Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Originally published in 2006, The Looking Glass Wars details what really happened in Wonderland, purporting that Lewis Carroll's version of events was as false as Carroll's name. (His real name was Charles Dodgson.)

The book opens on the seventh birthday of Alyss Heart, daughter of the queen and king of Wonderland. After the murder of her parents, by her aunt Redd, Alyss escapes to Earth but is separated from the royal bodyguard, Hatter Madigan. Alyss is eventually adopted by the Liddell family and grows to adulthood, eventually becoming convinced that her life in Wonderland was all a dream, causing her to lose the power of her own imagination. Madigan spends thirteen years scouring the world for Alyss, and it is only when he comes across a copy of Alice in Wonderland on a bookshelf that he is able to track her down in order to return her to Wonderland so she can reclaim the throne.

Blending historical fact with literary homage, Beddor creates a fast-paced story in a world where imagination is everything, and the ability to believe can make the difference quite literally between life or death.

The Looking Glass Wars is the first book in a trilogy of the same name. However, what makes this particular world and story unique is that Beddor has expanded both the world and the story into a variety of realms. There is a Hatter M graphic novel series that details Hatter Madigan's adventures in our world while he searches for Alyss, and the website features games related to the books, art, and more, including a cd of music inspired by the books and a link to the Facebook page which features an exclusive web comic. Through these varied media, Beddor has taken storytelling to a new and interesting level.

From Dial Books (a division of Penguin Books) and available from your local, independent bookseller. (Shop local and shop makes a difference!)

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