The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor

A couple weeks ago, when I had run out of audiobooks to listen to at work (and just one day before a bunch of audiobooks I’d put on hold came in, of course!), I made an emergency trip to the library with my husband to find something to fill my time. I had no idea of what I wanted, so I just told Scott to grab the first thing that looked interesting. It was this, and I must say that Scott chooses very well!

Well, maybe. I adored this book, but from what the internets have told me, this is the kind of book that you’re going to love or loathe, so be prepared!

What this is is a retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which I also liked quite a lot, largely because of Michael York. You know how it goes. Anyway, in Beddor’s version, Alice is not just the overactively imagination-ed daughter of a friend of Charles Dodgson, but also Alyss Heart, Princess of Wonderland. After her not very nice aunt, Redd, comes out of exile, has Alyss’s parents beheaded, and takes over Wonderland, Alyss is secretly shepherded out of Wonderland by Hatter Madigan, a Heart bodyguard and elite fighter. She ends up in late 19th-century London, where her story is mangled by Dodgson, and since no one believes her anyway she decides to forget all about having been a princess once. As these things go, of course, once she’s grown up and about to be married, her wedding is crashed and she ends up back in Wonderland, where she has to fight Redd and try to win back the kingdom.

Or, to be brief, what this is is Alice with more action sequences.

And I liked it a lot. I’m always a fan of this kind of “true story” of a popular story, and I think Beddor does it quite well. Some of the conceits are a bit of a stretch (Dodgson inventing the White Rabbit from an anagrammatical counterpart, Bibwit Hare? Alyss and a boy being in love-ish at the age of, like, seven?), but for the most part I was totally on board with Beddor’s world. I’ve seen some complaints about the writing, but I wasn’t distracted by any of it while I was listening to this at work, so it can’t be that terrible. If I ever get through all of the audiobooks that have subsequently arrived for me, I’m sure I will be dipping back into this series.

Recommendation: For readers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland who thought, “Not enough heads are coming off, here.”

Rating: 9/10
(A to Z Challenge)

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