The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars is not a re-telling, more it uses Alice in Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass as a loose base for the main characters and the setting. As a standalone fantasy, this novel does seem to work. The set up and introduction of Wonderland and characters is very clear. (You don't need to have read Carrol's stories). The story has taken on its own life driven by the goals of the characters and it's very easy to become lost in the world of Wonderland.


The story begins with Alice Liddell telling Rev. Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carrol) about her true identity as Princess Alyss Heart Of Wonderland. However, he has record her tale completely differently. The actual story then unfolds. Alyss is celebrating her birthday, which gets interrupted by an attack from her Aunt Redd. Alyss escapes, but falls into a portal and arrives in 1800's England. From there she tries to get back to Wonderland, but as time passes she starts to believe it’s all up. When she does make it back to Wonderland with the help of her friends, it's no longer the place she remembers. Under her evil Aunt everything has changed and Alyss must fight to claim back her Queendom.


At the heart of the novel is the traditional good vs evil theme. The good side is White Imagination and the evil side is Black Imagination. Sub plots and other themes help to make this novel stand out. One of the sub-plots is having a self-believe in the power of your imagination. This is the key to Alyss succeeding her goals in the novel and she is often questioning this power.


I really enjoyed the story because it was a mix of reality and fantasy. Like Alyss, I was left question what was real and what wasn't. The narrative has a good pace and I really liked the fighting scenes, which do appear often and are well written. There is also enough detailed description for elements to be pictured easily, but it still allows use of your imagination. I also found some lines very quotable and they stuck in my head, such as this one;


'It's unconscious. To will something into being, the willing of it must be so deep down that no self-doubt is possible. The imaginative power itself must be given, a thing already proven that cannot be disbelieved.'1   


The characters are very different, if not completely, from Carrol's story. The Mad Hatter has always been my favourite character and the tea party scene is my favourite part of the book. Beddor has given the Mad Hatter and the March Hare very important roles as the Hatter is in charge of royal security as it were and the Hare is Alyss' tutor.


Overall, I really enjoyed The Looking Glass Wars as it wasn't what I expected. It felt like a refreshing read, even though in some ways it was re-telling the good vs evil story. The plot of the story is really good and it does allow readers to question the power of their imaginations. The characters are well written and I enjoyed their development. I'm so looking forward to reading the next two.    




Quote from:


1. Beddor Frank, The Looking Glass Wars (London, Egmont Books, 2005) pg. 274

by Hayley Hardman 

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