Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Other Alice - Book Review


The Other Alice - Book Review
MG Fantasy
Michelle Harrison
UK Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Synopsis:

What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This a story about one of those stories…

Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and - most of all - stories. Especially because he’s grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.

When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, THE MUSEUM OF UNFINISHED STORIES, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.

But every tale has its villains - and with them leaping off the page, Midge, Gypsy and Piper must use all their wits and cunning to work out how the story ends and find Alice. If they fail, a more sinister finale threatens them all . . .

Review:

This book really captured my imagination. A story within story, where characters walk off the page and magic finds a place in the real world - this book was everything I hoped it would be and more. 

When Midge’s sister, Alice goes missing, he knows something really bad has happened to her. Then he finds a talking cat, a girl who looks eerily like his sister, and a strange boy/thief who can charm anyone with a song. The three only have one thing in common. They were characters in his sisters book. Yet now, something has brought them off the page and into the world. 

But they aren't the only ones who escaped Alice’s notebook. And not all the characters are happy with the end Alice has planned for them. Now Midge, and his odd trio of companions must find Alice so she can finish the story, before the villain’s can create a twisted ending of their own.

Such a delicious story! THE OTHER ALICE is a superbly written tale based around the premise of unfinished stories. Its something that will enjoyed by all ages alike, as its about family and friends, combined with a dash of magic and a pinch of the impossible.

The characters have so much depth and life to them - each stunningly unique in their own way. Everyone from the talking cat to the simple corner shop owner, everyone in the story is memorable, both main and minor characters alike.  Sometimes its their appearance, their manner of speech or personality, everyone just simply dazzled. 

Midge in particular is a great hero - although admittedly, I didn't read the blurb and missed the fact he was a boy. It took me several chapters before I cottoned on - however watching him move from one clue to the next in search of his sister was simply heartwarming.

Although I think my favourite character had to be Tea, the talking cat. She made me laugh on so many occasions. But I was also intrigued by the villain of the story, and I loved the idea she was created by what Alice (the writer) feared most. Although I felt all the “story” characters had a little of Alice in them, and this book really paints the picture of what authors mean when they say each character carries a part of themselves.

I also throughly enjoyed the riddles in this book. I often found myself setting the book aside just so I could try and figure them out myself - and while I didn't quite get the big riddle, I was close! In a way, this also made reading the story more satisfying as I felt I was solving the clues right there along with Midge … as well as testing my own intelligence :)

In terms of plot, the story was fast paced and pretty intense. Full of mystery, action, puzzle solving and magic, this book would surely capture all imaginations. I must confess though I was anticipating the final plot twist regarding the villain, however I find that with this story, it didn't quell my enjoyment. More like I just HAD to keep reading to check I was right, because there are certainly enough side plots to keep you uncertain.

My only nit pick was the ending. While I really liked the line, that all fictional characters continue their story long after the book is closed, and that a book is just a window into that particular time and story… I REALLY wanted to know what happened next for Alice’s characters! I sincerely hope Michelle Harrison considers writing a sequel, because this book was just beautiful.

Basically if you enjoyed Cornelia Funke’s Ink Heart Series then you will absolutely love this book as well.  There are also some hints of Alice in wonderland, as well as some other classic and lesser known stories hidden throughout the book. I feel like Michelle Harrison took a little inspiration from everywhere, and through it her love of books really shines through. Both as a reader and a writer. 

A dazzling story woven with spellbinding thread, you can tell this was a work of the heart. I give THE OTHER ALICE 5 stars!



6 comments:

  1. Sorry you didn't get a definite ending but it doesn't sound like that detoured you too much from still really liking this. It sounds like it was so much fun!

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    1. It was a really fun read! It's advertised as MG but I think people of all ages would really like it :) Seriously hoping for a sequel though!

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  2. I'd never heard of this one! It sounds like it's so much fun and full of magic and imagination - I think I'll be adding to this to my TBR. Great review!

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    1. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I haven't read anything by Michelle Harrison before but I will definitely be checking out her other books now :)

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  3. I like the idea of stories coming to life, so this one sounds really fun. Plus I've liked Michelle Harrison's other books- she really brought the fae realm to life in the other ones I've read, so I'm pretty sure I'd like this too. Plus a talking cat? Yes please!

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    1. I was so impressed with this book that I plan to go out and buy Michelle Harrison other works this weekend. I just can't believe I haven't picked up this author before!

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