Wonderland* by Christina Stein
Published by Fischer TB on August 25, 2016
Thailand. Sun, Palm trees, and a mansion at the beach. The perfect holiday! But when Lizzy wakes up the morning after a beach party, she is trapped. Amidst the jungle with her best friends – and with Jacob. Jacob, who none of them knows really, and whom invited them to that damn beach party. Only because of him they have landed in a reality game, in which there is only black or white, win or lose, sacrifice or be sacrificed.
Who are the players in this game? What have they planned? And what role plays Jacob? Lizzy doesn´t know. She also has no clue how long she´ll survive without her heart medicines. She only knows one thing: the group must decide tomorrow, who will be the next victim of them …
Today I am celebrating a premier! I wrote for this title not only an English review but a guest review in the German language as well.
So if you want to see what my German guest review looks like, go over to FiktiveWelten. If you don´t, I am more than happy to see you staying and keep reading.
Wonderland is a thriller that left me with mixed feelings. And to be honest, I am not sure if I would have bought it. I received this book for free from Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Lizzy is sick. And since she got the diagnosis she is in a mix of denial and torturing her family for losing the only thing that was her life: dancing. Her career is over after many years of hard training and being the best on stage as well as in a competition. To cope with that isn´t easy for her and her sick heart does not help either. So when she is sent with her best friend Nelli on holiday with an around-the-world-ticket things change – a lot. The great beaches of Thailand are everything but and the party at the house of Jacobs uncle turns into a real nightmare. Suddenly she finds herself trapped and without her medication and has to decide which of them will be the next victim in a reality game about life and death.
Wonderland is written from the first person perspective by Lizzy and Jacob and towards the end by that one person who started the cruel game. For the reader means that, that you will get two sides of the story and that you soon start to feel that something is terribly wrong.
At first, I really enjoyed reading this thriller. The tone was fresh, sarcastic and a bit bold. The book was easy to read, speedy and the language clear and that what young people use to speak; nothing unusual. But the deeper I got into the plot, the sicker and irritating it became.
A perfect holiday turns into a nightmare, shows what money, the sick mind of a man and his hate can do and that some individuals are more than willing to pay to be a part of it.
The author doesn´t bother with long and detailed figure descriptions. Only a few words to their hair color, size and shape their in and during some scenes she lets you guess that there has to be something dark, that had happened in their past. On one side I didn´t care about that since most of the characters died anyway and weren’t that much of interest for me. On the other hand, it would have been nice to know a bit more about them.
Nelli copes with the suicide death of her father with her voice. Singing is her passion and the only way for her to keep her dark ghosts under control. Seeing her best friend suffering from a heart disease is not what she wanted to do, but at some point during this novel she begins to realize that having death right in front of you, never knowing when he will strike, makes her freak out and the ghosts of her past are no longer under control.
Jacob has his own hell to go through. Being born rich, money is no problem at all, but having a caring and loving family is. For him, family is a burden in some way but he does everything to get his sister Romy back and to find out the truth about Laura´s disappearance. His way of life is not what his father wanted him to live. He is a strong young man, knows how to fight, keeps a clear head in every situation and if asked what he thinks of his father, you would get the answer: he´s a coward and addict.
A thriller with a great start and some interesting characters. But it doesn´t stay that way. So in the end, I felt numb and didn´t know what to think of it. For my taste too much craziness, too much sick thinking, and way too much foul play. Sad, but this was not really one for me.
*I read the German new release edition by Fischer TB on August 25, 2016. This book was at the time of review only available in the German language.
Christina Stein, born 1978 in Bonn, Germany, studied archaeology and art history and works in marketing at a large company. For her short stories and her first novel, she has received several awards.