Here's the premise: Wonderland - you know, from Alice in Wonderland - is a real place. Yes, you can go down that rabbit hole. And when Alice went there, her visit changed Wonderland.
Enter our protagonist, James. James is an ordinary guy that finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up going down the rabbit hole. James' trip to Wonderland shows a changed world, one now seen through the eyes of an adult. All the old characters are there: White Rabbit, Caterpiller, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter and the rest. But author Anderson also introduces us to delightful new characters.
Oh, and did I mention it all has a steampunk vibe? So imagine entering Wonderland made over with a Victorian, steampunk twist. Are there corsets you ask? Yes there are. Are there fun gadgets and machines? Yes, the story has those too.
Gears of Wonderland is a page-turning action adventure with a regular guy turned action hero. I found James, the main character, delightful and unassuming. Anderson also introduces us to the Mad Hatter's daughter, Kara, who helps James navigate the world of Wonderland. Kara is a gritty female character and a great counterpoint to James.
For me, while Wonderland was an interesting backdrop for the story and it was fun meeting the C.S. Lewis characters from a new perspective, Anderson's original new characters are what make the story interesting.
Jason Anderson is a gifted author and he wove a delightful tale in Gears of Wonderland. My only complaint with the story is that it seemed to lag for me toward the end. At that point I wanted less description and more action to pull me to the end. But the end itself was satisfying and I think the book ends in such a way that the author has left himself room for additional adventures with the wonderful characters.
Lastly I will say that I've read quite a few self-pubbed books over the past year and Gears of Wonderland stands out as one of the most well-written (and well formatted and edited) self-pubbed books of the Year of the Indie.
If you like Alice in Wonderland, you should definitely read this book. If you like Steampunk, you should definitely read this book.
And if you just want a fun adventure of a story, you should definitely read this book.
This book gets 5 Hawks!
Next week on Natalie Wright's YA -
Writer Chat Wednesday with Addison Moore!!!! YA-Indie-Phenom with news about her story going to the screen!
And here's the video version of this review in case you don't feel like reading ;-)