So apparently Alice (as in the Alice) has a younger brother, Henry – a brother who has never believed Alice’s ridiculous stories of a magical place called Wonderland. However, things are happening and Alice needs Henry to believe her because she needs his help, so she conspires to send him to Wonderland so that he can see it for himself. Along the way, he meets up with Hatter (as in “The Mad”), and together they run into some very well-known characters from a classic and oft-redone tale.
Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase is definitely a fun and easy read. There isn’t a lot of action – it’s mostly Hatter and Henry wandering through Wonderland, Henry’s reactions to everything he’s seeing, and Hatter’s reactions to Henry. It was a quick read, so it didn’t really strike me as slow paced, but not a lot really happens, and I can definitely see people getting frustrated at the distinct lack of things happening.
I’m not sure which version of the story this is supposed to follow, but there is a lot heavily dependent on knowing the original tale, which is fine – I doubt there are that many people who aren’t at least sort of aware of one adaptation of Alice in Wonderland – but without knowing which canon I was supposed to be following, it makes the characters seem not very developed. I had this same issue with A Whole New World, but at least then you knew which version you were supposed to be thinking about. The version of Hatter I had in my head while reading this was Andrew Lee-Potts from Syfy’s Alice miniseries, though the Red Queen looked like Helena Bonham Carter from the 2010 Disney film.
Unfortunately, the characters were kind of flat, Henry especially. He’s a main character, and I feel we know so little about him. This is probably a consequence of relying too heavily on the source material – expecting people to just know the characters without feeling the need to give them any sort of depth or description. One major plus in favor of Mad About the Hatter, though, is that while it’s not explicitly stated, it is pretty clear that both Hatter and Henry are bisexual. The problem is that the boys’ romance is just as underdeveloped as they themselves are.
What the book lacked in characterization, it made up for in world-building. Even with many variations to fall back on, I could quite clearly picture the Wonderland that Chase described. It does indeed seem like a very magical place. On the other hand, the “real” world that Henry came from was very muddled. Everyone sounded extremely American, even though Alice is supposed to be British. I was confused as to where in the “real” world Henry was supposed to hail from, and the brief amount of time we spent not in Wonderland seemed generic.
Basically, this book was cute and fun, but not a lot happens, and what does happen seems very anticlimactic. The conclusion is just too easy, not that there was really any build-up to a conclusion in the first place. Mad About the Hatter is certainly entertaining, but sadly not very memorable.
Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase is published by Harmony Ink Press and is currently available wherever books are sold.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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