The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)
  • The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)
  • The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)
  • The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)
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The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars #1)

4.4 523
by Frank Beddor
     
 

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You know the myth...

A little girl named Alice tumbled down a rabbit hole and proceeded to have a charming adventure in the delightful, made-up world of Wonderland...

Now discover the truth... Wonderland Exists!

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, was forced to flee through the Pool of Tears after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd.

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Overview

You know the myth...

A little girl named Alice tumbled down a rabbit hole and proceeded to have a charming adventure in the delightful, made-up world of Wonderland...

Now discover the truth... Wonderland Exists!

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, was forced to flee through the Pool of Tears after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alyss had trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere would find her and bring her home. But Carroll had gotten it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! If not for royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan's nonstop search to locate the lost princess, Alyss may have become just another society woman sipping tea in a too-tight corset instead of returning to Wonderland to fight Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

Meet the heroic, passionate, monstrous, vengeful denizens of this parallel world as they battle each other with AD-52's and orb generators, navigate the Crystal Continuum, bet on jabberwock fights and travel across the Chessboard Desert.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beddor offers some intriguing reimaginings...His attention, happily, put Wonderland back on the map again."—Booklist

"The tale is clever and flows like an animated film,"—School Library Journal

"[Narrator] Doyle juggles an eclectic and other-worldly ensemble, never letting anything hit the ground."—Publisher's Weekly

 

Alyss Heart can't stand that "master of fantasy" bunk; she knows that Lewis Carroll was nothing more than an incompetent reporter. After she generously shared her Wonderland experiences with this fledgling author, he totally botched the retelling, even mangling her name. Alyss, however, refuses to merely grouse; she and royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan decide to make another emergency excursion down the rabbit hole, opening our eyes to parallel realms that prim Rev. Dodgson never imagined. A refreshing take on a Victorian classic.
Publishers Weekly
Narrator Doyle brings to life this fanciful re-imagining of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The premise has young Alyss Hart, heiress to the Wonderland throne, chased from the "queendom" in a bloody coup mounted by her despotic Aunt Redd. Alyss escapes through a magical pool to Victorian London. There, no one will listen to her story except for Charles Dodgson (aka Carroll) who publishes his own take. A theater-trained actor, Doyle artfully animates a large and diverse cast of fantasy and real-life characters. He's especially menacing as the murderous Aunt Redd, each high-pitched syllable dripping with malice. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Doyle quietly captures the resignation in Alyss's tender voice as she grows older in exile. For the duty-driven royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan, he colors his delivery with a determined stoicism as he seeks his missing charge. Doyle also navigates the social echelons of 19th-century England-from street urchins to palace guards to princes. In some exchanges, the vocal residue of one character bleeds into the voice of another. But that is a minor quibble. Doyle juggles an eclectic and other-worldly ensemble, never letting anything hit the ground. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Amy Sisson
Alyss Heart, seven-year-old heir to Wonderland, flees from her traitorous Aunt Redd through the Pool of Tears and ends up in London. After weeks begging and stealing with a band of street urchins, Alyss is sent to an orphanage and subsequently adopted by the Liddells. The Reverend Dodgson alone appears to believe her story, but Alyss is devastated when his famous book changes the details, including her name. She vows to put Wonderland behind her, but years later, when she is about to marry Prince Leopold, her Wonderland heritage returns dramatically. The clever premise, the superior production values, and the publisher's ambitious marketing plans will no doubt ensure success at least on par with that of other recent juvenile fantasies. This book is enjoyable, but it could have been more. Admittedly the stated target audience is ten and up, but some details, such as jollyjellies and tarty tarts, are just too cute. Redd is so one-dimensional that her own propaganda says she thrives on deceit and violence, and Alyss's test in the Looking Glass Maze seems particularly derivative, not of Carroll's original but of Star Wars, of all things. The only significant emotional note is brief poignancy as Alyss deliberately suppresses her memories. Consequently this book does not compare favorably, for instance, to Herbie Brennan's The Faerie Wars Chronicles, which also deal with deposed child rulers and portals between worlds but with greater sophistication and meaning.
KLIATT
Beddor's take on Alice in Wonderland debuts in the US two years after both horrifying and delighting readers in the United Kingdom. According to Beddor's premise, Alice Liddell was really Alyss, Princess of Wonderland, deposed by her wicked Aunt Redd. She escapes the coup that took the lives of her parents through the Pool of Tears, which deposits her in Victorian London. She is adopted by the Liddell family, meets Charles Dodgson and tells him her story, but he gets it all wrong when he writes it down in a book. Alyss despairs of anyone believing her and decides to put her memories behind her, but just as she is about to marry, she is drawn back to Wonderland and into the struggle to establish her as the rightful queen. This book is definitely not for Lewis Carroll purists. It is plot-driven and packed with vividly described action, especially in the battles between Redd's forces and the Alyssians. There are plenty of battles, violent ones, although violence is never glorified, particularly violence committed for its own sake. I did wince at the labeling of "good" imagination as White Imagination and "bad" imagination as Black Imagination. The characters are less developed, and attempts to add dimensional traits never fully hit the mark. The traits are not well integrated into the characters and are not always convincing. Also, an author's note detailing what was true about the real Alice and Lewis Carroll would have been nice. Still, the book is readable and appealing, and it is a good choice for reluctant readers. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Penguin, Dial, 358p. illus., $17.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Donna Scanlon
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Frank Beddor's clever novel (Dial, 2006) puts Lewis Carroll's heroine—along with her loony, puzzle-riddled world—into a new and wholly satisfying frame. In this version, most of Alyss Heart's family and friends are ruthlessly killed by her evil Aunt Redd. Alyss escapes through the Pool of Tears, which is actually a portal between worlds, and winds up in Victorian England and is renamed Alice. At first, the child tries to tell ordinary humans about her world and the power imagination actually effects in Wonderlandia, but they gently chide her for telling stories. She believes that she's found a sympathetic ear in a young Oxford don who is a friend of her adopted family, but he turns her story into the travesty we all know as "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Meanwhile, Hatter Madigan, a member of Wonderlandia's Millinery, who also escaped through the Pool, searches for Alyss across continents and time, until he finds her more than a dozen years later. Back home in Wonderlandia, the few who have escaped evil Redd's soldiers plot to retake the land. Gerard Doyle reads with asperity and speaks the copious puns without any added slyness. Fans of Carroll's stories will flock to this and those who have managed to miss that less violent classic can get to it while waiting for the next volume in this exciting and humorous trilogy.
—Francisca GoldsmithCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alice in Wonderland gets an update in this first installment of a planned trilogy. Princess Alyss, driven out of her Wonderland kingdom by her evil aunt, Redd, suffers years of exile in Victorian England before her dedicated bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, finds her. Dragged back to the home she feared she had only imagined, it is now up to Alyss to rally her troops, drive out the usurper and claim her throne. Can she survive assassination attempts by the vicious Cat with nine lives, a spy amongst her faithful followers, a trek across the Chessboard Desert to Redd's fortress at Mount Isolation and a duel of White vs. Black Imagination? Penned by the producer of There's Something About Mary, it's clear that this version will make the transition to the big screen, as the book reads more like a screenplay than a novel. The action moves swiftly from one complex scene to the next; there is minimal character development and opportunities for rich detail are tossed away all too often in favor of simply moving the story forward. One can only hope it translates well to the screen. (Fantasy. 12-15)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803731530
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/26/2006
Series:
Looking Glass Wars Series, #1
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

