mae. I wasn’t sure where it was going to go and whether they would end up together in the end puzzled me throughout the whole book but you could tell it was there right from the very beginning. This whole story pretty much centres around the Bleeding Hearts Prophecy which is not only mentioned in the blurb but numerous times throughout the book. At the very beginning of the book it’s mentioned the prologue and it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but at the end it all comes together. Honestly, it was like a revelation for me because I was a little confused then it all just clicked into place. I love it when that happens.
I am overjoyed at the response Sarah has had with this book and I completely understand why. This compelling, heart-racing yet romantic novel leaves you on edge until the very end, rooting for all the right characters and in awe of Sarah’s incredible imagination. It’s something to make up a new world entirely but to write your own version of an already internationally well-known fairy tale is something else and an incredibly brave thing to do. I’m sure there is always this fear that you won’t pull it off but Sarah absolutely did. I loved Sarah’s somewhat twisted version of Wonderland and the way she has turned it from a magical place you’d love to visit to somewhere you’d do anything to avoid.
I give Sarah a Whopping and Well-deserved 5 cupcakes
1. Hi Sarah, thanks for answering some questions today. To start off, can you tell us what Death of the Mad Hatter is about?
A tragic love story, like Romeo and Juliet but on “crazy drugs”.
2. Was it difficult to make an already well-known and loved story completely your own?
Confession time: the original story of Alice in Wonderland scares the bejeesus out of me. It ranks right up there with the scary flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz. Hate those monkeys. So I honestly knew the general idea of wonderland so doing a copy cat was unlikely. Though, the talking animals was a mental hurdle I had to jump. I wanted a grown-up story and a talking rabbit was a bit of a challenge.
3. Did you watch or read Alice In Wonderland to research and help prepare for this book?
I will admit that when I was nearly finished with the Death of the Mad Hatter I did watch Johnny Depp’s version BUT with the lights on and in the middle of the day.
4. Are you or were you a Disney fan as a child? If so, who was your favourite character?
TOTALLY A DISNEY CHILD! Little mermaid girl right here 😀
5. Was this book self or traditionally published? What made you decide to go down that route? (Or rabbit hole)
Selfie. I do work for three different publishers. However, I choose to this one on my own because a good photographer friend of mine had this wicked photo of Alice. It was actually where I got “my” idea of the story.
6. I’m going to assume you have a pretty wild imagination, do you use this to your advantage when writing or do you find yourself with too many crazy ideas?
At any given moment I have five or six different directions a story could go when writing it. Honestly, I usually just let my characters take over the story so when I get to the end I hardly ever know what is going to happen. I’m as much on the end of my seat as the readers.
7. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? If so, did you study or gain any type of qualification towards it
Nope. Farthest thing from. I have my degree in exercise science. I am a horrific speller and my grammar is less than par. So thank goodness for editors!
8. Who are some of your personal favourite authors?
SOOKIE STACKHOUSE SERIES! Eric Northman? Yes please! I do have a soft spot in my heart for the Berenstine Bears tho 🙂
9. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Bubble wrap yourself (theoretically) you will get knocked on your keister more often than not but don’t give up!
10. Finally, can we ever expect a sequel and if not, do you have anything else lined up for the future?
Honest, I wasn’t planning on it but due to overwhelming requests this far that may change. Otherwise, I do need to fix the mess I made in The Fate Trilolgy.
Sarah J. Pepper lives in South Dakota with her real-life prince charming. At a young age, she fell for paranormal books and now incorporates that genre with romance that thrives in the hearts of us all. When she’s not storytelling, she’s most likely biking, hoarding chocolate, or taking a bubble bath.
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