Friday, April 18, 2008
Author: Frank Beddor
Reason for reading: YA Reading Challenge, Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge
I got about halfway through the first book in this series, The Looking Glass Wars before I decided to check out this book, the sequel, right away. This book picks up where The Looking Glass Wars left off. To catch you up to speed, the Wonderland you know from Lewis Carroll's book is only a silly imitation of the real thing. Alyss Heart was a very young princess of Wonderland when her murderous aunt Redd killed her parents and took over Wonderland. Alyss escaped through the Pool of Tears and found herself stranded on earth and unable to get back. She befriended Lewis Carrol, but he royally screwed up her story, publishing a child's novel called Alice in Wonderland instead of telling the true story of Alyss' life. Alyss spends years on earth and almost forgets about Wonderland and her destiny there. By the end of Looking Glass Wars, she had come back Earth, regained her imaginative powers and taken her rightful place as queen. Everything is hunky-dory, right? Of course the peace that Alyss brings to Wonderland is a tenuous one, and it doesn't take long before Alyss is at war again. This time, however, it seems that Redd is behind the attacks. But Redd was defeated already, wasn't she?
Beddor has a third book planned for this series, and so this book has the feeling of a middle book. We are thrown into the where the previous book left off, but the ending doesn't quite wrap everything up yet. Despite that, I thought this was an even better book than the first one. By this point, Beddor's vision of Wonderland has taken on life of its own, so that while I was reading, I hardly even thought about the book that inspired it. And personally, I like Beddor's idea of Wonderland better than Carrol's original, since I've never been a huge Alice In Wonderland fan.
The main characters grow and develop throughout the book as they face an almost impossible situation. Two of the characters learn about families they never thought they had, and Alyss' relationship with her childhood friend grows little by little even in the midst of the chaos of the battle they are fighting throughout most of the book. I'm not going to lie, though, Redd is my favorite character. Her Imperious Viciousness, as she prefers to be called, is feisty, irritable, temperamental, egotistical, maniacal, completely evil, and most of all, bad-ass.
When her minions on Earth are trying to find a place to call headquarters, they suggest Buckingham Palace.
"Beneath me," Redd had scorned. "I won't acknowledge their 'queen' by taking over her hovel."
"There is another possibility," Vollrath had said. "It's an enormous structure, predominantly of iron and glass, the size of which suggests to many the strength of a mighty empire as well as boundless imagination. They say it houses the marvels of the age..." (Note: the perfect hideout)
"Enough!... I expect nothing great from Earth imagination, but to shut you up, I will suffer you to take me there."
Sometimes books suffer from not having a bad enough bad guy. But not this one. I would even go out on a limb and say that this one is worth reading just for Redd.