Review: ‘Bloodstained Wonderland’ by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore

Bloodstained Wonderland by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore
Earthling Publications (June 2017)
136 pages; $35.00 signed, numbered hardback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Down the rabbit hole she goes, only this time it’s wrapped in barbed wire and tinged with venom. Bloodstained Wonderland rambles through a nightmarish land which Lewis Carroll could only have imagined if his mind melded with Clive Barker on a weekend bender of LSD and Absinthe.

A decade ago, horror masters Christopher Golden and James A. Moore embarked on a book that took a Doctor Frankenstein approach to the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz—a collaboration which rivaled some of the more imaginative, disturbing, entertaining storytelling. Now, in 2017, they resurrect another monster for horror fans (and those who enjoy their childhood stories twisted into something psychiatrists would love to delve into).

Golden and Moore, both of whom who have penned excursions into the horrifically fantastic before (Strangewood and Serenity Falls) team up once more to deliver the sequel to Bloodstained Oz. Wonderland picks up ten years later with the surviving characters Gayle and Elisa in a setting almost as frightening—war-torn London. The blitz is in full effect with nightly raids destroying the lives of the English, who only wish for a peace which may never come. They’ve been hiding out, far from Kansas and the creatures who tormented them and murdered their families. Yet Gayle carries something they need.

When Gayle discovers a broken looking glass and a deranged woman who claims her name is Alice, the reader understands that the ride is about to begin once more. This childlike amusement of Carroll’s Wonderland fragments into something much more frightening, with many of the characters from that story forcing their way onto the pages, dead set on wreaking havoc in the real world.

What ensues in this short novel is nothing short of madness, but madness contained in a coherent and thoroughly enjoyable story. Earthling Publications has yet to put out a bad book and keeps the streak going with Bloodstained Wonderland.

Golden and Moore prove themselves to be a fine team once more here, with seamless writing and a pair of characters who crawl off the pages in full. With the talented Glenn Chadbourne illustrating the cover and interior art, the package is complete. Another winner from Earthling.

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