Celia and Tyrus are both library nerds – Tyrus because he loves to read and Celia because her mom is the new librarian in town. The two strike up a fast and sure friendship and Celia reveals to him her personal issue … she’s dyslexic. Most people don’t understand what that means and she’s usually assumed to be, at best, stupid and at worst, carrying a disease. Tyrus is the first person who really seems to get Celia.
In their new-found friendship, they find that they share a love of the works of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and Tyrus informs Celia that Charles Dodgson kept diaries his whole life but after his death, his family discovered that four of the diaries were missing. Celia admits that she’s actually related to Dodgson – his great, great, many great grand-niece.
Going through a collection of old books in a box belonging to Celia’s family, they come across four leather-bound books. With awe, Tyrus announces that he believes they are Dodgson’s missing diaries. But more importantly, while going through one of them, Celia and Tyrus become transported into Wonderland.
But the Wonderland that Lewis Carroll wrote about has changed. Many of the characters are still there, but some have become ruthless monsters and Tyrus and Celia want only to return to their home. They will have to solve many riddles and puzzles and avoid being beheaded by the Queen of Hearts and they still may not find the secrets that will get them home.
I’ve long been a fan of the Alice in Wonderlands books and I’m a sucker for anything related to the books, but at the same time I am hesitant to read anything in this universe because it’s not likely to live up to the original. J. Scott Savage’s tale is a worthy offering, helped by the fact that this isn’t Alice returning.
The math involved here is cleverly done and quite appropriate for the story and as a young reader adventure story, this is quite enjoyable.
As a “Wonderland” story…? This is clever and fitting in many ways, but it lacks the magic and spark of the originals. The darker nature of some of the much-loved original characters really doesn’t work as well as it should. The original Alice’s characters were pretty dark on their own without giving them some nefarious motives.
This is often the problem when playing in someone else’s world – to make it unique means messing with what’s already there.
Overall, I enjoyed this and would recommend it as an exciting fantasy for some readers, but it hurts a little bit to recommend it as an Alice in Wonderland adventure.
Looking for a good book? The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage takes readers back to Wonderland with two new young human guides, but it’s not the Wonderland we left when we closed Lewis Carroll’s books.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Lost Wonderland Diaries
author: J. Scott Savage
publisher: Shadow Mountain
hardcover, 352 pages