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Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock


Product Description

The Twisted and the Brave, 1

Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder... 

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother… 

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

14+ due to violence and adult situations



Before I can scream, he stuffs me in his trunk. It is dark, smelly, and contains an empty plain black plastic bag and a dirty shovel; these are not good signs. I put my hands to the top of the trunk and push. It is locked. I wasn’t getting out till he wanted me to. I resign myself to curl into a ball, the acidic-smelling sweat of his palms still imprinted on my bare, narrow shoulders. I should be listening out for the car engine, hearing when it slows for corners or revs on open roads. I should be testing the resilience of all the sides of the black space around me. I should be doing all the things they tell you to do, but I don’t. I simply stay in my little ball, quiet and patient.

The car bounces up and down and I realize we’re not on the main road anymore. He’s taking me somewhere remote…

We come to a soft stop. The slam of a car door shivers through the metal of the vehicle. I know what is going to happen. It’s so inevitable that it’s almost laughable. Death comes to everyone at some point; what is that saying, “No one can avoid death and taxes.” Funny the things you remember when you’re in danger. I suppose your brain tries to distract you with all sorts of useless crap, anything to keep you from shutting down and freaking the hell out. I grab at my forearm, an almost robotic reaction, feeling down it to check that my tracking chip is still there. The hard edges beneath my skin make me smile. My small, metallic friend never lets me down, never abandons me.

The lid to my dark place is pulled up and I see him. His face is blank. There’s no hint of emotion or even intent other than what can be derived through his actions. His hands are sturdy as he pulls me from the trunk and stands me up before him. Being barely five feet tall, I only stand to his chest. I look down to the ground between us and see the cheapest sneakers in the world, ones probably made by enslaved third-world children. Man this guy is pure evil.

“Don’t worry, girl.” He puts a hand on my cheek and graces me with a twitchy smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. The hand lingers longer than usual polite social circles would allow. My eyes widen. I know that I am one of many girls he has brought here—one of the many that he planned to rape and strangle, then leave used and vacant by the side of the road, a hollow tangle of floppy limbs. How do I know this? Because I know him. I was looking for him. I’m not who, and what, he thinks I am. I’m not a fourteen-year-old girl, scared by the death sentence before her. No, I am something else entirely.

I smack his palm from my cheek and use the momentum to reach over with my other hand to grab his wrist. I position myself in front of him and use his own body weight to pull him down and over my now bent back. He hits the ground so hard he cries out. I keep hold of his arm and twist it around and under. He moves his body, angling it in the same direction in an attempt to ease the tension I’m creating.

“Stop!” he yells, those crappy sneakers frantically pumping to find enough purchase to get him to his feet.

I push harder till I hear the bone snap. He screams, but thanks to the remote location he has taken us to, no one hears him. I let go of his wrist and turn to retrieve the shovel from the trunk. I take a minute to loom over him. He is trying to get up, but the weight and pain of his broken arm is putting him off-balance. Funny how fragile the human body actually is, even one that belongs to a sick serial killer.

I raise the shovel and smack it over his knees. He howls and tries to shield himself with his good arm. An arm that is not intact for long, as I turn the shovel and this time use the edge to dig into his flesh. Blood pools on the ground and he begins to crawl. I’m not sure where he’s trying to go. I think his goal is just to get away from me. I walk the few steps to where he’s managed to drag himself to then bring my weapon down hard onto his skull. The splintering sound of bone meeting metal is my cue to get on with the operation. I pull my cell phone from my pink sparkle-covered jeans and dial the only number on it. An automated message greets me. “Off with their heads.” I take a breath and look over at the mangled mess of the serial killer they knew as the Doll Maker. “Here, here,” I say. The call rings off and I know that I have to make my exit now. They will come and clean up the mess. No one will ever know that the Doll Maker was an accountant with really bad shoes, and I mean really bad. It’s not till they’d stopped moving that I see peeling luminous go-faster stripes adorning their sides. Yeesh. The blood splatter does little to hide their ugliness.

I stoop and check for a pulse, finding none. His skin is already clammy and I could swear slightly rubbery, but in truth it is probably just my imagination.

