Review: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
EXCERPT: The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight. No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers. Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter. “If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.” “Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.” The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash. “I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood. “Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?” “No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”
REVIEW: Death of the Mad Hatter is absolutely magnificent! The story begins with a retelling of past events, an ‘accidental’ beheading of the the king. Wonderland has now been transformed into an ultimate ‘Reign of Terror’ under the Queen’s rule. The Queen invests a great deal of emphasis on the prophecies that are foreseen by Jack and the Joker. The Joker is well-known throughout Wonderland as being purely sadistic and violent in every aspect of the Queen’s court. His method of play is demented and life threatening to those who must face him; however, his role is to assist the Queen with maintaining her reign and power. When Alice Mae falls down a rabbit hole, chasing a rumperbabbit, she is taken to the Waiting Room which leads her into Wonderland. Thankfully, the Mad Hatter is the one who finds her and deems her his next apprentice in candy making…amongst other things. Nothing will ever be the same in Wonderland again. These prophecies consume the Queen’s heart: if the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. When Alice Mae is indebted to the Queen for her betrayal, the Queen moves to strike at the second prophecy, the HATed fool will die twice. But…how does someone die twice? And…what must be done to make the impossible…possible?
I really enjoyed reading Alice Mae’s character. She is colorful, interesting, deceiving and attractive. When she arrives at Ryley’s school for the first time, she has answers that he has been searching out for a long time. Her strength, her strange appearance and odd behavior are Wonderful assets to her when it comes to getting what she wants from the Otherworlders, like Ryley. I also enjoyed the Joker’s character. He tortured Alice Mae for her betraying, using unconventional methods and weaponry like making her dance until her feet bled. Even though he is primarily someone who readers should not like, he really emphasizes the good vs evil tactic altogether, pretty well.
I recommend this story to everyone! Since Death of the Mad Hatter goes back and forth between Ryley and Alice Mae’s point of view, it is targeted to both gender audiences. This is one of the books within the author’s Twisted Fairytale Confessions series, along with Snow White Lies and Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged. I rate this book with five stars because this author is truly talented. Her creativity is raw and original and her ability to twist fairytale stories into another type of story is amazing.
1. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres? I grew up watching Simpsons and Star Trek… Combo those two and it was an unstoppable force that allowed my imagination to explode. As I grew older I enjoyed reading the Anamorphs Series and dabbled in romance novels… Science-fiction, paranormal, and romance have practically been embedded into my genes. To write any other genre at this point would be futile. I write what I understand and know. My passion lies in the supernatural world.
2. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym? Of Course the World is Flat was my first novel – print on demand. It was a grammatical nightmare… but a vital stepping stone in my development as an author. “Unspoken Lies” debuted Jan 20th as my first eBook. Devil’s Lullaby will be coming out this summer, the first book in the Ringer’s Masquerade Series. It’s a teen paranormal romance series. My mouth dropped after my editor told me I wrote romance really, really well… I was thinking “yeah, you probably say that to every Jane Doe…” Then she told me she’d email the publisher and see about setting me up with a series. This was all while writing a classical mythology trilogy (with a modern twist) Already into the first book, “Forgotten” I decided I didn’t have enough on my plate and eagerly accepted contract for the RM Series. I write under the name my parents gave me.
3. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them? I’ve had over 300 “no’s” in the two years I’ve been writing. Agent after agent & publisher after publisher sent out wonderful let-downs, “Dear sir or madam” filled my inbox with disappointment, and countless paper cuts littered my fingers with opening rejection letters. I have to admit it was tearing me apart, so I decided to stop sending them out and “pause” my writing hobby. But that pesky imagination wouldn’t leave me alone. I decided to try again after revising my query letter. Honestly, this is a little funny, but I went on a vaca with my hubby to New Orleans and a fortune teller told me I’d have my first publishing deal within the next 4-6 months… she wasn’t wrong.
4. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’? Well, I’m about as green as they come with marketing. Closing my eyes and praying someone reads my book is tempting but I doubt it will have long lasting results. I know many good books never really get known because of poor marketing and other’s that aren’t as good have taken off. I’ve started small, working with small town papers and social networking. I’ve created trailers for my books on youtube – which you can get from my website and facebook page. www.peppersreadingcorner.com & https://www.facebook.com/#!/PepperSarahJ Eventually I was promised a feature in a local magazine Ect in Sioux Falls, SD… who knows how far I’ll be along a year from now.
5. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s? Sookie Stackhouse Series, Anita Blake Series, City of Glass, Hunger Games (who isn’t?) Actually, if you check out my Goodreads page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762464.Sarah_J_Pepper You can see all my ratings and favourite books. I also have my books uploaded to that site so if you want to check out excerpts, blurps, or trailers they are shown there too!
BLEEDING HEART PROPHECY: The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading. Heads would Roll… Hearts would Break… In the end, would it matter who Reigned? “Reign of Terror—everyone acts like it’s a bad thing,” the Queen of Hearts said, reading the script that Jack, the prophesier, had scribbled on an ingredients page of a violet book entitled, Sweets for the Rabbit Hole Voyager. The Mad Hatter’s crest, M.H. and a top hat, was printed on the top of every odd number page inside the book. Hearts tore the last stanza from the Bleeding Hearts Prophecy, crumpled it into a ball, and smashed it between the pages of The Lazy Killer’s Poisons, another of the Mad Hatter’s works. What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Award Winning Author, Sarah J. Pepper, specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She unveils the beauty of love in her new adult/young adult novels. Her works envelope dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn’t only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn’t always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn’t mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?