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After the move from the Country of Hearts to the Country of Clover happens, Ace finds himself pushed out of his chosen role as Julius's helper. Now he's just Vivaldi's knight, a role he hates. Alice wants to help him, but she's also nervous around him, because he keeps coming on weirdly strong. She's also upset, because he thinks the only reason she doesn't push him away is because she's kind and friendly to everyone, not because he's someone special to her. However, in the end she realizes she loves him. The volume also includes three Crimson Empire shorts: one with Prince Edvard, one with Bryon and a pregnancy scare, and a humorous one with Marshall.
This volume began just before the move to the Country of Clover – I was so confused when Julius showed up at the beginning, because I thought the story was already in Clover. We get a bit more detail about Pierce – he acts as the Hatter Family's “cleaner,” retrieving and hiding clocks so that Ace can't retrieve them, which of course puts him at odds with Ace.
Out of all the volumes I read during my Alice in the Country of binge, this one was my least favorite. It could have been a fascinating exploration of Ace, the only role holder who dealt with the constraints of Wonderland by choosing a role for himself. Instead, QuinRose gave readers an incredibly discomfiting romance with a guy Alice halfway expected might kill her (and who she would have let do it!). I'd have preferred seeing Alice end up with Gray, who kept warning her away from Ace, or Vivaldi, who even ended up in her bed at one point.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)