And somehow only one review again this week. I went to see HTTYD3 this weekend, and watched the Oscars. Its been a bit much. Onwards to a rendition of my favorite book!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Synopsis From The Book
The Myth: Alice 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? 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.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alice in Wonderland (or rather Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There) is my favorite novel. I go back to it all the time and there are certain sections of it that I can quote. I’ve had pretty good luck with series about Alice in Wonderland. I’ve heard this series is good (also a trilogy?). We will see.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
A mad queen? Check? A interesting retelling? Check. A wonderland girl whisked away to the human world? Check. It was a fantastic tale. Less about the romance, more about the adventure. I can not wait to see what is in store after this point.
Alyss is the princess of Wonderland. The book begins when she is seven (well a preface of when she is a bit older but seven) and in her home. Her mother is queen, it is her birthday and they are waiting on her father. She explores with her dear friend Dodge, and all is well. When Alyss’ aunt Redd attacks, Alyss has to be taken away by Hatter through a magic portal landing them separated and in our world.
In this would Alyss is adopted by the Lindell’s who knock her imagination out of her. Alyss takes on the name Alice and leaves her old memories behind. She meets Lewis Carroll, Prince Leopold, and many others. She almost marries Prince Leopold, when she is taken from our world and back to her own.
While Alyss is surviving, Hatter has to survive in his own right. The remnants of those soldiers for Alyss’ mother, made a resistance group. Dodge is one of their best soldiers. We see many of their battles.
Alyss is brought back to Wonderland after a failed assassination by The Cat (Redd’s assassin). In Wonderland she has to travel to the Caterpillars to find the Looking Glass Maze, in order to completely get her powers under her control. She finds the maze, gets through it, and fights her Aunt. Her aunt ultimately ends up entering what is called the Crystal Heart. It is an object that amplifies Imagination (Magic in their world), owned by the Queen.
Alice creates a double for herself to go back to our world, and the book ends with her swearing to get Dodge’s affections back.
What I Liked:
Alyss; I liked how realistic she was for a princess stripped of all that she had because it was deemed nonsense. She was wholly one, and part of another. I also liked how her ultimate acceptance of herself was not too long or drawn out.
Dodge; I adore him and what he had to become. He needs love, affection, and hope after losing it all at the ripe young age of ten. Children don’t choose to become weapons, they are made to be them, and Dodge went from being a goofy child to a hard killer.
Take on Alice; I always like reading stories on how people take Alice’s character in Wonderland renditions. I’ve read her as a fairy. I’ve read her as a queen. I’ve read her true story, and I’ve read the original. In all tales Alice is so pivotal, but I still liked this take all the same. An Alice who is a queen, two worlds and not, is something I can get behind.
Take on Wonderland; I really like this take on Wonderland, though it is perhaps not my favorite. It had the whimsy but lacked a bit of the mayhem. The characters were chaotic, but there was just a bit lacking for me. I did like the politics, and the world building otherwise.
Plot; The plot was easy to follow, however what I liked best was the time line. We get the book starting at Alyss age 7 to Alyss age 20+. This is a massive timeline and we go over a lot. It allows for a lot to be seen and to be shown. I liked the attention to detail and the time line in the back.
Romance; Alyss x anyone was as developed as it could have been. Leopold was obvious, but Dodge is the one who calls her soul. He had since he was a child and I can not wait to see how their relationship develops over the course of the next two books.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Mayhem; I like my Alice books to have a bit of mayhem to them that isn’t chaos. I mean the grey area between good and bad. I felt that this book had much of the whimsy but was too black and white for the grey that I attribute to Alice stories.
My specific copy had images about center in the book. I would have liked these at the end or beginning but not between a sentence.
Time Taken To Read
“Wa-ait! Will I ever see you again?”
They stopped, apparently surprised by the question.
“Again and again and again.” said Nolan
“If you know where to look for us.” said Genevieve.