Sunday, August 23, 2015
Book Review: Alice in No-Man's-Land by James Knapp
Today's review is on Alice in No-Man's-Land by James Knapp. This book came out just recently and was sent to me by the author (thanks a lot, James!:-)) to write an honest review.
Alice Walshe has led a very charmed life, until now.
Twenty years after a pandemic crippled the country things are finally back on track and her father, a major player at real estate giant Cerulean Holdings, has made billions renewing the pockets of urban decay that were left behind. As his protégé she has accompanied him to one such area named Ypsilanti Bloc, a particularly valuable site due to its proximity to a major thriving city. When their airship is attacked by Ypsilanti's biggest militia, however, Alice and her brother Cody only barely escape and end up as the sole survivors of the crash.
Alice emerges from the drop ship to find herself trapped in the very Bloc that her father was meant to re-purpose - a ruined city that militias, gangs, and even cannibals now call home. She is discovered by a pair of teens who have tracked the wreck hoping to scavenge anything useful, and with few options open to her she employs their help to find her brother and get home. Things grow more complicated, however, when she realizes that the attack may not have been random, and that Cerulean’s renewal project may not be as benign as she had been brought up to believe.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)
The story is told from the perspective of Alice, a strong and smart 20-year-old. In the beginning she needed a little time to deal with the situation she's been thrown into but then she got very determined and tough again. A lot of times she kind of "discusses" with herself what she's supposed to do or tries to convince herself that she can handle everything like saving her brother and staying alive. And I think most people would act like her so, for me, it was really easy to identify myself with her. Once she sees the violence and cruelty but also the kindness in the Bloc, she struggles with what she's been taught to believe and what she actually learned in this completely different world.
There are two great supporting characters too: Maya and Basilio. They helped Alice after the crash and it was really interesting to see all of them grew to trust each other despite the prejudices they grew up with.
In the beginning of each chapter is a small paragraph of direct speech by different people outside the Bloc; politicians, entertainer, news anchors etc, who talk about the current situation of the Bloc and it's residents. I think that was a really good idea because for one thing the reader knows a little bit more than the main character about what's going on "outside" and for another thing I felt it's sort of socio-critical since it can easily be transferred to our time. In the book the government had to decide how to deal with the Bloc but you can't make such an important decision without really having experienced the life of the people living there. I don't know if it was intended that I felt approached on the subject but I did.
What I loved as well was that you jump right into the story, not much explaining about what happened to the country or why they're in the situation they are in right now, which I was very glad about because I like finding out about everything throughout the story without a super long prolog.
All in all was this a really great, detailed but fast-paced book. It's not an exact retelling of Alice in Wonderland so if that's what you're looking for, you won't find it in this one BUT it is an awesome, kick-ass story with a tough heroine!
Thanks for reading and pick up Alice in No-Man's-Land!
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