Title: The Looking Glass Wars
Author: Frank Beddor
This is a book that is based on Lewis Carroll’s classics ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’; these I read last year and absolutely loved. ‘The Looking Glass Wars’ tells the story of Alyss, heir to the throne of Wonderland, who flees to our world when her parents are murdered but must return to save her lands seventeen years later.
I would say that although it definitely involves aspects of the classic stories, the world that Beddor creates is much more original and in-depth than I expected it to be. Being a huge fan of the original books, as well as the Disney film version and also the Time Burton film, I have to say that I was a bit skeptical at first about someone daring to tackle such a reknowned and loved classic tale, but having read this adaptation, I would say that this book would be great for Alice fans and non-fans alike.
Honestly, this book reads a lot like a film. The way things are described to such great lengths and the extent to which the action plays out really makes it come to life. Despite really enjoying this book, I have to admit that there were some points that I found irritating. The ending, although it fit the book well, was slightly annoying (for reasons I won’t give…..spoilers!) but I think that this may be because Beddor has tried to keep it a bit open-ended so that it could flow into the next instalment in the trilogy. Also, I found some of the side characters to be a bit flat, but despite this, others were extremely well developed and through the descriptions and actions, they were brought to life on the page. I particularly like Hatter Madigan who was one of the most interesting takes on the original characters that I read in this book.
I think that Frank Beddor really brought Alice in Wonderland into the 21st century in this novel, adding more machinary elements and more of a subdued, yet still surreal, take on the world of Wonderland. Although you can’t get away from the fact that this was obviously based on Carroll’s works, I urge readers to not read this as a retelling, but as a book in its own right, as I believe that it is, in a lot of ways, entirely different. Having said that, I really enjoyed reading this and noticing little details that had been expanded on from the original stories.
I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars but would definitely recommend this to everyone, from teenages to adults, whether you like the original Lewis Carroll books or not. I found it intelligently written and witty, whilst being action-packed and, at some points, extremely heart-felt. A must-read!