Book Reviews

Book Review: Wonderland Academy: Year One by Melanie Karsak

Wonderland Academy by Melanie Karsak
Wonderland Academy Year One by Melanie Karsak
Title: Wonderland Academy: Year One
Author: Melanie Karsak
Genre: New Adult & College Fantasy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just putting this out there–I am a huge Alice and Wonderland freak. I lurve Alice and everything Wonderland. I have copies of the books in other languages. I collect figurines. I have commissioned artwork. 


Having this passion for the Lewis Carroll novels I either crazy love or absolutely loathe the treatment other authors give to the lore of this magical world. It’s easy to misinterpret the archetypes Carroll fashioned his characters  causing the retelling to slaughter something I feel is sacred. But this book Melanie Karsak has written is brilliant. 

Also Karsak’s Alice and I coincidentally share a very similar name, mine Ali Lucia Crean (pronounced crane) and hers Alice Lacey Crane; therefor FIVE STARS!

No, really now. 

Lacey Crane is crazy. Not only a rumor, it’s been institutionally certified. PTSD might drive someone to do desperate things but it won’t explain away all the imaginary friends (and enemies) Lacey has in her head. The mermaid in the river, the dapper Victorian gentleman with a compulsive disorder of his own, and the corn maze hallucination that mocks her for thinking that this world is even where she belongs are as real to her as they aren’t really there for her friends and family. What is a not-so funny aside is the least-with-this-world person in her life, her grandmother who is senile as hell, is the one who packed her bags for her next trip to an even weirder institution. 

Swept away through a strange black dot on her living room floor she is suddenly having her new school schedule crafted by an otter. Better yet her ‘dorm’ advisor is a fairy, she’s taking home economics with a Prince, learning how to wield a sword by a tiger, and the tattooed bad boy she doesn’t want to notice just took her to see unicorns. Surreal? Maybe, but definitely possible. Living without coffee? Hmmm… that is going to be a hard one with which to come to terms.

The politics In this Wonderland are more dire than Lacey recalls from the books. The previous Alice is accused of destroying the realm generations ago. Since then all other Alice’s are to be executed directly leaving Lacey in a pickle. But there is an entire empire that was wiped from Wonderland history by the Kingdom of Hearts, and the Red Queen in this world is willing to crush her son with the weight of her evil. Is Lacey the only one who sees salvation in affaires d’cour?

And that tattooed Irishman? She is trying really hard not to notice him. But his secrets might be as deadly as having the name Alice. 

I loved this freaking book. I cannot wait until book two. I’ve also put my money in investments of the two anthologies Karsak has titles in so I can see the evil Princesses tale and the backstory to the hot tattooed guy–the one with which Lacey is not completely smitten. 

It was the unicorns. You can’t help but make cow eyes to a guy who loves coffee and knows where they keep the unicorns.

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About Melanie Karsak:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Celtic Blood Series, Steampunk Red Riding Hood, and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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