Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Book Review: The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories . . .

Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and ‒ most of all ‒ stories. Especially because he’s grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.

When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.

But every tale has its villains ‒ and with them leaping off the page, Midge, Gypsy and Piper must use all their wits and cunning to work out how the story ends and find Alice. If they fail, a more sinister finale threatens them all . . .

A rich and twisting tale of magic, riddles and talking cats, from a classic author.


Image: Simon & Schuster / The Big Shot PR
The Other Alice is one of those classic YA fantasy stories that seems to instantly become timeless. Crammed full of rich storytelling, the myriad of characters are woven seamlessly alongside the storyline, pulling together to create a vivid tapestry which tugs at the imagination.

The basic premise is actually very similar to that of Cornelia Funke's fabulous Inkworld novels (Which, by the way, if you haven't read them before, I strongly recommend you do!) In both stories, fictional characters come to life and the lines between fantasy and the real world become blurred. However, both deal with this in a very different way. 
The Other Alice is as much about a little brother trying to find his missing big sister as it is about fiction vs reality. Combining part mystery and part fantasy, above all else is the human aspect of the tale, brought home by the emphasis on the overriding message of 'family is important'.

For what is actually quite a complicated story, the author has done wonders in making sure it flows well so it is well-paced while still being relatively fast-paced. It's also highly accessible to a younger audience. Harrison has created one of those rare YA books that can be equally enjoyed by people of all ages - I have no doubts that it would easily appeal as much to a 10-year-old reader as it did to me, aged 22. 

Fantasy can often be a tricky genre to pull people into, but with The Other Alice you will be hooked from the very first page. Expert storytelling and an excellent read from Michelle Harrison. 

Rating: 4 stars

The Other Alice is available to buy now.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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