I read [b:Alice in Wonderland|13023|Alice in Wonderland|Lewis Carroll|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1166512952s/13023.jpg|2933712] eons ago. I had no idea what precarious circumstances Alice has gotten herself into since the last time I had spent time with her. Imagine my surprise to find that she has turned to the world's oldest profession. Madame Lola is always on the look out for new talent to keep her bordello fresh and interesting. She plucks Alice out of her menial work and teaches her how to turn tricks. As a bonus she often shares her wisdom with her young protege. "Physical beauty is the sole preserve of women," Madame Lola was fond of saying. "A man's beauty is in his money; the more of it he has, the better looking he is."
My image of Alice has changed.
Alice Sin seemed like a much more appropriate working name. She turns to prostitution with relish. She happens upon a chocolate trick that is a big hit with her customers and makes uhhh swallowing easier. It doesn't take long for her to develop a desire to do something more meaningful with her life. When the opportunity arrives, it barely takes a nudge, for her to take up the world's second oldest profession...assassination. She is hired by Lady Busybody to kill her husband Dudley.
The United States is split into two countries ruled by sisters Queen Victoria and Queen Anna. Victoria controls the New York half and Anna controls the Texas half. A problem arises over my home state of Kansas. At first neither sister wanted the cantankerous state. "Both by reputation and in practice, Kansan natives are a difficult lot to govern--cattle rustlers, magicians, prophets, founders of strange cults, extreme rabble-rousers--not the sort of influence you want corrupting your society."
Kansas made a fine buffer between the two kingdoms until it was discovered that it had a mega deposit of coal. Steam is the life blood of both kingdoms and burning coal is the desired fuel to keep both societies functioning. A war breaks out over Kansas.
Meanwhile Alice Sin has proved to be not as dexterous at assassination as she was at prostitution. Lord Dudley Busybody, younger sibling of Anna and Victoria, discovers her foul plot, and offers her more money than what she would earn killing him to assassinate Queen Anna.
All hell breaks loose. There are war spiders that float up the rivers and attack New York Kingdom cities. Cheshire Cats carry messages by teleporting. There are March Hares as soldiers for the Queen. There are White Rabbits running all aspects of every city. There are live bird cups that require constant supervision or they will hop away with your beverage. There is a wind-up robot named Crank that proves to be a life saver for Alice. There are Rustling Mechs, 40 meters high, that are designed to steal cattle. There are BullyBoys sporting Minotaur heads with longhorn attributes. There is a really annoying Cuban Cigar smoking caterpillar that proves to be an ongoing problem for Alice. There are soft drink trees and steamguns. There are Puma's with lioness heads and golden fur riding mechanical horses. There are the mech-Sioux a culture that has taken fetishistic augmentation to whole new levels. There is an Indian princess with vagina dentata which proves to be not only a humiliating moment for Big Chief Little John, but more than a little uncomfortable moment for our fair reader. There is a prince suffering from mazophilia and a blood thirsty inclination that proves more than a challenge for poor Alice. It doesn't take long for Alice to look back on her life as a prostitute with wistful nostalgia.
There is really an amazing amount of creativity that went into this story. I struggled with some grammar issues, but as I started flowing with the story the occasional awkward sentence didn't bother me as much. There is carnage a plenty. Some of the battle scenes were particularly well written. Plenty of imagination was on display and for those of you with a steampunk need this will definitely steam up your glasses with all the gadgets. There is graphic sex, but the story is not overwhelmed or detained by an overabundance of it. Most of the sex was actually nicely incorporated into the plot. I read this on my computer at work during slow times and found myself more than a little annoyed when my phone rang pulling me away from the action