THE QUEENDOM had been enjoying a tentative peace ever since the time, twelve years earlier, when unbridled bloodshed spattered the doorstep of every Wonderlander. The civil war hadn't been the longest in all of recorded history, but no doubt it was one of the bloodiest. Those who had entered a little too quickly into the carnage and destruction had trouble adapting to life during peacetime. When hostilities ceased, they ran amok on the streets of Wonderland's capital city, looting and pillaging Wondertropolis until Queen Genevieve had them rounded up and shipped off to the Crystal Mines—a spiderweb-like network of tunnels carved in a far-off mountainside, where those unwilling to abide by the laws of decent society lived in windowless dormitories and labored to excavate crystal from the unforgiving mountain. Even after these people were taken off the streets, the peace that settled on Wonderland was nothing like that which had existed before the war. A third of Wondertropolis' quartz-like buildings had to be rebuilt. The smooth turquoise amphitheater had suffered damage in an air raid, as had the public works towers and spires sporting fiery, reflective pyrite skin. But the scars of war are not always visible. Although Queen Genevieve ruled her queendom judiciously, with care for the well-being of her people, the monarchy had forever been weakened. The coalition of Diamond, Club, and Spade dynasties that made up Parliament were falling apart. The matriarchs of the families were jealous of Genevieve's power. Each thought she could rule Wonderland better then the queen. Each watched and waited for an opportunity to wrest control from her, keeping a none-too-friendly eye on the other families in case they happened to make a move first.

Entertaining no thoughts of war, Princess Alyss Heart stood on the balcony of Heart Palace with her mother, Queen Genevieve. The city was in the midst of a jubilant gala. From the Everlasting Forest to the Valley of Mushrooms, Wonderlanders had come to celebrate the seventh birthday of their future queen, who, as it happened, was bored out of her wits. Alyss knew she could do a lot worse than be Queen of Wonderland, but even a future monarch doesn't always want to do what she is supposed to do—like site through hours of pageantry. She would rather have hidden with her friend Dodge in one of the palace towers, dropping jollyjellies from an open window and watching them splat on the guards below. Dodge wouldn't like the jollyjelly bit—guardsmen deserved better treatment, he'd say—but that would only make it more fun.

