REVIEW: ‘Wonderland: An Anthology’ From Titan Books

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wonderland: An Anthology, published by Titan Books, is a collection of stories and poems inspired by the Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book features works from M.r. Carey, Mark Chadbourn, Genevieve Cogman, Jonathan Green, Alison Littlewood, James Lovegrove, L.l. Mckinney, George Mann, Juliet Marillier, Laura Mauro, Cat Rambo, Lilith Saintcrow, Cavan Scott, Robert Shearman, Angela Slatter, Catriona Ward, Jane Yolen, and Rio Youers. It is also edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane.

The original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a book that has been adapted into and has inspired movies, comics, anime, books, and even video games It also a book I personally hold near and dear to my heart. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite Disney movie and I reread the Lewis Carrol classic every year. I own four copies of the book, which all include the sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and a special pop-up picture book edition. The main theme in the original novel is Alice’s fleeting identity as she travels through the whimsical world of Wonderland and slowly forgets herself and her own story. The themes of idenity, growing up, and becoming complacent as well as the whimsy of the Wonderland itself has been what has kept the story alive years after its initial release.

Original art from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Wonderland: An Anthology does not retell the story of Alice. Instead, it takes components from the original work, like the setting, theme, or characters, and using their inspiration to create unique short stories and poems completely separate from the story of Alice. And while Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland might be a children’s book, Wonderland: An Anthology is not. Many of the stories focus on darker and often uncomfortable themes, including grief and sexual abuse.

Some of the stories within the anthology are eerie, or at the very least unsettling. Good Dog, Alice!, by Juliet Marillier, had a disturbing twist, but overall was one of my favorite pieces in Wonderland: An Anthology. That being said, not every story in the anthology has horror elements or deals with darker themes. About Time, from George Mann, encapsulated the feel of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland but with a modern twist. The story was delightful. I also greatly enjoyed both of Jane Yolen’s poems within the book, Alice in Armor and Revolution in Wonder. Yolen’s poems captured the magic of Wonderland more so than any other piece in the anthology.

Unfortunately, not every story within the anthology was as steller as Yolen’s poems. The opening story which follows the first poem of the book, Wonders Never Cease, from Robert Shearman, is jarring not necessarily becomes of themes it explores but because of the writing style. Prior to starting the book, I was also not aware of just how dark some of the stories would be. Because of that, it took me a while to appreciate the book and its more adult take on Wonderland.

Wonderland: An Anthology is a must-read for any fan of Lewis Carrol’s classic novel. The passion put into the book, as well as the clear passion each writer has for the original source material, is evident. With each story standing on its own, this anthology creates bite-sized selections of reading perfect for readers without much time on their hands or anyone who needs a whimsical story to read before bed as a way to wind down. That being said, unless you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this book will feel like a discombobulated mess.

Wonderland: An Anthology is available now in bookstores everywhere.

Wonderland: An Anthology
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TL;DR

Wonderland: An Anthology is a must-read for any fan of Lewis Carrol’s classic novel. The passion put into the book, as well as the clear passion each writer has for the original source material, is evident. With each story standing on its own, this anthology creates bite-sized selections of reading perfect for readers without much time on their hands or anyone who needs a whimsical story to read before bed as a way to wind down. That being said, unless you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this book will feel like a discombobulated mess.