Alyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carroll, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!
Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.
The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination
Also, I have to say that this was a lot more interesting to read than the original Alice and, in some way this book could even be said to be nudging into the Steampunk genre. Without giving away any spoilers, I’m going to say if you are looking for the drug crazed explanation people like to put behind Carroll’s book, don’t read this book. If you’re looking for an enjoyably good read, and are prepared to have an open mind, settle in for the night.
The intent of this book is both intriguing and audacious, with a hint of healthy disrespect thrown in for good measure. The Author does away with clichéd characterisations in his writing, and makes all the players in this Trilogy exactly who they seem. There are no grey areas, good and bad, or hidden agendas that the reader has to get their minds round but even so, some of the characters in the novel may seem striking familiar giving a feeling in the back of the mind that they have been encountered somewhere before. This lack of development of characters, and even the lack of a devious plot twist, made this book a little hard to digest, and I kept thinking that it would pick up and have me beginning to actually care about Alyss as the pages turned. This was not to be, I found her to be spoilt and imperious; disrespectful and a downright bore at times.
Location descriptions were a little better for me, as it brought into the book an aspect that was lacking in its one-dimensional characters. I was made to think of ‘Whoville’ and ‘Oz’ (as it appears in the recent release of this take), and I could actually see the colours and places in my mind. This brought me to thinking that maybe a more suitable medium for this book would have been a graphic novel, were the artwork plays a more integral part in the story telling, and there isn’t as much expectation from the writing side of the house. Another reasoning behind my thinking this would fare better as a graphic novel is that it was the image on the dust jacket of the book, and the artistic representations of the suits in a deck of cards that first attracted me to the Trilogy; I was hoping the writing contained in its pages would do justice to the graphics unfortunately it was not to be.
When reworking a classic, I feel it must always be done with some measure of guile and finesse, neither of which I found to be in evidence here. All that the Author seems to have produced in this novel is a sloppily plotted mish-mash of ideas, which failed to convince me in any way. I will read the remainder of the Trilogy, however, to see if the writing style does improve and that this book was just a case of first work nerves coming through on the page.
I would recommend this to teens, as this is the demographic it appears to be aimed at, but also to anyone wanting a quick read that they don’t have to put too much thought into.