Image Description: The book-cover of Alice in the Country of Hearts – Volume 1 by QuinnRose. The cover has a background of tan checked-diamond pattern, with Peter White (a young man with white hair and white rabbit ears and glasses) carrying a young girl bridal style. The young girl in his arms, Alice, is wearing a blue and white lolita-style dress and has an expression of suprise on her face.
About The Book:
Alice wakes up to find a white rabbit wearing clothes. The rabbit forcefully drags Alice into the rabbit hole, where she encounters a frightful world where fairytale-like citizens wield dangerous weapons for an insidious cause. Unable to return home, can Alice find happiness in a world full of danger and beautiful young men?
~Rating system: The thing that I like about TokyoPop as a publisher is that they have a rating system on the backs of their manga volumes. This might not seem like a big deal, but unfortunately, a lot of libraries tend to shove manga and graphic novels into the Young Adult section without putting much thought into whether or not the item in question is appropriate for a Young Adult audience. More publishers need to be doing this.
~Retelling: This is an interesting retailing (or at least I think it’s interesting). I always hesitate with Fairy Retellings or Retellings in general, especially with something like Alice and Wonderland, and while it’s definitely got some flaws, I found the plot and the characters interesting enough to hold my attention.
~Slow Plot: The plot is super slow with this series, normally this would irritate me, but I don’t mind it with this particular series. I’m up to Volume 5 and I’m still not sure how this particular series is going to end, or how the romantic subplots are going to be resolved. There’s also this problem with series continuity, I know you start with Alice in the Country of Hearts, but then there’s the Country of Clover and the Country of Joker. Honestly, the whole numbering system is super confusing or at least is for me.
~Shojo Manga Self-Awareness: Let’s be real here, the manga is about a reverse harem situation involving characters from Alice in Wonderland, and all of the characters in some way for some reason care about Alice. The thing is, the main character Alice is self-aware enough to know that this is a weird situation, and a few of the characters are even genre-savvy enough to point it out as well. Alice is also mature enough to point out that there are different kinds of relationships and, from my point of view, her relationship with Julius the clockmaker comes across as sibling-like affection as opposed to romantic intentions, there seems to be a stronger connection between Ace and Julius.
All in all, an adorable manga series with lovely artwork, it’s a bit of fluffy harmless fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously. While I enjoy it and I like the complex artwork, I can understand why some readers but get a little frustrated with all the characters fawning over Alice and the slow build up.