Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Genre:  YA Pantasy
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy, Book 1

Description (taken from Frank Beddor's website):
The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges the world’s Carrollian Wonderland assumptions of tea parties, dormice and a curious little blonde girl to reveal an epic, cross dimensional saga of love, murder, betrayal, revenge and the endless war for Imagination. Meet the heroic, passionate, monstrous, vengeful denizens of this parallel world as they battle each other with AD-52’s and orb generators, navigate the Crystal Continuum, bet on jabberwock fights and slip each other the poisonous pink mushroom. Finally, someone got it right. This ain’t no fairytale.

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, was forced to flee through the Pool of Tears after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd shattered her world. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s sojourn Alice in Wonderland. Alyss had trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere would find her and bring her home.

But Carroll had got it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! If not for the intrepid Hatter Madigan, a member of the Millinery (Wonderland’s security force) who after a 13 year search eventually tracked Alyss to London, she may have become just another society woman sipping tea in a too-tight bodice instead of returning to Wonderland to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

This is probably the first book I've ever read where I thought the beginning of the book was better than the middle and ending.  I mean the first 50 pages is pure 5-star material.  It sets the scene and builds the anticipation perfectly.  This story is told from various characters points of view, and we kind of see the electrical storm build and build until it unleashes in the form of a violent lightning bolt.  Only, it's not an electrical storm, it's a war between sisters.

Princess Alyss has no care in the world on her seventh birthday.  She's got a boring party to attend, and then she begins Queen lessons the next day that will help her build her imagination.  No one ever anticipates her Aunt Redd crashing the party.  And Redd is even more insane than the person we know as the Queen of Hearts in the classic fairy tale.  No wonder I can relate to her more-so than the other characters.  Anyways, Alyss flees from her world to our world where everything suddenly becomes more mundane.  But Alyss must keep her wits and imagination around in order to get back and take her rightful place on the throne.

Like I said, I loved the beginning.  And the middle and ending were good also.  It's just after I got over the excitement, I realized this is a bizarre, but good, retelling of Alice in Wonderland.  Do I plan on continuing this series?  Duh, of course!

One of the many things Redd says that I absolutely love:
     "What am I to do with you?" Redd asked.
     "M-maybe you could-" Jack began.
     The Cat raised a paw.  "I know."
     "It was a rhetorical question, fools!  You don't answer it!  Since when do I need help making anyone suffer?"
          ~The Looking Glass Wars, pp 273-4

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I read this book back in September but just this weekend I started reading SEEING REDD - #2 of The Looking Glass Wars trilogy.

    I'm really enjoying this series too. It has its slight faults, but it's been one of my favorite Alice in Wonderland retellings so far.


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