The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor
❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
Series: The Looking Glass Wars (1)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Adventure, Retellings, Science Fiction, Steampunk , Magic, Fairytales, Teen, Young Adult Fantasy
Published By: Speak in 2004
Format: Paperback (358 pages)
The Myth: Alice 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 the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss’ 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.
I so very, very much wanted to love this book. I adore the Alice franchise, and I’m not a crazed fanatic of the exact words and chaos that comes from Carroll’s tale as I am the possibilities it holds. I was thrilled when I discovered The Looking Glass Wars at my local Borders, and even more so thrilled when I learned that it wasn’t a stand-alone book. I have seen more versions of Alice in Wonderland than I can count on one hand, and I even tend to enjoy the ones that impose a plot upon Alice’s adventures.
This said, I had unfairly high hopes for Beddor’s story. I will not lie and say it was an awful book, but nor will I give it more praise than it rightfully deserves. There were some moments in it that I loved. For example, the Inventor’s Parade was a splendid idea (I particularly enjoyed the timeline at the end of the book which meshed real world events with those in Wonderland). There were things about Hatter Madigan I greatly enjoyed, and Alice as a child was delightful.
Then there were the things that were simply bad writing – rushing through scenes, Alice’s transport back to Wonderland was far too quick a transition and completely unbelievable, even in a Wonderland-context. Sometimes the odds were far too impossible for Beddor’s final conclusions to even be reached. Now, I know that attempting to look at Wonderland with a logical eye may seem foolish, but it isn’t a matter of logic verses suspension of disbelief. It was simply bad writing, as though the author got bored and decided to simply skip to the point.
I give Beddor three stars, because the book was full of potential. Some of his ideas were nothing short of brilliant. On the other hand, though, I didn’t see any characters that didn’t appear in the Disney adaptation of the story save for the chessmen, which makes me wonder how much time Beddor spent with Carroll verses how much time he spent with media interpretations of Carroll. Nonetheless, The Looking Glass Wars is a worthy read for anyone interested in fairytales, in reflections of Lewis Carroll’s work, or in a quick story that doesn’t have too stringent of a plotline. Perhaps even a fan of steampunk fantasy would enjoy this, based on aspects like the Millinery and the Glass Eyes and other aspects like that. However, die-hard Carroll fans, stay away! This will only serve to enrage you.
I love Alice in Wonderland, and I hated this. Shallow, dull… not half as magical as it made itself out to be. Interesting concept, poor execution.
This was definitely a bookstore grab, most likely Borders as it was going out of business.
“Everyone thought she had made it up, and she had tolerated more taunting and teasing from other children, more lectures and punishments from grown-ups, than any eleven-year-old should have to bear.”
Some of My Favorite Quotes
“You can’t spend so much time in a place and not carry a bit of it inside you.”