Once Upon a Wonderland by DJ Stoneham Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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An older and more determined Alice must rescue several fairy tale creatures and figures from Wonderland in an effort to mend Time itself and return home in author DJ Stoneham’s “Once Upon a Wonderland”.


The Synopsis

Once upon a Wonderland

Can Alice uncover the truth to escape her twisted fantasy?

“Fee-fi-fo-fum!” boomed the ogre.

“Why do you keep quoting Shakespeare’s King Lear?” asked Alice. “And while we’re on the subject, why can you only smell the blood of Englishmen? Why not other nationalities? Or English women come to that?”

A poltergeist in tattered leotards, a queen suffering from hypersomnia and a psychotic arsonist. These are not the Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella that Alice knows and loves. Nevertheless, she needs to get them and other fairy tale characters out of Wonderland if she’s to mend Time and return home. And rescue Jack, the feathered boy she’s in love with.

Alice’s quest is not helped by accusations of treason from the local inhabitants, the advances of an arrogant Pied Piper and the fact that she is growing younger by the hour. And then there is the Queen of Hearts and her cohorts to contend with.

Alice’s journey is peppered with surreal events, gritty wordplay and the sinister backstories to popular fairy tales, making this stand-alone follow-up story to Alice Falls Again a must for younger and older adults alike.

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The Review

This was such a beautiful and captivating fantasy world the author developed. The amount of world-building the author was able to achieve in this book was phenomenal, and the powerful imagery the author’s writing instilled in the reader not only helped bring this maddening and fantastical world of Wonderland to life but captured the mental and emotional depth of the characters and their struggles as well. The exploration of other fairytale creatures and figures in the context of the Wonderland universe was a great way to expand upon the existing mythos. The way the author was able to tap into the heart of what made the original story so beloved and yet brought such a mature and insightful new direction to the story made this a stupendous read. 

What stood out to me was the incredible character development that the author achieved here, especially for Alice. For so long, Alice has been portrayed one of two ways: the innocent young girl whose journey into another world was either real or a work of fiction within her own mind, or in some scarier cases, a woman who went completely mad and becoming a danger to herself or others. Yet we find neither of those portrayals here, as Alice is a grown woman now, and has become more assured of herself and her experiences than ever before. The struggles she faces with her family as they seek to find her stability in the world through marriage as she seeks to find her independence was a great way to showcase the strength and leadership skills she has and needs to carry out her mission in Wonderland. The relationships she develops with the people of Wonderland, and the romance that showcases Alice’s maturity and determination make this a memorable and heartfelt reading experience. 

The Verdict

Captivating, iconic, and engaging, author DJ Stoneham’s “Once Upon a Wonderland” is a must-read folklore and fantasy-driven fairytale novel. The wealth of mythology the author adapted for this book and the way the author was able to utilize the narrative of Alice and Wonderland simultaneously to showcase a new way of exploring our perception of mental health overall allowed the reader to enjoy the journey Alice goes on and the emotional connection she forms to so many of the people of this magical land. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Having dived headlong down into his own personal rabbit hole after a career in communications and sustainability, David Stoneham is now pursuing a lifelong dream of writing fantasy. Rather like the heroine of this book, he finds himself drawn to the curious, the fantastic and the peculiar.

Following his first novel in 2018 – Alice Falls Again – David published the epic fantasy duology – Outcast and Havoc – in 2021 before completing Once upon a Wonderland in early 2023.

Although new to publishing his own fantasy works, back in the 1990s, David co-wrote a best-selling series of schoolbooks for English teachers and co-created a private anthology of short fiction, with foreword by Nicholas Negroponte and Arthur C Clarke. 

Born in London, David grew up on the south coast of England and after a few years in China, now lives in Finland.

For more information, follow the White Rabbit

email: david@communicado.fi

website: www.djstoneham.com 

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Once upon a Wonderland paperback on Amazon.com Once upon a Wonderland: Stoneham, DJ: 9789526506425: Amazon.com: Books


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