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Chasing Rabbits - Erin R. Bedford

While I absolutely love retellings of classic stories, this one was just not for me.

Basically a much more raunchy version of Bella Swan travels to Wonderland/Underground in a confusing yet predictable story filled with a bunch of random things that have nothing to do with the original tale.

The story itself was all over the place and not a very tight retelling. Instead of using ideas from the original story and reworking them, Bedford just kind of makes stuff up and adds a lot of fae elements. The story is less a retelling and mostly just a new story that happens to occur in Wonderland/Underground. There are some small references to the original (Cheshire Cat, Hatter, Alice, etc.), but Bedford changes them too much for them to feel like part of the actual Wonderland universe. So this scores low on the creativity scale in that sense.

Part of my dissatisfaction may have come from having read [book:Insanity|18910286] earlier this year. While I didn't like it all that much, I will admit that Jace definitely did his research and had some really creative connections. This book was really missing that. It didn't feel like Bedford did any real research. (And the storyline between the unnamed Lewis Carrol and Alice's character was very creepy considering some speculation of Carrol and Alice Liddell's actual relationship.)

The writing was decent. Lots of descriptions, but it did get repetitive. Many things were awkwardly phrased, making it difficult to follow the flow of the story.

As far as the main character, I can't really come up with anything good to say about her. Kat is really annoying and follows the same anti-female writing style as a lot of YA fiction (dislike of female friends, all women as catty and obsessed with men, intense discomfort with emotion). I hated her and could not relate to her at all. I didn't really care what happened to her.

Having said that, the weird attempted rape was very off-putting, especially since Kat references it, but it isn't really addressed in any real way. She doesn't tell anybody or follow up in any way. She makes jokes about needing therapy about it, but never seems to take it seriously. It was very uncomfortable and a horrible message to survivors of rape and sexual assault.

But then again, most of the sex stuff set up a foggy dynamic in terms of consent. Pretty much everyone wants a piece of Kat in one way or another (move over Bella, we've got another average-looking woman coming in to take your title), despite her harping on about how mediocre she is in the looks department. While Kat usually rejects the advances, the whole interplay of fae magic adds a creepily blurry line to consent and rape culture within the book.

There's a twist at the end, but you can see it coming a mile away so maybe "twist" is a bit of an exaggeration.

Like I said, not my cup of tea, but for a free ebook my expectations weren't too high.