Review Blog

Jan 18 2012

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

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(Also Seeing Redd and Arch Enemy). Egmont, 2004. ISBN 978140521976.
(Ages: 14+) This series of 3 books turns the original premise of Alice in Wonderland on its head. In the first of the trilogy we are introduced to the 'real' Wonderland, the brutal world of Princess Alyss Heart. Alyss is the heir to the throne and when her mother and father are viciously murdered by her Aunt Redd she is transported to the world of Victorian England. Here she is adopted by the Liddell family and meets up with Lewis Carroll. When she confides her story to him he instead betrays her by writing and publishing his own very sanitised version. Meanwhile back in Wonderland allies of the Princess are rallying for her return and the general population are suffering at the hands of the new Queen and her armies.
When Alyss's bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, a very violent version of the original hatter, finally tracks her down in our world they return to Wonderland to try and reclaim her throne. They join reworked versions of the original characters. So for example the white rabbit has become an albino tutor, the Cheshire cat a truly terrifying assassin and the card soldiers act like flying razors.
I found the story confusing at first and the violence quite overwhelming at times. This is not a series for the faint hearted. However it is an unusual and powerful read and lovers of fantasy and traditional tales may persevere and read the whole series.
Chris Lloyd

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