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Fantasy Friday: Wonderland Academy by Melanie Karsak

Welcome to Wonderland Academy. Don’t lose your head.

Getting into Wonderland Academy is easy:

★ You must be a little mad.
♥ You must follow the white rabbit.
◆ You must find the key to enter Wonderland.
You must not be named Alice or risk being beheaded by order of the Queen of Hearts.

We might have an issue with that last one.

My name may be Alice, but Wonderland Academy is everything my real life isn’t. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to ride a jabberwocky, train with a vorpal sword, cast spells using a teacup, or shapeshift into a fairy? As long as no one figures out my real name, I should be fine.
The only problem? Aden, the Queen of Hearts’ son, is quickly becoming my best friend. And then there’s Corbin. Brooding, surly, tattooed, and definitely not my type, I can’t stop thinking about him. But Corbin has secrets of his own, and Wonderland and secrets don’t mix.
How I’m going to pass my classes and protect my secret like my life depends on it is beyond me. But I better find a way. Because in Wonderland, no Alice is safe. 

Amazon Link: Wonderland Academy: Year One (Hearts and Stars #1)

Author: Melanie Karsak

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy Academy

Rating: 4/5 stars

This was a little unusual take on the Academy story by using a Wonderland setting. It starts off pretty dark in the normal world with attempted suicide, a psych ward, and flashbacks to a school shooting (so don’t read it if those are triggering topics). I almost put the book down in the first chapter.

But when Lacey goes to Wonderland, it’s suddenly more light-hearted and whimsical. The danger of losing her head seems less real or imminent and there isn’t any real violence in the Academy, at least not in this first book. Some characters are learning to fight with swords and other weapons but they’re prevented from actually hurting each other.

The plot is more or less a standard Chosen One with a love triangle, and things were very predictable from there. Lacey has to unravel the conspiracy behind Wonderland’s politics while choosing between two different guys for romance (although it’s obvious who she’ll choose). The setting was the most interesting part because of the details about Wonderland’s politics and the different types of magic. It takes Lacey a long time to guess or learn the obvious secrets and just when things finally start moving forward, the book ends abruptly.

Still, it was entertaining to read, with good descriptions and dialogue. I liked the way that the Wonderland world was expanded from the original books. I would read more in this world.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.