As much as I love Alice in Wonderland, I must say that this book was a hot mess. It seem that Maguire couldn't decide wheter it was a retelling of the original or a commentary on Victorian life in the 1860's. Ada inadvertently follows Alice down the rabbit hole and spends the rest of the story in pursuit of her friend in Wonderland, encountering many of the characters that Alice has already come across. One redeeming quality was seeing a few familiar characters. The adventure narrative alternates with what’s going on in the real world: Alice’s sister and Ada’s governess searching for the girls. The parallel narratives are so disconnected, it’s tedious, not to mention the two aforementioned characters are hardly likeable.
I got the impression that Maguire was trying to be clever than what he achieved. It’s as if he couldn’t just settle on channeling Carroll to recreate Wonderland in his own way, so he also used this as a platform. Piggybacking on a classic and giving it a dark, Dante-esque spin just was not successful