First off, may I just ask why this isn't more of a thing!? This book was recommended to me on Amazon and I was automatically interested. Once I actually sat down and read the thing, I could barely put it down. I've always had a soft spot for re-imagined classics and fairy tales (and if you stick around here, you'll probably see a lot of them). But few have I seen that are so captivating, action-packed, and so darn creative as this.
Let's start off with a little summary, shall we? The Looking Glass Wars takes place in Wonderland, but it's nothing like what we imagine it. It's a diverse world filled with magic crystals, a wasteland covered with plains of black rock and harsh ice known as the Chessboard Desert, and a thriving city filled with Royal Card families, chessmen soldiers, and Imaginationists, who use their creative skills to inspire not only their own world, but ours as well. Now, in Wonderland, Imagination is pretty much magic. If you can think it up, it's there. But few are better practitioners of magic than young Alyss Heart, future Queen of Wonderland. Just as Alyss celebrates her seventh birthday, her evil aunt Redd arrives and takes over the queendom, murdering her parents. Alyss is forced to flee for her life with her loyal bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, to the only place where Redd can't get to her: our world. As Alyss and Hatter wander our ordinary realm, Redd wreaks havoc upon Wonderland and chaos rules until it's true Queen returns to her throne.
As I said before, this book has no shortage of creativity. Beddor takes classic characters and puts the most amazing twists on them. The Cheshire Cat is now a deadly assassin with nine lives, the Tweedle brothers are now a single General Doppleganger who can split himself in two, and steampunk style card soldiers with a deadly array of weapons. Easily my favorite re-imagined character, though, has to be that of Hatter Madigan. This character is so cool, so strong, and so friggin' BA that, if this were a movie, he'd be played by Jason Statham (Hollywood, I'm handing you this idea on a silver platter!).
The Looking Glass Wars manages to find a delicate balance of being complex without being difficult to read. The weapons and contraptions are intricate and well described and the battle sequences are fast-paced and easy to picture. The focus of the story does switch often from character to character, often starting with one person but leaving them of to switch over to someone else for a bit. While this does give a grander view of the world at large and all the aspects of the story coming together, it can get a little hard to follow, not to mention nail biting when a favorite character is left in a dire situation and you don't find out what happens to them for the next three chapters. The chapters are short though, so the book doesn't take too long to read overall.
The Looking Glass Wars is face-paced, wonder-filled adventure with amazing characters, a brilliant world, a heart-pounding plot, and has earned a well deserved place on the Shelf Of Recommendation! Buy it for yourself, give it a read, and witness the wonder for yourself!
Next Time: Assassins and Witches and Tyrants, Oh My!