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Friday, April 18, 2008

Seeing Redd

Author: Frank Beddor
Reason for reading: YA Reading Challenge, Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge
Rating: 4/5

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.


Chris said...'ve convinced me to check out this series. I had heard so many bad things about it and just a few good things, but I've been hearing more and more good reviews from people who have very similar tastes to mine (you included) and this sounds really good! I love that cover too! It rocks.

Stephanie said...

Wow. I guess I just added another series to my list!! I don't tend to listen to any reviews, except blogger reviews. And this does sound good!

Melody said...

Another series to be added to my wishlist!!! Now just look at what we're doing to one another... our wishlists just keep growing! LOL.

Rhinoa said...

I think I got about half way through the first one before deciding I wanted to read this straight after! I can't wait for the third book to come out but it looks like it will be a while yet sadly. Must read the Hatter graphic novel I have to kill time before the next release.

Kim L said...

chris-I think the cover art is really cool in this book. I hope you do read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

stephanie-it is a good series, I hope you enjoy it!

melody-yes, yes another series to add to the list :-) It really is an addiction.

rhinoa-yeah, I think I'm going to read the Hatter graphic novels sometime. I'd love to see how they illustrate him.

Nymeth said...

That has to be one of the coolest covers I've ever seen. And the story sounds awesome as well. Rhinoa once said that this was to Wonderland what Wicked was to Oz, and that comment sold me right away. I'm really looking forward to reading this series.

Kim L said...

nymeth-so true, this is an awesome cover. I do hope you like the series as much as I did or Rhinoa did.

Debi said...'ve got me even more excited to start these!!! Why, oh why, can't someone figure out how to add a few more hours to each day?!!

Alice Teh said...

No no no... I can't resist it but I have to put it down in my WL.

Kim L said...

debi-heehee, I've often wondered that same question myself! I need more reading time.

alice-don't bother trying to resist!