Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

First published in 2006.

The Myth

Alice Liddel 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's 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 los
t princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (book back blurb)


This book was fucking awesome. I really have no other words to describe it. Fucking awesome.

So it takes some liberties with the original Alice in Wonderland. Such is what happens when things fall into the public domain. I read some reviews about how people were so pissed off that Beddor bastardized the original so much and disrespected it and blah blah blah. You know, if you missed the unabashed drug references in the original, you're blind to how innocent Alice in Wonderland is not.

The world that Beddor creates is just amazing. The Checkerboard Desert. Mount Isolation. Wonderland itself. I loved the caterpillars in their mushroom land. Everything that we originally knew with Alice was expanded and made so much richer. There's a real story there instead of a flight of fancy. It'll be hard for Disney to screw with this one.

When Alyss traveled through the Pool of Tears and started doubting where she came from, I too started to doubt whether it was all a dream. Just the intricate way it was handled. It wasn't over the top screaming tantrums but one pivotal moment that had Alyss realize that she needed to start to acclimate. I was both saddened and questioning because she was giving up on Hatter, and Hatter is not one to give up on, and she was becoming a drone which she so wasn't.

Alyss is both strong and vulnerable. Fragile and unbreakable. I loved her character and I only wish all female characters in YA books showcased this kind of realistic strength that Alyss exuded. She wasn't really some spoiled little brat and she truly went through all those hardships alone. It hurt to read yet I was compelled to keep doing so.

I also liked the relationship aspect with her and Dodge. Despite that when she came back so much time had past and the man she re-met wasn't the same Dodge she left behind, she still had those feelings for him and he for her. Yet she would be willing to give him up if he chose the side working against her. She wasn't so weak to follow him into darkness but he left a soft spot on her, that's for sure.

Redd is a psychotic bitch, and what faerie tale would be complete without one? Hatter Madigan is an official literary crush for me. Hello sir! I loved General Doppelganger and the Knights. The Cat even had his funny moments despite the fact he was on the antagonist's side. Gives the Cheshire Cat a whole new meaning.

There really isn't anything not to like in this book. Alyss is a strong, relatable character and her story just sucks you in. The world Beddor created (not to mention his drawings, awesome!) just gives Wonderland a whole new, and good, light. I honestly can't wait to finish reading the series. It makes me wish my TBR pile weren't so big so I can jump right into them. Blast this OCD of mine.

But really, go grab this one. Buy it. I gobbled this up and I really think you would too.


Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

Great review! I've had this sitting on my shelf for months...but now I'm definitely going to read it!

Mara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mara said...

Hatter Maddigan is my only literary crush, ever. Did you know about the comic books they have of his adventures?

Falling Off The Shelf said...

Sounds fantastic! I've had this book on my shelf for quite a while, along with the second book in series as well. I was lucky enough to find them at my local libraries donation shop, and ARCs too! I'm going to have to read this book soon.

Thanks for the great review!

Nicole said...

I'm glad you love it, because it's what I'm reading right now - I'm only a few chapters in - and I trust your taste in books. XDDD Thank you for the great review!

Book Junkie said...

I have had this on my TBR for some time, I can't remember how I found it, but I might just have to bump it up after your review! Great job BTW!


Kate said...

Yay! I am so glad that you liked this book. It is one of all time favorites!

Donna said...

OMG, read this nao! Totally awesome!

And I'll have to check out those comic books. I love Hatter like whoa.

Maria D'Isidoro said...

SO glad you liked this. I've come across a lot of reviews like what you were talking about and it made me incredibly sad. This is a wonderful (heh) re-imagining of a world most of us have grown up with. I hope you enjoy Seeing Redd, too. It's a great sequel, and considering it's a bridge book (which I often find to be weaker than the 1st and 3rd books) it's even more amazing. I'm on the waiting list for Arch Enemy at my library, but I'm REALLY looking forward to it.

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