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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (Dial and Speak)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “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.”--summary taken from site

Review: Okay I must admit that I have yet to watch the entire length of the Alice in Wonderland movie and or ever touch the original book so I am as fresh as a newborn calf. However I will claim that I know the general gist…well the beginning half at least. The Looking Glass Wars features a much more morbid and action packed tale than what I imagined to be.

Beddor does an excellent job at describing Wonderland, but what I found most impressive was the artwork. Applauds goes to Brian Flora so I would definitely recommend seeing his other works here. I depicted some of the characters way off so his artistry helped…a lot.

So in all The Looking Glass Wars was a so-so book. There was nothing really wrong with the book; it just did not captivate me. It was good while it lasted but forgettable once finished. Granted there were some scenes that stuck throughout the whole novel—the puddles, The Cat, the children—but things became a blur later. It’ll vary for some people because this book was so heavy on action and fight scenes toward the middle and end.

The first half was mundane though it did showcase Alyss’s descent of her powers and how the myth came to be. The characters seem one-dimensional most of the time with no room for growth, as I said very action based, with few dialogues that did not involve battle strategies or informing Alyss the current events. Because this is a trilogy, with The Looking Glass Wars as the first, I will be expecting a lot more development to them—demanding would be more proper it seems.

Despite this The Looking Glass Wars fascinated me enough to read the sequel (and it helps that I have it already). While the characters were less than extraordinary my interests has been piqued by a few: Jack of Diamonds, The Cat, Redd, Bibwit (notice how many of those are the bad guys).

Cover B+
The paperback cover rocks. One of Flora’s creations. In reality, the colors are not as dark or sharp.


  1. Hmm.. I've been on the fence about buying this one or not. We have nice and cheap at my bookstore, but I'm not too sure I want to dish the cash out for it yet. Thanks for the great review! :)

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  3. I bought this one a couple of months ago, and like you am a complete newbie when it comes to Alice in Wonderland. I know the general gist, but aside from that, nothing.

    I hear it has quite a lot of action in it, so I'm looking forward to that. Thanks for the honest review!

  4. I'm really looking forward to reading this. And the original NOT Disneyfied version is very bizarre and really not for children at all. It's one big acid trip, honestly! I think you'd like the wordplay in Alice in Wonderland. Something to check out eventually?

  5. I definitely see where you are coming from with the book being sort of forgettable. I remember when I first read it, it blew my mind, but now a few months later I can't even remember the name of the dude Alyss hooks up with.

    Great review though, love your honesty!