Friday Face Off : A Wicked Grin

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

This week’s theme:

A Wicked Grin

For once, I knew exactly which book I had in mind for this week’s theme.  It’s perfect in terms of title and cover.  It’s a book I haven’t read even though I picked up a copy many years ago.  Wicked by Gregory Maguire.  And, here are the covers:

And, well I had to go with the cover I find the most familiar this week:

W2

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – Books with ‘book’ in the title

2021

July

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Posted On 31 October 2015

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 11 responses

Just finished reading After Alice and have mixed feelings about it.  I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either – I just feel a little ambivalent.

After Alice is quite literally a story that takes place after Alice has tumbled down the rabbit hole.  It doesn’t really involve Alice much at all although there is plenty of mention of her but focuses instead on her friend Ada who also manages to find herself tumbling down the same rabbit hole and following in Alice’s footsteps.  At the same time we get to read the story of what is unfolding at Alice’s home where her father is embroiled in a visit by a very eminent person of the era, the staff are wrapped up in trying to make lunch preparations and are all flustered and Alice’s sister is torn between trying to charm one of the visitors and being hounded to try and locate her missing sister.

Put bluntly, After Alice is a sequel and being a bit slow on the uptake I hadn’t really considered that.  To be honest I’m not always overly fond of authors writing sequels to another person’s works but I do think I give this one a fair trial and in fairness I did enjoy elements of the story.

What I particularly liked about the book was the writing style.  For me this author’s style of writing seems to lend itself perfectly to a Victorian novel.  His style comes across old fashioned and whimsical, if a little wordy, and I think he did a great job of setting out the place and the people. I think Maguie also manages to take a look at some of the class issues of the era – the snobbery and the class system being examples.  This was an interesting era and one just poised on the brink of change.  I also enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from the original story and getting involved once again in their silliness.

In terms of the characters – to be honest I really couldn’t find myself becoming attached to any – except Ada.  Lydia, I tried to like.  She’s just lost her mother and is struggling with the loss not only of one of her parents but also with the instantaneous loss of her own childhood as she is now expected to bear more responsibility.  However, she was more likely to invoke irritation than sympathy to be honest.  Ada on the other hand.  She has her own burdens to bear.  Born with a curvature of the spine she has always worn an uncomfortable iron corset.  Most of polite society find her imperfections intolerable and on top of that the recent addition to her family of a baby boy has definitely pushed her into the margins of the household.  I did like Ada and her no nonsense way of searching for Alice who she in fact realises is actually in need of rescue.

In terms of criticisms.  I thought that the plot lacked focus.  Yes, Ada is searching for Alice.  But it felt a little like a pale imitation of Alice’s adventures.  Ada is always on the outside looking in and the chapters in which we meet old favourites just feel a bit like regurgitations of what has already come before.  On top of that, I didn’t really enjoy the alternating chapters that we spent in the ‘real’ world.  In fact, I’m not really sure what benefit these extra chapters brought to the story to be honest other than to use the opportunity to turn this into a social commentary on the period and the people. I guess the alternating chapters served as a way to compare the worlds but personally I would have preferred the adventure to stay a little more in Wonderland.  I also thought the ending felt very rushed and to be honest a little unsatisfactory – although it could be that the author is planning a follow up.

So, mixed feelings.  I did like the author’s style.  I thought he came up with some quite thought provoking ideas but somehow it lacked that certain something, difficult to put my finger on really, but that little extra that just makes a book click for you.  I certainly wouldn’t dissuade others from reading but by the same token I wouldn’t say it’s a must read.

I received a copy courtesy of the publishers.  The above is my own opinion.