The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

July 20, 2014     erinbook     Book review

The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1) by Frank Beddor

Release Date: August 21, 2007
Publisher: Speak
358 Pages
Received: Bought used
Format: Paperback 


Description: You know the myth…

A little girl named Alice tumbled down a rabbit hole and proceeded to have a charming adventure in the delightful, made-up world of Wonderland…

Now discover the truth… Wonderland Exists!

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. 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 only to see it published as the nonsensical Alice’s Adventures 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 gotten it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! If not for royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan’s nonstop search to locate the lost princess, Alyss may have become just another society woman sipping tea in a too-tight corset instead of returning to Wonderland to fight Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

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 travel across the Chessboard Desert.

Review: If you thought that the Alice in Wonderland story couldn’t be better then you haven’t read this book. And if you though that Alyss’ story wouldn’t be heart-wrenching and feels-ridden, well then you were wrong. This is such a wonderful retelling of the classic story, putting Alyss in the place of both Alice Liddel and Princess Alyss Heart.

One of the most clever things this author could have done was explain the original Alice story, within the context of his retelling, as a lie. To give more explanation that would be to ruin one of the best parts of the story but it is one of the most creative ways of reconciling a retelling with its original source material. I’m a big fan of the way this was handled, can you tell?

While I’m trying to explain this book coherently, this is me on the inside….
Yes Wil, we are excited about this book. Very, very excited.
The world Beddor creates in this retelling, while it vaguely resembles some things in the original Alice story, is really it’s own entity. It is beautifully detailed and wondrous, in my mind a much cooler world than the one Carroll created. But that’s a personal preference not a statement of fact. From the colorful people to the singing plants, it all its taken from Carroll’s story and taken one step further. This is an edgy Alice, or should I say Alyss.
Hatter Madigan takes the Mad Hatter to a level I would not have expected. Here he is a kick-ass royal bodyguard with an arsenal of awesome weapons. Skilled and loyal, he spends many years searching for the lost Princess Alyss after Redd’s coup. Hatter Madigan is my favorite character, having been given one of the better “makeovers” of the original Alice cast.
There are new characters too, and they fit right into this Wonderland. Alyss is the lost princess of the Hearts but what about the other suits? They’re all here! With Redd as Queen and the Suit families behind her, a group of rebels fight in the name of Alyss.
I also love this world’s method of travel: through the looking glass! Wonderlanders use looking glasses to travel through a continuum of sorts, a path from looking glass to glass that takes a great deal of practice to not end up reflecting out of the wrong one and into someone’s house. I think that’s such an incredible concept, that a person can travel from one place to another through reflection.
If you want to see which other characters got an awesome, or maybe strange, change up then check out the book for yourself. There are surprises around every corner.  You think you know Alice in Wonderland but you don’t know this Alyss.
I’m excited to see where this series goes in the next installment, Seeing Redd. I highly recommend this first book on the series, even if you weren’t a fan of the original Alice story.
What did you think of The Looking Glass Wars? Share your opinions in the comments!
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