March 28, 2010

Review of "The Looking Glass Wars"

"The Looking Glass Wars"
by Frank Beddor


Pub Date: September 26th 2006
Pages: 384

Alice Liddel was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carrol in his famous storybook.

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 lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

My friend at work was bugging me for months to read this book and I am so glad it finally made its way to the top of my to read pile. I loved Beddor's twist on "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass", he was able to take a classic world and make it his own, while still keeping the magic of the original texts intact. Beddor was able to recreate the fanciful Wonderland setting upholding it as a realm where the impossible is possible. His characters were vivid with huge personalities, all of them were unique and really helped bring the book to life. I was going to name my favorite characters; however, I would have ended up listing pretty much all of them. I really love how Beddor used white and dark imagination in the book, it was so cool to read about the battles and seeing how each side harmed their enemies. That sounds kind of cryptic, but Beddor was just so inventive in the fighting scenes.

Alyss's quest to find her place in the world, whether it is Earth or Wonderland, and her identity struggles are concepts readers will relate to. Even Alyss's family issues on Earth and in Wonderland will reverberate with audiences. Redd is a tyrant who rules Wonderland as a fascist state telling people what they will believe and how they should act. Her unethical treatment of citizens and Wonderland's ecosystem reflect some of the major conflicts that our own world has gone through in the last century. Beddor is able to add a lot of substance to the book without slowing down the story or taking away from the fantastical world that is Wonderland.

This book would not have worked if the writer did not have a wonderful imagination and was not intimately familiar with both of Lewis Carroll's Alice books. I am so glad that Beddor took the risk of writing this series because he created pure magic. I have already started the second book and am really enjoying it so far. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of "Alice in Wonderland", as well as to people who enjoy fantasy and adventure.


  1. I really enjoyed this book, but Seeing Redd was not as good. After seeing the latest movie version of Alice in Wonderland, I was able to tie more of the action from the movie to The Looking Glass Wars than to the original stories by Lewis Carroll. Have you seen the movie? I wonder if I'm the only one that makes this connection.

  2. Kaydence- I felt the same way about the movie and I wasn't sure if other people felt the same way! I'm glad you commented because now I know I'm not alone. :)
    I have heard that "Seeing Redd" wasn't all that great, so I have lower expectations. I think that is why it took me so long to pick up the first book.

  3. These books based on Alice in Wonderland seem to the be the 'in thing' to read at the moment. I read Alice in Wonderland earlier this year and am curently reading Through the Looking Glass, so once I finsih those I figure I will join everyone else and start reading books like this. I love the review, it sounds like you really enjoyed it.

    I love your blog by the way, I am going to follow it from now on!

  4. Hi Aimee, nice blog!
    Question: Can you tell me the title of the book that's between Eyes Like Stars and The Hunger Games?

  5. I love Alice in Wonderland, and I'm so glad there are skilled writers out there who can continue Carroll's legacy. This is on my wish list.

  6. This sounds like a great book! I'll have to add it to my to-read list.

    By the way, I like the name of your blog!

  7. Becky and Angie- Thanks for you're praise! I love my blog, I just wish I had more time to work on it! I am glad to hear that people are enjoying my reviews.

  8. Shaukisbookcase,
    It took me a minute to figure out what you were asking me, but you are talking about on my bookcase! Duh! It is "Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris" by R. L. LaFevers. The series is kind of like mixing "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" and "The Mysterious Benedict Society" with a bunch of Egyptian mythology. I would definitely recommend it! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, life kind of got away from me this week.