Word Spelunking

Hatter - Daniel  Coleman Read the original and complete review at Word SpelunkingI loved Daniel Coleman’s Jabberwocky, so I was super excited to read the companion novel Hatter, and it did not disappoint. Coleman has once again enchanted and impressed me with his riveting storytelling.Hatter, a companion book to Jabberwocky (although one need not necessarily read Jabberwocky to follow the storyline…but you really should because it too is an awesome book!), tells the story behind Hatta, aka the iconic Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, and his descent into madness. Focusing on the story of two young men, Hatta and Chism, different in almost every way, Coleman proves to be a wonderfully wondrous word weaver (Ollie would be so proud!). Hatter tells the perfectly intertwined stories of Hatta and Chism, and explores Hatta’s fascinating and surprising journey to becoming the infamous Mad Hatter.I noted in my review of Jabberwocky that it must be no easy task to write about such an iconic world full of beloved characters, but Coleman does just that and does so with a spellbinding flare. The world building in Hatter is phenomenal, vivid, and original. The world Coleman writes about is a world that has yet to become Wonderland, but his pre-Wonderland world and Carroll’s Wonderland world blend and harmonize beautifully. Yet, Coleman’s work is distinct and refreshing in its own right…and captivatingly so.Hatter flows effortlessly, and both Hatta and Chism’s stories are equally and efficiently explored. Coleman does an excellent job of mixing together humor, action, emotion, romance, and fantastical whimsy, creating a superb story. I read this book in two sittings and was completely engrossed from beginning to end. With such a fantastic world, you definitely need equally fantastic characters and Coleman’s characters are fabulously fantastic! Chism and Hatta are compelling as both individuals and as a duo. Serious, obsessive Chism is an intriguing character because he isn’t always easy to figure out. He’s so young at only 15, yet seems so much older. There’s such a profound depth to his character that will surprise and move readers.Hatta is one of the most engaging and fascinating characters I’ve met in a long time. Coleman’s Hatta is, of course, very much like Carroll’s Hatter, but there are distinct and significant differences as well. Like the well-known Mad Hatter, Hatta is colorful (both literally and figuratively), speaks in riddles, and is outrageously absurd in his nonsense, yet often makes surprising and startling sense. But Coleman’s Hatta as yet to succumb to madness completely, so we get to experience his enthralling, and at times heart-breaking, conflict between logic and feeling, sanity and insanity, reality and imagination. Hatta was, at times, quite the breath-taking character.Another of Coleman’s wonderful characters is the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts. She is just as iconic as the Mad Hatter and Coleman has given her a truly captivating and surprisingly heart-breaking backstory as well. Hatta ends on the most satisfying and ideal note.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Hatter is the perfect book for those readers who love Carroll’s work and crave more Wonderland, but it’s also the perfect book for those readers simply looking for an exciting and captivating fantasy read. There’s true magic in Daniel Coleman’s words and Hatter will leave you spellbound. An absolute MUST read book!

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