The last words of her murdered grandmother haunt Lason as she travels to England with her sheltering mother for the funeral. The crime is a sensation, but the clamoring reporters and news photographers aren't the only ones interested in their arrival.
As her mother's behavior borders on erratic (on a good day), Lason encounters a stranger from Weariland, a dreary world once known as Wonderland. He petitions Lason's help in finding a secret family heirloom, a key to saving his land-and to Lason's past. Lason is swept in an adventure through Weariland's unpredictable realm, encountering colorful, fantastical characters and discovering her family's elusive history. But if she isn't careful, she may never return...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Weariland by Mary Shotwell! This fairy tale retelling of Alice in Wonderland kept me riveted. The suspense, danger, mystery and riddles pulled me in so strongly that I wanted to read the book in one sitting. Lason (like Jason with an L) is a descendant of the first Alice that fell into Wonderland (now called Weariland because of the dreariness) many generations ago. The author's creative imagination changed Wonderland in many ways that I could have never dreamed of, such as the changing of the execution style. Instead of "off with their heads", the Queen devised a horrible simple machine to take the prisoners feet off. We get to see more of the White Rabbit's home and family and there is deception from the past in Lason's family. Her grandmother disappears and Lason dives right into Weariland to solve the mystery and has to figure out everything on her own. I'm glad that Lason's mother became stronger for her daughter as the story progressed. I grew to care for her as much as I cared for Lason. The danger and suspense kept me hooked - 4 stars!
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite If Alice in Wonderland is your favorite classic, Weariland by Mary Shotwell is something that would command your attention. Wonderland is not what it used to be (hence the apt title Weariland). It has aged, along with the Wonderland characters, and become a darker place since The Queen of Souls, the heartless daughter of the Queen of Hearts, began her rule. Imagination is forbidden, the magical land is washed-out – the inhabitants are weary and live in fear of the Queen. It’s risky to tweak a classic as well-loved as Lewis Carroll’s work, but Shotwell definitely has a great premise and plot continuation in Weariland. When the old Alice is murdered, her 15-year-old granddaughter, Lason Davies, is left with only the text ‘Hiding place,’ Alice’s last message. When one of the Weariland inhabitants comes to see Lason, she discovers that Alice was trying to help them win their freedom back and restore Wonderland to its former glory. Alice also possessed something the evil Queen desperately wants. Now it’s up to Lason to find and protect it, as well as take her grandmother’s place to defeat the Queen. The plot is fast-paced and the narrative is concise. The length of each chapter is appropriate; some are very short (only a page) but well-executed. I feel that Weariland is a solid work as a ‘Carroll’ update, one that succeeds in serving a purpose in terms of either deepening or expanding upon the original’s plot, characterization, and premise. That said, this darker version of Wonderland is not quite suitable for younger YA readers. All in all, I enjoyed it.