Auras, Spirits, and Zombies REVIEWING Alice in Zombieland #1

Welcome to The Real World According To Sam! Today we are talking about more YA zombie horror! I've really been reading a lot of books that fall within this category this month. But is this one any good? Let's talk about it and find out. 

 Alice in Zombieland

Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: YA Horror
Year: 2012

Alice in Zombieland


She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. 

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.


This book piqued my interest because it was labeled as being inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but with a zombie twist. I have already read the Alice in Zombieland retelling by Nickolas Cook, which I thought was alright. Quick and generally fun, but nothing special. I hoped this book would be a better kind of retelling I could really enjoy. 

Alice in Zombieland is the story of a teenage girl named Alice, who goes by Ali. She has lived a relatively sheltered and strange life that she is slightly tired of, until things take an awful twist. Her father always insisted on not going out after dark, but Ali convinces her parents to make an exception one night. A night that leaves her mother, father, and sister dead after a strange accident. Now she realizes her father was right and monsters do exist. Ali makes some new friends and hopes to fight against the zombies that caused her life to fall apart. 

This book is pretty standard YA paranormal fare. There's a teen girl, a romance with a strong boy that has a secret, and some kind of force to wage battle against. It is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but very lightly. There is no Wonderland and there are very few elements of the original novel included. There are just light references made. Inspired is the key here. Not retelling, but inspired by. That being said, I wish it had more Wonderland elements. Maybe if I keep reading on in the series, there will be more, but so far, I felt that to be the most lackluster aspect. 

Ali is a good enough protagonist in general. She is an average girl, but over the course of the book we see her harden. She has a strong will and she ends up being very headstrong in certain ways. She doesn't want to be at the mercy of anything and does her best to fight for good. I liked her well enough so far. I hope she keeps growing and that she becomes stronger as the series progresses. The other characters are also well-developed and interesting. The plot is straightforward, but very interesting. This was a different take on zombies that I did enjoy. The zombies are moreso spectral monsters that feed on people, than decomposed corpses attacking everyone. They had more substance to them and that was very interesting. 

The action is fast-paced and intriguing. I liked seeing the different characters' personalities unfold and getting deeper into Cole's world. The romance element is okay, but it feels like a very fast burn, almost insta-love levels. I would like to see it slowed down a bit as the series goes, because if it just keeps burning along at this pace, it won't be very compelling as a plot point for long. I did like Cole as a character and I like the depth of the world being presented. I hope it keeps unfolding and providing more suspense. 

This was a pretty fun read. It wasn't overly creepy, but it had some high intensity moments. The personal stakes for Alice were high and I liked the light suspense and twists that occurred. The story was relatively quick paced and interesting. It kept me interested for the full duration. My only major complaint is that I want some more Wonderland elements to be added in. I give Alice in Zombieland a Lone Star rating of ✯✯. It is good, but it isn't great. I recommend it for teens and readers that like this genre, but don't expect it to be super creepy. I will keep on reading this series to see how the next books are and what else the author throws at us. My curiosity is piqued, but I might read more of some other series first before getting to it (ex: The Monstrumologist). 

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them. See you tomorrow!