Oh, Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!

Last night, I stayed up far later than was advisable so that I could finish Frank Beddors’ Looking Glass Wars. I simply could not stop. The final third of the book sunk its claws into me with the ferocity of the Cat. (Oh, don’t groan…I just couldn’t resist.) Beddors’ book was a fun, rollicking, and thrilling excursion through exciting realms, from the splendor of Heart Palace, to the grittiness of Victorian London, to the post-apocalyptic world of Redd’s rule. In short, a jolly good read.

WARNING: Mild Spoilers Ahead

Looking_glassGiven that the book is almost entirely action/adventure, I was pleasantly surprised to find the character development and situational responses had a ring of authenticity and originality. At no time did I feel that the characters were one-dimensional or too wooden (with the glaring exception of Redd, but more about her momentarily). I loved Alyss’ struggles (both internal and external) upon re-entering Wonderland. Her disorientation, her sense of belonging to neither of her worlds, her determination set against her realistic doubts, her concern for those in the “real world” (how sad that it wasn’t until she had left them behind forever that she finally realized she truly loved the Liddells). Some readers may feel that all of this was handled too quickly and facilely, but I think it could have happened no other way. With Redd, the Cat, and the Cut breathing down her neck, Alyss must deal with her turmoil quickly and instinctively or literally lose her head.

The only real disappointment for me in this book was Redd. She was too coarsely and single-mindedly EEEEEVVVIILLLL to really be scary. Someone that diabolical and brutal simply must be brought down in the end. For me, truly frightening villains are those that are subtle and a bit seductive. Someone who can wheedle and charm and gather otherwise reasonable people to their dark cause. The only weapon in Redd’s arsenal was brute strength, and when it turned out that Alyss was plainly more powerful than her, that was that. Hopefully, when we next meet Redd (obviously in the sequel Seeing Redd) she will have expanded her game a bit and pose a more interesting challenge for Queen Alyss.

I’ve never really had much of an interest in Lewis Carroll’s books (apart from the delightful poem “Jabberwocky” and the charming Disney film). Now, however, my curiosity is piqued, and I may just have to add them to my enormous To Be Read list. After Seeing Redd, of course.

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2 Responses

  1. My only experience with Lewis Carroll was the Disney Movie as well. But I picked up a copy of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass because someone was throwing it out (!) and I couldn’t put it down. I must have read it in one or two sittings, and it is so rare for me to do that. Lewis Carroll is one of my favorite authors now, and I even bought a collection of his complete works. (My favorite poem is one from Alice & Wonderland, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”). I highly recommend you put it at the top of your To Be Read List!

  2. “The time has come,” the Walrus said
    “To talk of many things:
    Of shoes and ships and ceiling wax
    Of cabbages and kings
    And why the sea is boiling hot
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention that one!

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