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“Sunderland! Thirteen hundred years ago it was the greatest center of learning in the whole of Christendom and the very cradle of English consciousness. In the time of Lewis Carroll it was the greatest shipbuilding port in the world. To this city that gave the world the electric light bulb, the stars and stripes, the millennium, the Liberty Ships and the greatest British dragon legend came Carroll in the years preceding his most famous book, Alice in Wonderland, and here are buried the roots of his surreal masterpiece. Enter the famous Edwardian palace of varieties, The Sunderland Empire, for a unique experience: an entertaining and epic meditation on myth, history and storytelling and decide for yourself – does Sunderland really exist?”

Worst thing I have ever read and I have corrected high school English assignments. Don’t waste your time if you like Alice, because it barely is about her. Instead I could probably tell you the life story of the artist.

The graphic novel format has always been iffy to me. I prefer the ones with more words and meaning. Graphic novels like the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman for example. This book had the same funky art style, which I enjoyed. It was actually creepy at times how life like and how weird the drawings were. The problem was the faces of the people involved were always ridiculous, especially the ending faces where the man wakes up. The art style was the only redeeming quality of the book. It was still not enough to like the book.

The actual substance and plot of the book was supposed to be about how Alice and Lewis Carroll have been pretty much everywhere since the first book was written. However the author goes on long tangents about himself and about what he has done. One such tangent is in the middle of a scene that was actually about only Alice for a while. The narrator stopped and pointed out a part of the background and explained how he had used it in many of his different graphic novels and comics he had drawn/written. There was literally no need for him to stop and explain the stupid desk. It had nothing to do with the plot and it added nothing to the story except my anger. The more the author did this the more the book became something I couldn’t enjoy. I love Alice and I love Lewis Carroll (I have read everything that he has written that I can get my hands on), but this graphic novel does little to nothing for me.

The author doesn’t even get to Alice or Lewis Carroll for the longest time. Instead you have to sit through a long and graphic description of the history of Sunderland which is not connected to Lewis Carroll or Alice in any way other than the author claims that Sunderland is Wonderland.

Great pictures, drawings, and layout. Terrible everything else. I can’t believe I even managed to finish it.

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1 out of 5 stars. I would not recommend this book.

You can buy it here.

~Isaiah

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