54. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. 358 p. Published September 2006.
I first heard about The Looking Glass Wars when I stumbled across a spin-off comic book series, Hatter M.
This is the true tale of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is, in fact, Alyss Heart, princess of Wonderland. Able to twist reality through the use of Imagination, the royalty of Wonderland serve to permeate ingenuity and inventiveness throughout the galaxy. On Alyss’s birthday, while all the people are celebrating and Alyss is with her dearest friend Dodge, her aunt Redd stages a surprise attack on the palace. With both her parents murdered, Alyss is swept up by her mother’s top-hatted bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, and taken through the Pool of Tears to Earth.
Presuming that Alyss is dead, Redd Heart sets to rule Wonderland with wicked abandon, her twisted decrees torturing the citizens and darkening the land’s splendor. A small force of freedom fighters work against Redd, but their hopes dwindle with each passing year.
Meanwhile, Alyss, seperated from Hatter Madigan, is left alone in London, stripped of her powers of imagination, and adopted by a loving family. The only problem is that Alyss refuses to release her memories of Wonderland and confides in Dodgson, a family friend. However, when he twists her stories and publishes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alyss’s sense of betrayal is overwhelming. Resigned to her fate, Alyss becomes Alice Lidell, and soon comes to disbelieve her own past. Alice grows to become a stunning beauty and soon is engaged to wed Prince Leopold, youngest son of Queen Victoria.
Hatter Madigan, having landed in Paris without Alyss, searches the world over for her. After 13 years, he finally finds a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandand storms Buckingham Palace in an attempt to reach Alyss. He is wounded by the palace guard and flees back to Wonderland, where he is discovered by a now-grown Dodge. Dodge delivers Madigan to the resistance and goes to Earth himself to retrieve Alyss. However he is followed by Redd’s agents, who have come to learn that Alyss yet lives. As the agents crash Alice’s wedding, Dodge rescues her and the two return to Wonderland. Yet now, with years of disbelieving her own past and lacking her control of Imagination, Alyss must confront a primed Redd and win back her queendom.
With The Looking Glass Wars, Beddor modernizes Carroll’s classic tale without losing any of it’s dark majesty. Integrating the tale behind the book (Carroll is a pen-name for Dodgson, who based the character on a real live Alice Lidell), Beddor creates an ingenious realm of fanciful imagination and populates it with an array of rememberable characters, each a not-so-subtle allusion to Carroll’s.
Despite being geared to a younger audience, The Looking Glass Wars possesses enough pace and plot to satisfy an adult. Frankly, I found many of the scenes required added effort on behalf of my imagination simply because I’ve matured – never an excersize I regret. I will admit, some of Beddor’s characters are a bit shallow, but adequate for the intended readership.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Other Reviews of The Looking Glass Wars: Fyrefly