“The Looking Glass Wars” – An Alternate of Alice in Wonderland

Book Review : The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Spoiler Alert!

Princess Alyss Heart is 7 years old and enjoying her birthday party, even though her father, King Nolan, hasn’t arrived.

Wonderland is thrown into a crisis when Redd arrives at the palace intent upon murdering her sister Queen Genevieve, and taking her place as Queen. Alyss escapes through the looking glass with Hatter Madigan as her protector. In desperation they jump into the Pool of Tears not knowing how they will get back to Wonderland, but the Princesses’ life must be spared if they are to ever conquer Redd. Unfortunately Alyss and Hatter are separated as they travel through the pool leaving the Princess to fend for herself on the streets of London.

The reign of Queen Redd encourages evil and practitioners of Black Imagination across the realm plunging the land into disarray. However, those loyal to Alyss won’t give up that easily.

Adult Point of View

Frank Beddor has developed an interesting premise in The Looking Glass Wars, in which Alice(Alyss) is actually the lost princess of Wonderland, and a bumbling author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, misconstrues the entire tale into fiction.

Beddor is quite clever reassigning characters with new roles and purpose for this novel, such as, The Cat is an assassin and Hatter Madigan, a member of the Millinery, is an elite guard in the queen’s service. Armies of cards are stacked and cut, looking glass travel is possible and the other suits are the royal families of the kingdom, with Jack of Diamonds having a card or two up his sleeve .

I had a hard time reconciling the cute names, like Wonderopolis, the Heart Crystal and Outerwilderbestia with the violence. Redd decapitates her sister, stabs her brother-in-law and oppresses the entire society, including sending families to prison. I didn’t understand why the battles used so much violence and weapons when surely the queens could have used their minds as weapons. It didn’t feel like the battles followed the premises of White and Black Imagination. I also thought it was a little weird that a 10 year old boy was so in love with a 7 year old girl that he would pine away for her when she disappeared. Finally, the character development was sacrificed for the clever scenery and the battle scenes, which were overwhelmingly frequent.

All in all I felt like this book was forgettable.  I wanted to like it, but I just didn’t feel satisfied. It is listed as a reading grade level of 7.5 and I wouldn’t want to see kids reading it much younger than 5th or 6th grade.

2.5 out of 5 stars (I still gave it over 2 stars because it was clever and original.)

– the Mother

The Teen didn’t bother to read this one.

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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2 Responses to “The Looking Glass Wars” – An Alternate of Alice in Wonderland

  1. Brittany says:

    Bummer – I actually really enjoyed the creativity of this one. I wouldn’t say it’s for the younger audience though, I will give you that. I almost felt like it was a little more adult than YA. There was a lot of violence and fighting as the main focus of action in the book.

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