Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor, 2006

Princess Alyss Heart will be queen of Wonderland some day. She is gifted with a powerful imagination that can make her imaginings come true. On the day of her 7th birthday, Princess Alyss's father is killed in an ambush while hurrying home for her birthday party. Despite the vigilence of Hatter Madigan and the elite hatter security forces Alyss's Aunt Redd and her card soldiers attack the castle and overthrow her mother, Queen Genevieve.

On orders from his queen, Hatter Madigan swears to protect the young princess and they flee from the murderous claws of Redd's grinning assassin in feline form, The Cat. With nowhere else to go, Hatter and Alyss plunge into the Pool of Tears.

Lost and alone, Alyss emerges from a puddle of water on the streets of Victorian London to attempt to find her way in a strange new world. The Liddell family adopts her and changes her name to Alice. Forbidden from talking about her earlier life she confides her story to a family friend, the Reverend Charles Dodgson who rewrites her seemingly fanciful story as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, using his pen name, Lewis Carroll.

The story is engrossing and satisfying as a fantasy read. Planned as a trilogy, I look forward to seeing what Beddor will do with the characters. Alyss's childhood friend, Dodge could shape up to be an Anakin-turn-to-the-dark-side character who is haunted by his father's murder. The standout character of the story has to be Hatter Madigan. He is a superhero/assassin/protector with a hat weapon that can slice and dice. I want to know more about him.

Young adults do not have to have characters the same age as themselves to enjoy a story. They are regular readers of McCaffery's Pern stories and the Star Trek books at the junior high near me. Beddor does cover a great deal of ground as Alyss goes from age 7 to age 20 in the story though. As a 20 year old character, she is less interesting than she was as a young child. As the book is pitched at YA readers, I wonder if he should have/could have aged her more gradually.

There are lots of battle scenes and I can see the CGI card soldiers on the big screen now.

Penguin has a splashout site about the book and even a soundtrack to listen to which Entling no. 3 has appropriated and enjoyed very much.

This is a fun read for fantasy readers. I can already think of 4 kids who will be interested in this book.

Official Site:


Little Willow said...

I am a huge fan of the original Alice and thus worried about reading this book. I've seen mixed reviews aplenty. Hmmm.

Camille said...

Overall, I enjoyed the book but I think the age of Alyss is somewhat problamatic. He could have/should have started her out as a "tween" which would have fitted her character better. I had to go back and double check her age at the beginning of the story because in my mind she was much older than 7 years old.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the book thoroughly, though I agree fully that Alyss should have been set, character-wise, a bit older. I don't believe I really ever had the solid image in my head of a seven-year-old...