This second book of “The Looking Glass Wars” deals with the early struggles of Alyss and her throne. Great tensions run in Wonderland as the lands recover from the dark days of Her Imperial Viciousness Redd. The young, new queen lives under the careful watch of many, especially the new royal bodyguard, Homburg Molly. Queen Alyss must face all the usual political intrigue and dangers as well as the unexpected return of the evil Redd and her chief assassin, The Cat. Welcome to the realm of public domain! Alice and many other classic characters are up for grabs. This is not always a bad thing, but what promises to be an edgy and modern re-imagining of Wonderland turns out to be a garbled case of bad fantasy fiction. This is a book that can definitely be skipped, for many, many reasons. First, the story suffers at the hands of a writer obsessed with the “visualization” of the action sequences in the novel. This is a good example of writing for the sake of making a movie. Second, the prolonged descriptions of weaponry bring the story to a screeching halt and do little or nothing to enrich the quality of the story. In other words, if you are looking for a strong piece of fantasy fiction, overlook this title. If you are interested in watching the birth of a well-thought out franchise, then this is for you. If you are simply curious or a hard-core fan of fantasy fiction, the looking glass awaits. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
VOYA - Amy Sisson
In this follow-up to The Looking Glass Wars (Dial, 2006/VOYA October 2006), Alyss Heart reigns over Wonderland after seizing the throne back from her traitorous Aunt Redd, who has escaped to Earth to regroup. Alyss struggles with her feelings for Dodge, her childhood friend who seems to believe himself too lowly for the Queen, while Hatter Madigan, the elite fighting Milliner, learns something astonishing about his past. Meanwhile seemingly random attacks in outlying areas of Wonderland signify that Redd might still pose a threat. As with the first book, this sequel is all style and little substance. The villains are a joke: Redd insists that her minions call her "Your Viciousness," and the King of the misogynistic Boarderland carves his dictates, such as "Boarderland men do not cry when watching sentimental crystal-vision programs with their wives," into his kingdom's cliff-faces. Even if this parody can be considered successful, other elements are difficult to take seriously, such as when Alyss interprets her personal bodyguard's prolonged absence as sulking instead of realizing that something is wrong. There is no hint of a resolution, making the book entirely incapable of standing on its own, but libraries should be prepared to stock it because its marketing and production values will likely yield a significant demand. As a side note, an Alyss Heart picture book for younger readers is slated for fall 2007 publication, thus expanding this flashy but thin series even further.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 After expelling her evil Aunt Redd from Wonderland's throne in The Looking Glass Wars (Dial, 2006; Scholastic Audiobooks, 2006), Frank Beddor's sequel (Dial, 2007) finds Queen Alyss dealing with the burden of ruling the kingdom and negotiating with King Arch from the neighboring country of Borderland. Arch quickly proves himself to be a dangerous enemy with elaborate plans to overthrow Alyss and her kingdom. Meanwhile, Redd is working her villainy to regain her power and wreak vengeance on her niece. There is plenty of violence, gore, and battle action here, and readers will find the pace breathtaking. Gerard Doyle skillfully captures the tempo of this fantasy and provides each character with a unique voice. His excellent presentation will create new fans and captivate current devotees.-Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library, UT
From the Publisher
"There is plenty of violence, gore, and battle action here, and readers will find the pace breathtaking."School Library Journal
"If you are interested in watching the birth of a well-thought out franchise, then this is for you. If you are simply curious or a hard-core fan of fantasy fiction, the looking glass awaits."Children's Literature