Saturday, 9 February 2013

Review: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Author: Frank Beddor. Website|Twitter
Published: 2 May 2005 (Egmont)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Amazon: Paperback|Audiobook
Waterstone's: Paperback|Audiobook
Book Depository: Paperback|Audiobook

Source: Borrowed from friend

Plot Summary (from blurb):
You think you know the true story of Alice in Wonderland? Well think again. Alyss is destined to become Queen of Wonderland... Until her parents are murdered. She flees to safety in our world. Years pass. Now it is time to return.

My Review:
I hadn't heard of this book until a friend recommended it to me after seeing I'd read Alice in Wonderland. I was so excited to get stuck into a modern day twist on a story I'd so recently read. The Looking Glass Wars tells the story of Alyss Heart, Princess of Wonderland. Her evil Aunt Redd wants to steal her crown and take over leaving Alyss in danger.

In the prologue, we're introduced to Alyss and Charles Dodgson who has written the book Alice in Wonderland. Cue outrage from the real Alyss at this feeble attempt at portraying her story and her life. The book then launches in to the real Alyss' story and it's like a completely blown up version of the Wonderland we've come to know and love.

Straight away I was drawn in by Alyss and how she has the power to make things she imagines become real. Suddenly imagination is key to the story and is a force that can be used by both good and bad people. I thought it was fantastic how Beddor has made human inventions originate from the imagination of the people of Wonderland. It made the start to the book incredibly magical and I just knew I was going to love it!

Those familiar characters from Alice in Wonderland are given a brand new twist in this book. We have Bibwit Hart - Alyss' tutor - whose name is an anagram of White Rabbit and Hatter who's the head of the Queen's defense. Aunt Redd becomes the evil queen who has a penchant for crying "off with their head" and there the card soldiers that become in important when war breaks out. It's just such a great way of taking those well-known parts of the original story and making them into something bigger and better and I adored it!

The book is written in third person from multiple perspectives which was a great way to keep an eye on everything happening in the story as the locations move around. The chapters were nice and short which really helped with the pacing. Sometimes the book flashed forwards a bit, referencing things that were yet to come but I actually quite liked it. It gave the third person narrator a sort of unique voice themselves. I found some parts a little confusing and had to read over them just to keep up with what was happening, especially where more fantastical elements of the story were playing a key role, but overall I liked the style.

One of my favourite things about The Looking Glass Wars was how the book crossed over into Victorian London. Not only did it take Alyss out of her comfort zone but I loved the crossover with real life events and the contrast between that and Wonderland.

If you like books with kings and queens and wars then this will appeal. There's plenty of action and scheming, suspicious characters and violent assassins. I was really rooting for the good guys trying to keep Alyss safe - Dodge and Hatter were two of my favourite characters. Alyss herself really develops a lot throughout the story too.

I'm really excited to read the sequel because the ending hinted at much more to come! I'd recommend it to anyone who's familiar with both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and likes magic, fantasy and action adventure.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor, book 2 in the Looking Glass Wars trilogy.
Books like this: Splintered by A. G. Howard

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