Today I am featuring one of my current favorite authors, Christina Henry. I first discovered Henry through Penguin’s first reads program in 2015 where her novel Alice was featured a digital ARC. If you haven’t heard of Alice, it is a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. She paints a darker, grimmer picture of the story we all know and love. Alice’s adventures have resonated with me since 2010. I was late to the game, but I quickly became enamored by it all. There are so many quotes that are relatable, funny, and true.
This book fell through my fingers despite how much I wanted it. I was unable to grab a copy so I quickly forgot about it. When I finally got a copy months later, I fell in love. Luckily, as it turned it was a duology. Red Queen came out shortly after I finished Alice. Red Queen was just as dark and surprising as its predecessor. The ending was tied up nicely, but I still have a soft spot for Alice. Each book tells a different story of Alice. One where she is a powerful magician in love with an Ax murderer, Hatcher. Now, can we relate him to the Mad Hatter? Yes, yes I think so. I not so secretly love this pair that I want to desperately name my two future cats Alice and Hatcher.
Okay, I may be obsessed. Luckily, Henry keeps writing to feed into my addiction of reading her novels. Her next book was another grim and dark retelling of classic childhood story Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I was never a huge fan of Peter Pan, but loved adaptations of the story. Hook: The True Story of Captain Hook is my favorite; and my favorite Christina Henry novel.
In this retelling, Peter Pan is not your innocent hero in this one. Nope, it’s Captain Hook, Jaime. Jaime is a very much likable character who is just trying to survive on a crookedly deadly island. Peter Pan is painted as a monster, rightfully so. The amount of blood, death, and deception is unbelievable. It is a dark, yet deeply moving rewrite of a classic story that had a happy ending. Well, the happy ending has a dark truth to it now.
Henry’s take on these favorite childhood stories is unbelievable. It’s the way she crafts these stories into something that is entirely her own. She makes them feel brand new. These novels are refreshing. Yes, there stories are based on classics from the past. Can’t she write something original? Henry’s interpretations are unique. She takes relatively positive, upbeat novels and peels apart the layers to create a darker, fantasy based novels.
She doesn’t just rewrite childhood stories, she is now tackling mermaids! Her new novel coming out this summer is entitled The Mermaid, a historical fiction novel based around a mermaid who gets trapped in P.T. Barnum’s American Museum as the real Fiji Mermaid. I, for one, love mermaids. There is something mythical about that which is intriguing. I am really excited for this novel to come out. If it’s anything like her previous novels, this novel will be one of my favorites of this year.
However, she is more versatile than all of this. She is also the author of the National Best Selling series Black Wings featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn loving gargoyle Beezle. Although I have not read this series, it is on my list. But, honestly I am so in love her retellings I don’t know I can read her original series. I don’t know why. It’s just a thing with me. Also, admittedly, I am bad at reading series.
With that being said, she is a fantastic writer. Henry is a writer to watch. I have enjoyed her works for two years now. I highly recommend her. I really do.