Written by duo J.A. Armitage and J.A. Cullican, We’re All Mad Here is an Alice and Wonderland retelling that kicks off the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology, paying homage to this quirky classic with several twists.
Together, Armitage and Cullican write in realistic narrative style that is similar to the narrative style to the book The Duff. The two aren’t afraid to throw some slang into the proses, and use witty ellipsis (for example: “…sorry dead lady’s house.”) The descriptions, however, relate to pop culture that anyone with knowledge of the classic and the live-action Disney version of the tale. The setting is well-developed but also left to the reader’s imagination. One setting description that stands out to me is “croquet garden;” it’s the most poetic description of them all.
The authors’ dialogue is interesting. It pays respect to the original characters of the classic and each is unique to the characters.
The authors pay attention to the thoughts of the narrator and the dialogue between the characters.
There are several characters in this book. The main character is Alice, who goes to help her mom clear an old house for antiques on her eighteenth birthday. The one rule is don’t disturb the mirror on the second floor. However, her mom causes the mirror on the second floor to fall on Alice, transporting Alice back 1852 England. She joins forces with Albus Rabbit, Kit, Kit’s grandmother, and the Mad Hatter to get back to her own time while she helps out in a political campaign against Mrs. Heart.
The Mad Hatter, ironically, is described as having Johnny Depp looks from his Edward Scissorhands era. He’s brightly complex and moody, and has something in common with Alice that forms a romantic bond between the two while external forces (the citizens of the town in 1852, and Mrs. Heart) try to keep them apart.
The mirror qualifies as a character or at least an entity that has powers that are meant to be hidden and not disturbed. But together, Hatter and Alice try to defeat Mrs. Heart.
If you’re looking for something witty and quirky and unexpected twists, please, read We’re All Mad Here and support the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology.