Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Title: The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars #1)
Author: Frank Beddor
Format: Hardcover, 364 pages
Pub. Date: September 26th 2006
Source: Borrowed from Emily


3.5 stars, rounded up.

Alyss' life in Wonderland has become something of a joke to the people of our world. Having told her story to a seemingly sympathetic ear, a friend of hers named Lewis Carroll. Only, he turns her heartbreaking past into nonsensical mockery- he even had the audacity to misspell her name! But a puddle and looking glass away, the queen's most loyal guard Hatter and the rest of the White Imagination know that Alyss truly does exist, and that she must come home and take her place on the throne and defeat the evil Redd, who has taken Wonderland by force. But Alyss can't remember what's in her head and what's reality. Will her imagination be enough to save the land she loves from utter destruction?


3.5 stars, rounded up.

This book was definitely different. It's not something I'd normally pick up, but I am glad that I gave it a chance after my girlfriend recommended it to me.

+This is a really interesting.... Well, not retelling. More like a re-imagining of the tale we all know and love, Alice in Wonderland. The author combines the classic story with a bit of sci-fi, war, and even some dystopian motifs to make Wonderland a place that Disney definitely didn't dream up.

+I loved the Big Brother type elements of this story. The evil queen, Redd, forces her henchmen to change the history books full of her own genius (?) quotes and narratives. There are billboards all over the place that bear her face, a constant reminder of who is truly in charge. There are spies lurking everywhere, and layer upon layer of deceit and false loyalties.

+The Cheshire cat in this story isn't one that you'd want curled up by your feet at night. He's an assassin with sharp claws and nine lives. Good luck trying to take out all of them. He is stealthy and strong, and makes for a helluva villain.

+- This book has a lot of fight scenes in it. A lot. It makes sense, seeing that this is a story about a war versus good and evil. But, my regular followers know that I really don't follow fight scenes well. It's of no fault of the author, just my own personal hang up.

-I don't feel like a lot of the characters were narrated in depth. There are a large range of characters which are easy to separate from one another, but I feel like not enough time was paid to the "main" characters. I wanted to like Hatter (I mean, his top hat is a weapon. How cool is that?) But I didn't learn much about him. Even Alyss seemed kind of glossed over in order to talk about the broader story.

-Time is a wibbly wobbly motif in the classic tale. This book uses it as well, but in a slightly awkward way. In the course of a few paragraphs, five years pass, then 12. The increments were odd and quick, and it made the "chase" of Alyss seem rushed, and the battles seem (unnecessarily)longer.

-As girly as this sounds, I really missed the romance element. It's there for a while and then fizzles out. It frustrated me a bit, admittedly.

This isn't your mother's Alice in Wonderland. This is a Wonderland for the video game generation- full of ass kicking characters, imaginative weaponry, and trained killers. If you prefer your Alice in Wonderland full of singing flowers and cute little mome raths (like me), this might not be for you. If you want your dormice fried, your top hats full of knives, and your playing card soldiers armed to the teeth, check out this series.

Over all, I felt that the unique perspective on this tale outweighed the issues that I had with the story. I will be checking out the other books that follow, but with no sense of urgency. I'd like to see if the characters grow more complex, and if the romance picks back up.

Thanks to Emily for letting me borrow this.


  1. I'm glad you gave this book a chance and that you liked it! Once I'm done with the other two, I'll let you borrow them :)