I throw down the shovel and begin the trek back to civilization. The night air is bitter and cruel, so I pull up my lilac hood against it. An unmarked black car zooms past me. They were quick tonight. I rub my hand up my forearm and feel the comfort of my chip. My chip is a constant friend, albeit a chatty one; they will always be able to find me, know where I am, where I’ve been. Not that I’m complaining. I was lost once, when I was very little. And although that fear bubbles in my mind every day, I beat it back with my chip. I’ll never be lost again; or at least that is what my adoptive parents tell me. Wonderland doesn’t lose its operatives.

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Product Reviews

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  1. 5 Stars 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    I really liked where this was going, I loved that there was a program where people's code names were from Alice in Wonderland. It was one of the things that drew me into the book, and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed reading this more than I thought I would. Throughout reading this book I fell in love with Mouse, Mr. Custard and Shilo and the epilogue was so beautifully written and made me want another in this series.

  2. 4 stars 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Nicky Peacock, and the publisher, Evernight Teen, for this opportunity. Well this short tale was most certainly curioser and curioser. I anticipated a fantastical tale, akin to the original 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' tales it is rendered from, but what was delivered managed to be both dark, humerus, contemporary, fantastical, thrilling and mysterious! Our protagonist, Kayla A.K.A Mouse, after the murder of her mother, the suicide of her father and the incarceration of her brother into a psychiatric unit, finds herself orphaned and alone. Taken in by ex-government agents, she becomes part of Wonderland - trained assassins assisting in the capture and death of some of the most deadly criminals to stalk the world. Without the Alice references, this would have been a thrilling tale, full of murder, suspense and intrigue, but that it managed to include all that as well as staying true to a lot of the original tale was phenomenal. I enjoyed reading this and discovering the lines taken from the first text or the references that littered the entire story. This is undoubtedly one clever book! The only downfall is that it wasn't longer! At only just over 100 pages, I felt that some of the criminal captures detailed could have been given far more focus and plot progression. I wanted the suspense to build and the gory details of the criminal's demise to be drawn out rather than slotted into just a few pages.This is still a strong first installment and I can't wait to see what the rest of the series holds!

  3. 4 stars 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    This isn't really a remake of Alice in Wonderland. It's a violent, edgy, and very dark book heavily inspired by Wonderland and all its curiosities. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of Mouse, Rabbit, Hatter and all the other characters who rise from personal darkness to fight the monsters (human and other) that steal our children away. I found the Alice references delightful. It was never simply a retread of the Alice books, but true to Alice-Form, it twisted away from the original in startling and delightfully dark ways. Note that it *is* very violent, but not gratuitous. The violence fits the edge in the story very well. My only complaint was that I wanted more - much more. I hope the author revisits the stories of Mouse and the other denizens of Wonderland soon!

  4. 5 Stars 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    "Perhaps I did lose myself in Wonderland, but sometimes being lost can be a good thing. Sometimes it forges you into who you need to be". What a crazy ride. If you love Wonderland you will love this book: a lot of wonderland namesakes and references on this one, whilest being its own beast. A crazy good one. Mouse (not her real name) works at Wonderland, a kind of agency that go where police can't to get ride of human monsters. There are other operatives: the Red Queen and King, who act like parents to Mouse, a guy named Cheshire and the albino girl Rabbit. Also there is Hatter, an IT man with lots of money that helps them out. Shilo is Mouse's brother. He has been at an asylum since he saw a monster take their mother away. In his head he ins't alone as he has an imaginary friend: Mr Custard, that talks to him and gives him directives on how to act to be free of the asylum in order to go help his sister against the same monster that killed their mother. I am not gonna say much more, as I feel this book is quite unique and don't want to spoil it. It has a good plot, narrated alternatively by diferent characters; it has darkness and also hope; and some happy quirks and humorous streaks. It is a great book in itself, bu lovers of Wonderland will love it ^.^

