The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Looking Glass WarsTitle:  The Looking Glass Wars

Author:  Frank Beddor

Hardback:  364 pages

ISBN:  0803731531

From the website:

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges the world’s Carrollian Wonderland assumptions of tea parties, dormice and a curious little blonde girl to reveal an epic, cross dimensional saga of love, murder, betrayal, revenge and the endless war for Imagination. Meet the heroic, passionate, monstrous, vengeful denizens of this parallel world as they battle each other with AD-52’s and orb generators, navigate the Crystal Continuum, bet on jabberwock fights and slip each other the poisonous pink mushroom. Finally, someone got it right. This ain’t no fairytale.

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, was forced to flee through the Pool of Tears after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd shattered her world. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s sojourn Alice in Wonderland. Alyss had trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere would find her and bring her home.

But Carroll had got it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! If not for the intrepid Hatter Madigan, a member of the Millinery (Wonderland’s security force) who after a 13 year search eventually tracked Alyss to London, she may have become just another society woman sipping tea in a too-tight bodice instead of returning to Wonderland to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

I found the concept of The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddorto be utterly fascinating.  What if Alice Liddel as the Reverend Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) had been telling the truth:  She was the rightful heir to the Wonderland throne, exiled to England while her black imagination-practicing aunt Redd ruled by ursurption.  What if, in telling Dodgson, she had been hoping the book he’d write would prove her credible, but instead he’d took her for only being highly imaginative and had twisted her tale until it barely resembled the truth.

Unfortunately, either because I’m just not enough of a Wonderland fan, or I wasn’t in the right mood for the book, I found I couldn’t get into it.  I can’t say what I found “wrong” with it, can’t say what I’d wish more for or less of.  The writing is more than worthy, the concept imaginative, and it has sparked a bit of hatred from die-hard Carrollians, but it just didn’t grab me.  It has everything I like, fantasy, adventure, maybe it could’ve used more humor.  It is a mystery why it missed the target with me.

I would recommend it to anyone who likes both the Alice books and darker stories.  There are also sequels to this book, as well as one of Hatter Madigan’s tale.  I’m satisfied that my adventures in the Looking Glass Wars is ended, personally, but I will probably watch the movie when it comes out, which doesn’t seem to be planned at the moment, but I’m sure there will be one someday. 

I give The Looking Glass Wars  by Frank Beddor 3 out of 5 stars.  It just didn’t do anything for me, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it.

Here’s a trailer for the book:

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