Friday, December 9, 2016

"The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor

Published by Dial Books
Released in 2004

The world Princess Alyss Heart lives in is a twisted place where dark imagination threatens white imagination.  What's more, her evil aunt has one goal and one goal alone: kill her and her parents, the king and queen, to take the throne for herself. She's been planning the attack for years, so when she finally launches it on the palace, the effect it has on the good guys is disastrous.  Among other unfortunate occurrences, Alyss is forced to flee her home and leap into the Pool of Tears - a portal that dumps her in the middle of Victorian London.  It is a world quite unlike her own...

Generally, books that twist old fairy tales into something totally different fall under one of my favorite kinds of fantasy, and this new take on the strange story of Alice's adventures in Wonderland is no exception.  Frank Beddor has proven himself an imaginative writer - he even changed everyone's names (or, in Alyss's case, the spelling of the name).  The Mad Hatter becomes Hatter Madigan, the White Rabbit becomes Bibwit Harte (same letters, just switched around), and the Cheshire Cat becomes a half-cat, half-human assassin.  Which is creepy, but a super creative way to change it nonetheless.  There's plenty of action, the barest wisp of romance, and underlying themes such as clinging to who you are and remaining different in a world that's always trying to get you to fit in.  5 out of 5 stars for The Looking Glass Wars!

It frustrated one of the book club members that an important character disappears out of thin air and then reappears years later - a boy one second, a man the next.  I wasn't that bothered by it because 1) the author did a good job with it, and 2) stuff like that just doesn't tend to annoy me.  In fact, there's pretty much nothing I didn't like about The Looking Glass Wars... except that it left me itching for the next book in the trilogy.

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