The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss? parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (Amazon)
Reviewed by L. Danielle
So, I thought Tim Burton had made Alice in Wonderland stand on its head, but that was before I read THE LOOKING GLASS WARS.
Alyss heart the seven year old princess of Wonderland is a precocious young girl quite in the habit of using her magical gifts- her imagination- for her own amusement. Of course, no one would mind so much if she didn’t find it amusing to harass the palace staff and cause cakes to fall out of the sky. The queen fears that Alyss may not to take to the White Imagination used to fuel the queendom (Wonderland has always been ruled by a queen) and may tend towards Black Imagination- the very kind of Imagination that caused Redd Heart, the queen’s elder sister, to lose her rightful place as queen and instead find herself banished to the Chessboard Desert.
However, the queen finds herself with much bigger worries than her young daughter’s propensity towards childish tricks when Redd Heart makes an unexpected appearance at the little princess’s birthday party. The palace is thrown into chaos as war breaks out on all sides with the Wonderlanders woefully unprepared for the onslaught of violence. Hatter Madigan, the queen’s body guard and perhaps the coolest mind in the melee, is given just one job: protect the princess.
Running from the Cat, Redd’s nine-lived assassin, Hatter and Alyss find themselves in the Pool of Tears (which no one has ever come back from alive). The Pool acts as a portal between worlds and when Alyss finds her way out she is deposited on the unforgiving streets of London while Hatter finds himself in Paris.
Many events take place from there; Hatter attempts to find the princess by travelling the world one hat shop at a time, and Alyss is eventually taken off the streets and into the Liddell home where she is renamed Alice Liddell. The princess (and perhaps Wonderland’s only hope of salvation) though eventually coming to love her adopted family feels isolated because no one believes her stories of where she is from, and she’s lost her ability to Imagine.
The story follows Alyss as she befriends and is betrayed by the author Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), is forced to grow up in one world and rescue another, and convince her best friend that maybe going on a psychopathic rampage against his own mortal enemy isn’t necessarily in anybody’s best interest.
Overall, I loved this book. It had great characters and provided a fantastic new twist to one of the most classic works of literature to grace a bookshelf. It grabbed me from page one and I coasted easily through the entire trilogy. Also, there are some light steampunk elements that add just the right hint of geekiness to the novel.
Market: Young Adult
Language: None that I recall, but there may have been a small amount.
Violence: Um, yeah, there’s definitely that what with all the wars and assassins and everything, but it’s never gory.
Mature Themes: None