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The Looking Glass Wars [Library Binding]

Frank Beddor
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 18 2008 The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–When her parents, the king and queen of Wonderland, are killed by her Aunt Redd, Alyss Heart escapes by jumping into the Pool of Tears. Her jump takes her to Victorian Oxford, where she emerges from a puddle, lives as a street urchin, and is eventually adopted by Reverend and Mrs. Liddell. Unable to make anyone believe her fantastic story, she finally confides in Charles Dodgson, who says he will write a book about her. When she discovers that Alice's Adventures Underground is full of make-believe, and not her story or her real name, she sadly resigns herself to life as a Victorian girl of privilege. Meanwhile, back in Wonderland, the Alyssians form a resistance movement and attempt to overthrow the despotic Redd. For years, Hatter Madigan searches the world for Alyss so she can return to Wonderland as Queen. In the end, the Alyssians prevail, but only after much graphic bloodshed and many brutal battles involving card soldiers who transform into warriors, chessmen, blades that whirl and slash, vicious Jabberwocks, and even carnivorous roses. The tale is clever and flows like an animated film where action is more important than character development. However, it bears little resemblance to Lewis Carroll's original story. Beddor has usurped the characters and setting and changed them for his own purposes, keeping only the story's frame and not much of that. Still, the fantasy will appeal to those readers who like battles and weapons and good vs. evil on and on and on.–Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, is forced to flee when her vicious aunt Redd murders her parents, the King and Queen of Hearts. She escapes through the Pool of Tears to Victorian London, but she finds she has no way home. Adopted by the Liddells, who christen her Alice Liddell and disapprove of her wild stories about Wonderland, Alyss begs Charles Dodgson to tell her real story. Even though he writes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, she knows no one believes her. Years go by, with Alice repressing her memories. Then royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan, determined to start a war for Wonderland's throne, crashes her wedding. Beddor offers some intriguing reimaginings of Dodgson's concepts (such as looking-glass travel) and characters (the cat is an assassin with nine lives), but his transformation of Wonderland's lunacy into a workable world sometimes leads to stilted exposition on history, geography, and government. Even so, his attention has, happily, put Wonderland back on the map again. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THAT's the real story? Oct. 15 2004
By A Customer
I admit to being a pretty big Alice fan, but I don't think it's a purist's heart that makes me dislike the book. I was completely up for a bloody, gorey, almost unrecognizable Wonderland. I was absolutely ready to admit that Beddor had some pretty interesting ideas, like the politics of the card-suit families and the horror of 'black imagination'. I was even okay with the total concentration on action sequences with little richness of character. And then the 'real life' Alice became engaged to 'real life' Prince Leopold, which I am pretty darn sure is far from historically accurate, and I lost all hope.
The genuinely imaginative premise was wasted with equally genuine bad writing. The plot thumps along, sprinkling bizarre killing machines wherever it can and sending Alice into twist-of-fate situations that ultimately lead no where (why the street orphans?). The naming scheme in the book is equally questionable and even distracting. Hatter Madigan, Redd Heart, Bibwit Harte (that's White Rabbit scrambled, folks): it had me guessing whether a Hera March or Dido Byrd was going to turn up.
My problem is not that Looking Glass Wars messed with a classic, it's just that it did it so badly.
Still, the book isn't a complete waste of time. It's clearly written from a Hollywood point of view, and very suggestive of strange visuals. It would doubtless make a great movie or video game. Although, come to think of it, that video game has already been made in the form of American McGee's Alice, which Looking Glass Wars seems to draw from.
The action is exciting and the characters, though under-developed, are theoretically interesting. Kids who like the Artemis Fowl books will probably like this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 25 2007
I have a confession to make. I have never particularly cared for Lewis Carroll's (aka the Reverend Charles Dodgson's) ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Although I've read that story, once, it has never even come close to being one of my favorites. With Frank Beddor's THE LOOKING GLASS WARS, however, I can easily say that I was drawn into the story from the first page--and have found a new book to add to my list of favorites.

THE LOOKING GLASS WARS begins in 1863, in Oxford England, with eleven-year-old Alyss Heart having told her story to the Rev. Charles Dodgson over a matter of months. After four years of living in this world, Alyss is sure her story is about to be told. Unfortunately, the "liberties" that college scholar Dodgson took with her telling of her life in Wonderland have been turned into a parody, a fictional tale that resembles nothing like the life she had previously led. The events that led to her living in England have become nothing but a foolish story, something to be read to privileged children by their pampered parents.

Alyss's story actually begins long before that day she is given a bound copy of ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Dodgson. While Alyss was celebrating her seventh birthday in Wonderland, plans were being put into action to overthrow the Queen, Genevieve, Alyss's mother. Genevieve's evil sister, Redd, has grown tired of being exiled from Wonderland--and her powers have grown strong. She stages a coup that begins with the death of the King, Genevieve's husband, Nolan. And it doesn't end until Genevieve is dead, as well, and Alyss is forced to escape through the Pool of Tears.

This is only the beginning of Alyss's toils, and the troubles and woes that come to all Wonderlanders who refuse to recognize the new queen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New look at Wonderland Nov. 19 2004
I didn't want this book to end! I was racing through the pages, and then realized I had to slow down and enjoy it while it lasted. The Looking Glass Wars really made me take a second look. What if Lewis Carroll didn't tell Alice about Wonderland? What if instead she told him? What if he messed up her story to suit his needs? I liked that Princess Alyss has an imagination, even if she uses it to make gwormmies appear in Bibwit Harte's food. Later it becomes a more serious issue when she grows up, and I really liked the message that imagination is an important part of Wonderland, and in our own lives. I can't wait for the story to continue, and to find out what happens with Dodge Anders. I thought Hatter Madigan as a hat-wielding bodyguard was so cool, and so was the Cheshire Cat assassin - I liked him even better when he had to go tell evil Queen Redd that he failed. This is a great read, and would recommend it to anyone looking for one. It's well worth it!
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