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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Genre: Teen, Fantasy
Pages/Format: 378/Soft Cover
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary: The Myth-Alice Liddel was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth-Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss’s parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author, to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (from back of book)
Short Summary: A reworking of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Review: The tale of Alice in Wonderland is always intriguing to me and I enjoy reading books that rework the tale. Beddor has an amazing imagination and creates some really awesome ideas relating to Wonderland. For example, the Crystal Continuum, or traveling through mirrors. I’ve read some stale rewrites of Alice in Wonderland, but Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars is original in it’s own right. My only lament is that it’s aimed for teenagers, so the writing style is down-graded and simplistic, and thankfully Beddor’s imagination was fantastic enough to keep me reading.
Beddor did a great job of working the original tale into his own and twining them together well enough that makes his idea just as believable. When Alyss is thrown into the real world, Victorian London, she is adopted by the Liddel’s and meets the Reverend who pens as Lewis Carroll. Alyss is desperate to make people believe her concerning her seemingly fantastical life in Wonderland and pours her hear out to the Reverend and he promises to write her tale. Unfortunately, he pens the story we know as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and not Alyss’s. From then on until she is in her twenties Alyss forgets about her life in Wonderland and attempts to be ‘normal.’
Some of (I believe) Beddor’s own drawings of his version’s of Alyss and other Wonderland inhabitants are included in the book, in color. I think this is a very whimsical touch reminiscent of the original tale which had pictures as well.
The Looking Glass Wars is the first in a trilogy and so the story and characters are not fully developed by the end and in doing so urges the reader towards the next book. I will probably be reading the next books because I want to know what happens to the characters. (Who was Hatter mourning? Will Dodge be overcome by Black Imagination?)
I don’t want to spoil too much for the reader here, because this book is solely run by it’s ideas and characters and not so much about the writing style. Heather didn’t like this book because she didn’t like the writing style, and of most teen books in general. If you like teen books, and Alice in Wonderland, I really think you’ll enjoy Beddor’s story.

Recommendations: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass both by Lewis Carroll. Wicked by Gregory Maguire, The Wondeful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum  

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