  5. 4 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    Lost in Wonderland is the type of book that pulls you in almost immediately and doesn't let go until the very end. While scrolling through NetGalley the other day, I happened upon this book. I'd never heard of it - or the author, for that matter - before, but the idea of a new take on Alice in Wonderland intrigued me. As did the cover. So I decided to give it a go. And now that I've finished the book? I'm glad that I did. The way the author developed this story was fantastic. She made it her own, while still paying homage to the original story throughout. That isn't an easy task to do, and yet, Peacock did it with such ease. I wasn't sure what I was getting into in the beginning, but Lost in Wonderland ultimately proved to be a story about a family and finding yourself. As we saw with Kayla, she had to lose herself before she came into the person she felt she was meant to be all along. But it's also very much a fantastical and deadly take on Alice in Wonderland. The two shouldn't work, and yet, they do. I adored Mouse, and I liked Shilo. Seeing how their relationship grows going forward, and seeing if their able to look past what got them to this point is going to be interesting. Both characters have their own issues - more so Shilo than Mouse - but seeing them team up together to take down the monster that led to Shilo being put into a hospital would be wonderful. Overall, I highly recommend this book. It's on the shorter side, but Peacock has managed to tell a fully contained story arc with no problem. It's hard not to get excited about what she has planned in future installments!

  6. Carrie Book Reviews 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Aug 2016

    Kayla now goes by the name of Mouse and has found herself a home in Wonderland. But this isn’t the Wonderland that we know, it’s the name of a group of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers, run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire. Mouse works alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. As dangerous as Mouse’s life is she’s completely unprepared to face her own brother when he shows up. Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum convinced his mother was abducted by a monster and now that monster is after his family again. Mouse is used to human killers that are monster but is a bit hesitant to believe Shilo that there are real monsters out there. Lost in Wonderland is a retelling but one that is the type that I personally enjoy when it borrows a few things from the original to make you remember but goes off on it’s own path. This definitely went way off the path bringing serial killers into the mix and turning this into a rather dark Wonderland but I quite enjoyed the originality. The feel of the book stays true to the original story of Wonderland. The characters had their rather eccentric feel and the book could go into a bit of weirdness here and there but it just felt right and kept the feel you’d expect even with a whole new story line. Overall, great job coming up with a whole new twisted version of a classic story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. This is not the Alice in Wonderland story you knew as a child. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Aug 2016

    Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

    The Story:
    This is not the Alice in Wonderland story you knew as a child. Wonderland is a vigilante operation—set up in memory of dear Alice—which targets serial killers. And Kayla is the bait. When her lunatic brother, Shilo, escapes from the asylum babbling dire warnings for her life, Kayla must decide if she wishes overcome her fears or remain lost.

    The Characters:
    The main protagonist, Kayla A.K.A Mouse, was put in foster care after her parents were murdered and her brother went mad. She is utilized by the King and Queen of Hearts as bait due to her child-like features which help draw targeted serial killers out of the shadows. Kayla is no-nonsense, loves shoes, and is trained for fighting. But under the toughened exterior is the lost young girl who let go of her brother’s hand in the woods and is terrified of being lost again.

    Shilo saw the Kushtaka kill their mother at a young age. He ran and ran, losing his sister on the way, and now sits in an asylum with only Mr. Custard for company. The problem is, not one person believes his story of the monster with long talons who feeds on the lost.
    Shilo is an amazing character. We alternate believing him insane and genius, and hope against hope that he will find forgiveness, and forgive himself. The dialogue between Shilo and Mr. Custard is both humorous and heart-wrenching.

    As well as the main protagonists, there are characters who have parallels to the classic tale of Alice and Wonderland. We have Rabbit, the albino woman who also acts as bait for serial killers. Hatter the FBI infiltrate who targets their next hit. The King and Queen of hearts, who lost their daughter Alice and swore vengeance on murders worldwide. Then there is Cheshire, the tracker with the wide grin, and red-italian shoes.

    The World:
    A very clever remake of a classic world. Wonderland is now edgier and dangerous, yet still retains the quirks of the original wonderland in the characters and plot. This side of the world-building draws the reader in absolutely.

    We get a sense of a large forest in an otherwise normal world. On occasion this setting and the location of the main protagonist was hard to picture. But this blurriness almost added to the authenticity of the lost theme.

    The beautiful unrealism of the classic version has been captured.

    The Readability:
    This author has a unique style; descriptive and rhythmic. Not a word is wasted. And the words used are a great reflection of the classic Alice and Wonderland world. Her dialogue is perceptive of human-nature and its intricacies. In some instances, more depth into the developing plot could be warranted. Ultimately, the character depictions and the fresh take on a tried and true story glue the reader to the book, as well as a few well-executed twists.

