Book Quibbles: Curiouser and Curiouser, Steampunk Fairy Tales

Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.

What are the odds I randomly buy a Lit-Cube with a book I enjoyed?

Alice in Wonderland

To start off, this isn’t Alice in Wonderland. Alice doesn’t fall down a rabbit hole and enter another world with mad creatures. This is set in London and the characters we know as Caterpillar, Rabbit, and Jabberwocky are code names for people in another world Alice is a part of.



Making deals with pirates and other bad people, stealing, and breaking in, just to name a few. Alice’s adoptive-fatherish figure raised her to be one of the best as she’s accurately named Bandersnatch. For a good part of her life she worked for the Jabberwocky doing his deeds until his death allowed her to choose another path.

However, Alice fell in love with William aka Caterpillar. Both saw a future together until Jabberwocky died and William chose to take over the job rather than leave with Alice and her sick sister Bess.

Alice is a more updated version of herself. She can handle herself in difficult situations while retaining her curious side. What she does is for her sister which makes her easy to root for.


Clockwork animals and people are part of the story, although not the main. Hate to say I haven’t read that many Steampunk novels, so the small part is a nice introduction. The mechanisms are there for people to see and even buy. This is a good act for Alice and William who are stealing an important rock for the Queen of Hearts.

Magic, Sort Of

If one thing got a major update it’s the Queen of Hearts. She is far beyond mad than other interpretations of her. It goes to the point where Alice and William do a few errands for Jabberwocky and refuse to go back or even be near her presence.

Although magic is a small part, even smaller than Steampunk, the Queen of Hearts doesn’t appear quite often. At first you hear some gruesome stories then eventually we’re introduced through some flashbacks until the very end when the final show down takes place.

Tone and Set Up

Like I said this is far different from the original Alice in Wonderland. Alice can take care of herself and has a knife (named the White Queen) she carries around.

Familiar characters are in the story as well as integral items and themes from the original. Even though it doesn’t take place in Wonderland you’ll recognize when they come into play, even if it’s not a big part.

There are numerous flashbacks that tie into the main story, answering questions like why Alice wanted to get out of the life and why she and William are separated.

Speaking of the romance, I didn’t mind it. The two dated for years and are in a break-up state but both still love each other. The chemistry is there and you can tell they’ve not only been together for a long time, but friends. It’s a nice romance you can root for.

The book is a short read, just a little over 200 pages, and something you can get done in one night.


Out of the blue this book came into my life and I’m glad it did. This interpretation is different from others and aspects of the original story come in even though it doesn’t take place in Wonderland.

Alice is a likable character and has more spunk and grit. She and William’s relationship is an important part of the story, but it’s not just a romance. Alice wants to get her life sorted and William just happens to be a part of it. The rest of the characters are likable and the Queen of Hearts is as evil as ever. The Steampunk aspect is there but isn’t a main focus.

Overall I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes the original story and wants to read more interpretations. There are graphic scenes that take place with the Queen of Hearts, but other than that it’s a good read for anyone.

Curiouser and Curiouser is the first book in a series of Steampunk fairy tales, which I’ll be reading soon enough.



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