Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (124 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
The Twisted and the Brave, 1
Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder…
Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…
Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.
14+ due to violence and adult situations
The police can’t stop every bad guy. Luckily the cops aren’t the only ones looking for them.
Kayla was tough and brave. She wasn’t the sort of character who reveals everything about herself to the audience right away. I appreciated this about her because it gave me the chance to make some guesses about the kind of person she might be before any of my questions were answered. Having to wait for these answers made me like Kayla even more than I might have otherwise because of how much fun I had trying to figure her out.
With that being said, I would have liked to have more information about how Kayla became such a skilled fighter so early in life. The narrator gave a brief explanation of her training, but there were certain things that were barely mentioned at all. For example, I wondered how she could be unusually strong. She was described as thin and petite for her age, so I was never quite sure if her strength came from her body itself or if there was some kind of paranormal explanation for it.
I’ll be honest with you. There were some pretty bloody sections in this tale. All of that violence is why the age recommendation is as high as it is. Those scenes were completely necessary in order to understand why Kayla behaved the way she did, though. They were never gratuitous. All of them had their place in the plot, and I’m glad they were included even though they raised the age limit a few years higher than I might have otherwise chosen.
It was distracting to switch from one narrator to the next one so often. There were so many of them that I sometimes had trouble remembering who was who. This technique would have worked in a full-length novel, but there wasn’t a lot of space in this short story for me to get to know so many different narrators. I would have preferred to stick with only one or two of them.
The Kushtaka, the Alaskan monster, was creepy. The scariest scenes in this book were the ones that talked about what this creature was capable of and how it decided who to hunt next. I’d never heard of this Tlingit legend before so I was very glad that the narrators spent as much time describing it as they did.
Give Lost in Wonderland a try if you enjoy dark urban fantasy.