Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A new look through the rabbit hole

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor             
I should preface this review by saying I love retellings of fairy tales and classic stories. Sharing this thought with my coworker Amy, she recommended I read this book. Thanks, Amy!

Alyss is the princess of Wonderland. (And no, I did not spell that wrong.) She lived a simple life filled with the magic of white imagination, hers being one of the strongest in Wonderland. Alyss and her best friend Dodge, a guard in training, roamed the castle, played together, and dreamed of their futures.
On her seventh birthday a great celebration takes place, which quickly turns to catastrophe when her evil aunt storms in on her dinner shouting “Off with their heads!” Aunt Redd is a proponent of black imagination, using it for evil in order to destroy the kingdom and become queen herself. In order to save the princess, and hopefully one day the future of Wonderland, Alyss is sent to another world with her mother’s guard, Hatter, leaving behind everyone she has ever known. Unfortunately, they are separated and Alyss must try to survive in a world where no one believes in the power of imagination, that she is a princess, or her stories about Wonderland. Meanwhile, those left behind in Wonderland struggle to fight against Redd, believing Alyss to be dead.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the depth that each character possessed, and all the favorites are here. Beddor reimagines the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, and others into new characters with their own stories, and new motives. Alyss’ story takes on a new world, merging with real history, and covering a great deal of issues as the book progresses. One impressive point is that the story of Lewis Carroll penning his book about Alyss’ history is also dealt with (He spelled her name wrong).
The book covers a variety of viewpoints over the course of the story, with frequent turns between Alyss, Redd, and Dodge, among others. Doing this helped round out the characters and story, helping the reader understand everyone’s viewpoints and opinions. Beddor created a fast-paced tale which continually impressed me with the layers he created from such a simple story.
I must add that I chose to listen to it on audio, while driving to and from work, and I simply loved the narrator on the CDs; he changed voices without being ridiculous, and used different accents, even languages.

I highly recommend this book, in print or audio, and can’t wait to dive through the rabbit hole into the sequel, Seeing Redd.  

~Cailey W

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