Death of the Mad Hatter by Sara J. Pepper | #COYER Book Review

July 14, 2014 Reviews 12

Death of the Mad Hatter by Sara J. Pepper | #COYER Book ReviewDeath of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Independent on November 26, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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?

My Initial Reaction…

Death of a Mad Hatter surprised me! I’m not a big Wonderland fan, but I was told that I just HAD to read it and I’m really glad I did. The characters were fantastic and Wonderland had just enough to entertain without overwhelming those of us who aren’t die hard Wonderland fans.

The Characters…

I can’t express how much I loved Alice Mae, sometimes called Al so that she would be a girl with a boy’s name. See there’s this prophecy and part of it had to be fulfilled by a girl with a boy’s name and ta-da, Alice Mae gets renamed. She’s a really great character – very multifaceted. When I first met her I thought, “man, this girl’s nuts” but I quickly grew to like her quirky personality. Quirky’s the word too – see that cover? That’s Alice Mae – you see some weirdness and some fierceness all bundled up in that picture and it totally nails her. The story is told only half from her point of view, but I loved getting to see how she got into her current situation and the marvelous way that she’s so conflicted and confused about things. And with that prophecy you totally understand why… I’d be messed up too.

The other half is told from the point of view of Ryley – the boy with a girl’s name. And yep, that’s significant too. And yes, because of a prophecy. Prophecies play a big part in Death of the Mad Hatter, but in a marvelous, you want to figure out what’s going to happen way, not in a man that prophecy is annoying way (you’ve read those books too, right? not just me?). Anyway, Ryley was an okay character. He was well-written, but seriously got on my nerves. He’s so all over the place with his feelings and the way he acted toward several of the girls – including Alice Mae – really annoyed me because it was just WRONG. Sometimes the reasons worked for me, but most the time it made him just not very likeable (for me). And yet, I found myself totally swept away with his and Alice Mae’s relationship – I WANTED them together, I liked them as a couple and I liked him better when he wasn’t fighting his feelings for her.

The Story…

I think for any fairy tale retelling you’re looking for the ways that the author took the original story and made it their own. In a fairy tale retelling I expect:
1. References to the original the make me go, “Oh! I recognize that!” and maybe get a little giddy
2. Details that a die-hard fan of the original will appreciate, but won’t bog down someone who just vaguely knows the story
3. Inventive reinterpretation through a totally original story and characters

Let me start with #3 – because with a retelling it seems that’s the hardest to achieve. Death of the Mad Hatter totally did that for me. With the exception of some really key, gotta have ’em elements, this was totally original. You did not go into this story knowing what to expect. I didn’t know what to expect ever quite frankly – I was always guessing.

#2 – I honestly can’t say for sure on this one because I’m not a die hard fan, and yet I feel like some elements were familiar and yet I didn’t have a clue what they referred to. So I’m guessing those are the elements a die-hard would get giddy over. But I can say, I was never ever bogged down. I never felt like not knowing Wonderland really well was a handicap, because this world worked on it’s own without any necessary love for or knowledge of Wonderland.

#1 – It totally had the Mad Hatter (duh!), Red Queen, Playing Cards, White Rabbit, etc. It was all there and yet they were fresh and new.

Concluding Sentiments…

So yeah – I loved this retelling and definitely recommend it. I also have to say – without spoiling – that I loved this ending. It was a really good fit for Wonderland. And I’ll leave it at that!

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About Sarah J Pepper

I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn’t only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, 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?

“Warning: Addictive passion erupts from her mouthwatering descriptions” – recent review.

Sarah J. Pepper lives in South Dakota with her real-life prince charming. At a young age, she fell for paranormal books and now incorporates that genre with romance that thrives in the hearts of us all. When she’s not storytelling, she’s most likely biking, hoarding chocolate, or taking a bubble bath. Get a glimpse inside her head at

“Forbidden Beloved” – Not everyone falls for the murderous prince charming with killer good looks, but Roxy hasn’t ever been very lucky.

“Devil’s Lullaby” -Cat craved his addictive kiss as much as she ached for his death.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

12 Responses to “Death of the Mad Hatter by Sara J. Pepper | #COYER Book Review”

  1. Bookworm Brandee

    I’m glad you read it and liked it, Berls. (psst, I have this one too) It sounds as though Ms Pepper did a great job with the re-telling so that people who aren’t Wonderland fans (me, too) will enjoy it. I’ve been putting this one off. I think I might move it up though. 🙂 Great review, my dear!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Teaser Tuesday ~ #27**My Profile

  2. Katherine

    Oh this sounds fun! Alice has so much potential for a twist or retelling and it sounds like this was really well done. I’ll have to give this a try though I’ll actually have to read the original. Much to my embarrassment that hasn’t happened yet but I’ll be fixing it soon!
    Katherine recently posted…My Secret Life in Hut Six – ReviewMy Profile

    • Berls

      Don’t feel bad – I haven’t read the original either… I don’t think I ever will honestly. My exposure is all through the films and tv miniseries. That’s why I really enjoyed this book though – you don’t have to be a super fan to get it. As long as your vaguely familiar with Alice in Wonderland the references work 🙂
      Berls recently posted…Top Off Tuesday | Deviant by Callie HartMy Profile

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