The Looking Glass Wars || Review

Pages: 358
Book type: Paperback
Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

~ Goodreads Synopsis ~
 

When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story – and he’s searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions of mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

 
~ ~ ~ ~
 

     To be honest, I really only bought this book because I like Alice in Wonderland and it was only ten US dollars.*By no means do you have to read the original stories first, although it is a great story.* The premise sounded interesting, but I didn’t have very high expectations and I put off reading it for sooo long.
This book, on all occasions, exceeded any of the slightest expectations I might have had. I sped through it in two days and couldn’t put it down.
The story started really strong and with action in the first couple chapters, which are, in general, very short, which also speeds along the story. Somewhere in the middle, though, it got pretty slow, but the late middle and end really picked up. In the beginning, Alyss is a child, which is really sweet in a way, but it also gets a little dull after so long since she is only seven, but a little after halfway she becomes an adult. At that point things get really interesting.
As the first book of the trilogy, there is still plenty of room for the characters to develop, and I really hope Alyss comes into herself a little more if I continue on with the series. Although she inevitably finished her task at hand and ended strong, she still felt a little dry as an adult. I honestly kind of preferred her more as a child for some parts since she lacks a little meaningful spirit at twenty-one. I understand why her time on Earth changed her in the ways that it did, but I really wish she would’ve fell back into herself upon her return to Wonderland a little better.
Hatter Madigan, although I loved his character in the story, bugged me a little just because I was thinking he’d be a little more whimsical than a cut and dry military man. His relation to Alyss as her kind of “guard” is cute at times, but I really wish there was more of a fathery or uncle kind of presence in him. BUT he’s totally badass. Apparently he has his whole own side series of his travels trying to find Alyss and they sound pretty intriguing as I want to dig deeper into his personal life.
As for romance, there really isn’t much, which was kind of disappointing due to the budding childish romance she has as a child that I LOVED. I feel like it will definitely grow back in the next two books once the two reconnect a little more upon her return.
As for the retelling side of the story, it was really different, but in a good way. I liked the different take on the world and it really felt like its own. I didn’t like how Lewis Carroll was blatantly bashed because Alice in Wonderland is such a beautiful classic, although it’s understandable in the story as to why he is bashed by Alyss. I do wish some things were more like the original so that it was a better connection, but it was just so good as it was. Besides, Rick Riordan liked it, so it has to be good.

The story has a few shortcomings that I hope are resolved throughout the other two books, but in all, I feel like the story was pretty satisfying and could even kind of be a stand alone. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a darker whimsical tale, or just like Alice in Wonderland. If you’ve read it, tell me what you think of it!
Thanks for reading!
-Taylor

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