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  • Cute but feels incomplete

    While not strictly a retelling, Take Your Medicine is instead like an AU that has these characters interacting with each other; the story is very much rooted in a contemporary setting though it often feels like it could be an urban fantasy. Alice has an illness that causes her to faint at moments of high emotion, which is why her mother, the Queen of Hearts, has her sequestered into a cottage during the summer, where Alice can catch up on her studies leisurely, and free from surprise distractions. Her daily routine involves maintaining the garden and orchards on the property, and on one such day she comes across Rabbit and Kat (they are nicknames, chill), two witches living at the edge of the property in a trailer. Alice's mother doesn't approve of their practice, so she forbids Alice from trying out their remedies for her illness, but out of curiosity and boredom, she goes to meet with them regularly. Soon, she also meets other friends of theirs, while also hoping that Rabbit's cure actually works. The story has the quirky magic of Alice in Wonderland, in that it feels directionless like the original. (This is a compliment, mind you) Alice's meeting with them brings her new experiences, and a little understanding of chemistry and magic colliding. The romance is subtle, and develops spontaneously, though it is a little bit 'love at first sight'. Alice's experiences with a chronic illness, and people's reactions to it is also something the author brings out well. Ultimately, though, if you ask me how satisfying the story is at the end, I would say - it isn't really. The ending feels abrupt, and dare I say, open-ended? The introduction of the other characters didn't feel all that relevant to the plot either; it felt like they were there to insert 'Wonderland' characters into the plot. Alice's mother becomes more understanding, but it still feels like it could have developed into a more extensive story, even with the slice of life feels it gave me. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Nine Star Press, via Netgalley.

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