Off With Their Heads

Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2024. 416p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781368099066.
Gr 9 Up–Carousel Rabbit and Iccadora Alice Sickle are angry young witches in exile and in love, two girls forced into hunting Saints, the monstrous creatures who haunt this Korean-inspired reinterpretation of Wonderland, to escape their sentence for a crime they didn’t commit. Years later, their romance has turned to murderous hatred, and the political machinations of the new Red Queen bring them back into each other’s orbit. Mikuta’s book has very little to do with Alice in Wonderland, character names and complex nonsensical syntax aside. At its core, it is an exercise in fantasy worldbuilding, anchored by the obsessive love/hate relationship between Caro and Icca, as their murderous actions seem primarily motivated by getting each other’s attention. The convoluted and meandering plot does not merit the considerable length of this novel, although the surreal world and system of magic are well developed and will intrigue high fantasy enthusiasts.
VERDICT An additional purchase for collections where retellings circulate well, and a further recommendation that the book will likely resonate with fans of Chloe Gong and Rin Chupeco.

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