    Lost in Wonderland is professional and edited. Due to some of the serial killer scenes, which have some mild sexual content and moderate violence, the book is suitable for 14-15 years +

    Final Verdict:
    An exciting world and intricate characters written with beautiful style.

    Favorite Quote:
    “You’re such a grouch. You used to be much more … muchier. You’ve neglected your muchness, Mouse.”

  8. 5 Stars 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Aug 2016

    If you're looking for a sweet fairy tale retelling, this is not the book. But being a fairy tale fan, I was excited to get my hands on this one anyway, and it was well worth the reading ride.

    Kayla is a seventeen-year-old trained assassin who works with a highly specialized group named Wonderland. Their goal is to stop and eradicate those who kidnap young girls for horrible purposes. Kayla, aka Mouse, is very good at what she does and has a caring 'family' which watches over her. Her own history, including her older brother who's locked up in an insane asylum, is another matter altogether.

    This books grabs in the first scene and doesn't let go the entire way through. It's told mostly through Kayla's point of view, but also through her brother's and others. There's a lovely touch of uncertainty and mystery to it, which make it unclear what's real and what's not until the very end. Still for all the demented violence and slightly off-kilter personalities (some of which are really easy to adore), it's hard not to feel for Kayla and cheer for her the whole way through.

    In many ways, this is a cleverly written tale. The author weaves in phrases from the original Wonderland, making them fit perfectly into this deadly world. It's not a retelling, but still does an excellent job of showing parallels and disclosing some of the delicious insanity.

    There is violence and horrible situations, making it a little harsh for the lower end of the YA audience. And the scenes come across fairly realistic. The end rushes through a bit fast, missing some development but not enough to ruin the story by any means. It ends at a cliff hanger (a rushed one), and I'll be grabbing book two in hopes that it satisfies the missing links. Because this is definitely an adventure worth continuing. Albeit a dark one.

    I received a free copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 Stars 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Aug 2016

    Quite a twist to the Wonderland we all know and love. I enjoyed the flashbacks to the original book and movie with the little quotes and similarities in characters and happenings. Shilo and Kayla are devastated at the beginning of the story when they lose their mother to the Alaskan monster in their hometown. Shilo is sent to the insane asylum and Kayla ends up in Wonderland with foster parents. She becomes Mouse who is a trained vigilante righting wrongs. Eventually Mouse ends up in Alaska again and she and Shilo are reunited. Together will they figure out what has happened to a friend, or will they come to realizations too late to help? With the help of his imaginary friend and a little guidance from a new one, Shilo has to be strong for Kayla.

  10. 5 Stars 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Aug 2016

    When Kayla and her brother Shilo were kids they saw how a monster took their mother. Shilo ran so hard to keep up and try to save his mother that he failed to protect Kayla. Their dad couldn't take the pain after his wife died and he chose to end his own life. Leaving Kayla and Shilo behind as orphans. Kayla found a new place with her foster parents in Wonderland. Shilo has been in an asylum ever since.

    In Wonderland there are no rules. Everyone is trained to take down murderers and Kayla (in her new life known as Mouse) is very good at her job. Together with her foster siblings Cheshire and Rabbit they take down serial killers when the normal police department fails. Mouse looks young even though she is already nineteen years old. With the right clothes she still looks like a little girl. Once she was vulnerable, but now she is a force to be reckoned with.

    Shilo has forgotten how life used to be outside the asylum. Because of his fear of the monster he is in no hurry to leave. He also has an imaginary friend who helps him through the days and also encourages him to find a way to get back to the outside world. The monster has tasted Kayla's blood and the time has come for him to collect his prize. Shilo knows that he has to step up to protect her and to finish what he failed to do in the past.

    Lost in Wonderland is dark, intense and twisted. I really liked all the references to Alice in Wonderland. Because of that it made me feel like I was reading a fairytale which crossed over to the dark side. The characters all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Because of the fact that Nicky Peacock includes both they feel real.

    I have read other books written by Nicky Peacock and she never fails to amaze me with her way of telling a story. She keeps me interested until the very last lines. She's leaving little clues within every chapter and because of them I didn't want to stop reading. If you have never read anything by Nicky Peacock you should give her stories a try. If you liked her previous books you should definitely pick up this one as well. I highly recommend any of her books and advise you to read them when the sun goes down. I think the cover of Lost In Wonderland is just as fantastic as the story.

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