Where was Dodge anyway? She hadn't seen him all morning, and it wasn't nice to avoid the birthday girl on her birthday. She searched for him among the Wonderlanders gathered to watch the Inventors' Parade on the cobbled lane below. No sign of him. He was probably off doing something fun; whatever it was had to be more fun than being stuck here, forced to watch Wonderlanders show off their silly contraptions. Bibwit Harte, the royal tutor, had explained to her that most of Wonderland took pride in the Inventors' Parade, the one time every year when citizens flaunted their skills and ingenuity before the queen. If Genevieve saw something in the parade that she thought particularly good, she would send it into the Heart Crystal—a thirty-three-foot-tall, fifty-two-foot-wide shimmering crystal on the palace grounds, the power source for all creation. Whatever passed into the crystal went out into the universe to inspire imaginations in other worlds. If a Wonderlander bounced in front of Queen Genevieve on a spring-operated stick with handlebars and footrests and she passed this curious invention into the crystal, before long, in one civilization or another, a pogo stick would be invented.

Still, Alyss wondered, what was the big deal? Having to stand here until her feet hurt—it was punishment.

"I wish Father was here."

"He's due back form Boarderland at any moment," said Queen Genevieve. "But since the rest of Wonderland is here, I suggest you try to enjoy yourself for their sake. That's interesting, don't you think?"

They watched as a man floated down from the sky with what looked like a hollow mushroom cap strapped to his back.

"It's pretty good, I suppose," said Alyss, " but it'd be better if it were furry."

And with that, the mushroom contraption was suddenly covered with fur, its inventor falling to the ground with a thump.

Queen Genevieve frowned.

"He's late," Alyss said. "He promised he'd be here. I don't understand why he had to make a trip so close to my birthday."

There were reasons, as the queen well knew. Intelligence had indicated that they may have already waited too long. Unconfirmed reports suggested Redd was growing more powerful, outfitting her troops for an attack, and Genevieve was no longer sure that her military could provide adequate defense. She was as keen as Alyss for King Nolan's return, but she had determined to enjoy the day's festivities.

"Ooh, look at that," she said, pointing at a woman wiggling as she walked so as to keep a large hoop swinging round and round her waist." That looks diverting."

"It'd be more fun if it had fountains of water coming out of it," Alyss said, and immediately the hoop was spurting water from tiny holes all along its surface, the surprised inventor still wiggling to keep it swinging round and round.

"Birthday or not, Alyss," Queen Genevieve said, "I don't think it's nice to show off."

The fur on the first-ever parachute vanished. The fountains of water on the newly invented hula hoop dried up. The power of Alyss' imagination had made them appear and disappear. Imagination was an important part of life in Wonderland, and Alyss had the most powerful imagination ever seen in a seven year-old Wonderlander. But as with any formidable talent, Alyss' imagination could be used for good or ill, and the queen saw mild reasons for concern. Hardly one revolution of the Thurmite moon had passed since Alyss' last incident: Impatient with young Jack of Diamonds for some childish indiscretion, she's imagined his trousers filled with slick, squiggling gwormmies. Jack of Diamonds had said he "felt something funny," looked down, and saw that his trousers were moving, alive. He'd been having nightmares ever since. Alyss claimed not to have done it on purpose, which may or may not have been true, Genevieve couldn't tell. Alyss didn't yet have full control of her imaginative powers, but the girl would say anything to get out of trouble.

"You will be the strongest queen yet," she told her daughter. "Your imagination will be the crowning achievement of the land. But Alyss, you must work hard to develop it according to the guiding principles of the Heart dynasty—love, justice, and duty to the people. An undisciplined imagination is worse than no imagination at all. It can do more harm. Remember what happened to your aunt Redd."

"I know," Alyss said sulkily. She had never met her aunt Redd, but she'd heard storied about the woman for as long as she could remember. She didn't bother trying to understand it all; it was history—boring boring boring. But she knew that to be like her aunt Redd wasn't good.

"Now that's enough lecturing for one princess' birthday," Queen Genevieve said. She clapped her hands and the parachute and hula hoop passed into the Heart Crystal, much to the joy of their inventors.

An empty pair of King Nolan's boots floated out from behind the balcony door and began to dance in front of the brooding princess.

Queen Genevieve, watching yet another extraordinary display of her daughter's imagination, said, "Alyss."

Something in her tone made the girl stop what she was doing. The boots thudded to the ground, still.

"It's all in your head," the queen sighed. "Remember that, love. Whatever happens, it's all in your head."

It was both a warning and an expression of hope: Queen Genevieve, aware of the dark forces at work somewhere in the wastes of the Chessboard Desert, knew that joy and happiness didn't last forever in Wonderland; sooner or later the queendom would come under attack, and it would require all of Alyss' imaginative powers—and then some—to ensure its survival.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Beddor offers some intriguing reimaginings...His attention, happily, put Wonderland back on the map again. (Booklist)

Meet the Author

Frank Beddor is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Looking Glass Wars, the young-adult novel that first introduced young readers to the true story of Alyss. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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