Wonderland – David – Matthew Barnes.
First thing I have to address – the cover. Seriously, this could be the most irrelevant cover I have EVER seen. I know that when you get to the end the cover starts to make sense but… Look at it! When I first saw the cover I thought, hmm, girl, boy, he’s a bit blurry so I’m thinking maybe some recreational drug use and a field party. What I got instead was a tale of love, magic and some voodoo style hocus pocus stuff. But you know, the cover doesn’t matter, like people it’s what’s inside that counts.
Here’s the blurb:
After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician’s assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark. Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux. It’s there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamoured with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo. When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she’s faced with the most crucial choice of her life.
This reminded me a little of the Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern, that too had an intriguing mystical atmosphere and a supernatural storyline that you discovered along with the lead characters. The Night Circus I feel was a little more superior in the sense that not having all the answers wasn’t half as annoying as Wonderland.
I mean, I know it was “magic” and all and I suppose that karma was kind of a major theme but I just… Andrew Garfield, can you help me out here, buddy?
I’m not opposed to fantasy and magic I just find it hard to suspend belief when I have no idea what’s going on. The plot and general concept of this was great and quite refreshing for after so much angsty YA stuff, I also really loved the relationships and pairings in this. I kind of loved that there were so many different types of families and that there was this recurring idea about what truly makes a family come to life. That said, and please don’t lynch me or anything but I did feel a little bit like too much was made of all the same sex couples. I love that it was included because visibility is key but it was forced down my throat a little,it just kept being bought up and it seemed a little unnecessary. It felt like the author was just going “hey, look at all the same sex couples I have. Yeah, look at them all. Did I mention the same sex couples featured in this story?” Some of the dialogue was clunky too. Destiny had no real sense of urgency about her desire to learn more of Wonderland’s secrets and there were several conversations between her, Topher and Tasha that fell a little flat to me. Also, there was a proper cheesey moment when Destiny actually used the phrase: “I am your destiny.”
It should be illegal for people called Destiny to say that.
That said though, I loved the concept and the tone of the novel was really enjoyable. I thought it was fresh and original and will definitely appeal to anyone looking for some hardcore escapism, I think I’m maybe being a bit hard on it, but I couldn’t help compare it to Erin Morgernstern’s book which is a tad unfair of me.
Do completely ignore the cover and give it a go though because if you overlook the minor flaws and the cheesey Destiny moment it’s rather enjoyable way to escape day to day life.
Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC to review.