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The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars

by Frank Beddor

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Looking Glass Wars (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7191792,088 (3.74)1 / 242
  1. 121
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (joyfulgirl, Kerian, elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Beddor takes an alternative look at Alice's story. Fans of the original may appreciate the new telling and fans of Beddor's reworking will likely enjoy Carroll's classic.
  2. 21
    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (kaledrina)
  3. 43
    Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (joyfulgirl)
  4. 10
    Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (kaledrina)
  5. 00
    Heartless by Marissa Meyer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 11
    Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  7. 22
    Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: A slightly twisted version of Alice in Wonderland, perhaps even more off beat than the Tim Burton movie version.
  8. 02
    Automated Alice by Jeff Noon (madmarch)
    madmarch: Surreal and whimsical, this is a must for all Alice fans!

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Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
What an utter disappointment. The concept of a dark Wonderland is, of course, exhilarating, and the idea of fictional characters learning to grow up by association with the real world - particularly if they're children or teenagers - has a long and storied history in fiction.

Unfortunately, Frank Beddor is not really interested in these concepts, at least not from a literary perspective, and his writing style indicates a limited understanding of basic structural tenets of creative writing. As with most youth-oriented books that I read, I try to view it from the perspective of my cousins in that age group. This book, however, would barely satisfy them, written as it is in such a startlingly underplayed prose.

Beddor's main issues are threefold. First, his dialogue is woefully stilted, with all characters sounding like they walked out of the same Edwardian era children's book. Similar to my issues with the (overall more successful) [b:Taran Wanderer|24782|Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain, #4)|Lloyd Alexander|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316635412s/24782.jpg|2628] series, characters speak in the same manner regardless of whether they are holding court or running from a maniacal killer. It severely limits audience engagement with the text, completely cutting side-swiping any attempts at paciness or narrative energy.

Second, the text has a bizarre approach to which parts of the narrative are crucial. While there are some beautiful ideas here (for instance, the Mad Hatter's decade spent searching for his mistress, where he becomes a kind of mythical figure in the lives of 19th century Europeans), many of the key character moments are rushed through (notably, young Alyss' relationship with Lewis Carroll) while we spend a tiring amount of time with the oppressed people back in Wonderland. I don't like to review works by saying what they should have done (honest, I don't!), but "The Looking Glass Wars" smacks of a missed opportunity to tell a cohesive story instead of a set of images.

Because, ultimately, that is the issue here. My third issue with the book encompasses all the problems (and occasional solid moments) mentioned above. Beddor wants to write a comic book or a graphic novel. There's a great concept here for a truly gorgeous visual world, one unifying Victorian decor with gothic fantasy. The story beats are adequate, if not extraordinary, but they would have made far more sense in a visual format. Instead, this feels as if a comic writer is trying to become a novelist by literally transferring the skills of one medium into another - and that almost never works.

I'm going to have to read a few of the rave reviews of this series in an attempt to understand what people see in this - perhaps they, too, have an overactive imagination and are able to overlay this empty husk of a story with some perceived depth from their own mind. I don't have any problem with readers doing that; we all have! (It's how many academics make a living, after all.) But it's always a shame when a book with an intriguing concept leaves me with such a sour taste. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
I loved this twist on the Alice in Wonderland tale - all the whimsy of Wonderland is here, but with a darker edge and a real plot of interest. Alyss is the spoiled, pampered daughter of the queen of Wonderland, but she is lost in the "real world" when Wonderland is attacked by Alyss' wicked aunt who kills Alyss' parents and takes over Wonderland. Mr. Beddor deftly mixes the Alice of England with the Alyss of fiction to great success. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Oct 17, 2018 |
So much potential...missed. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
I enjoyed it quite a bit. I wish the Looking Glass Maze bit was longer. The author did not develop that section enough in my opinion. But overall, I enjoyed the retelling and the world building. Redd's character was under developed but maybe will learn more in the sequel. ( )
  BefuddledPanda | Dec 4, 2017 |
Since I have that niggling obsession with all things Wonderland, I knew that I'd end up reading this series sooner or later. There was some good groundwork here, and some good integration of ideas, concepts, and facts from/about the original/real Alice in Wonderland, but the characters just fell really, REALLY flat for me. Many of the new ideas generated that were NOT a part of the original Alice in Wonderland were just lame sounding, like the AD52 (Auto-Dealer 52), which is an automatic "gun" that shoots 52 razor-sharp cards per second. Come on. COME ON. Really? Ugh. *sigh*

Also, Alyss starts out at this bratty, spoiled little girl which, ok, she's 7, I can accept that. That leaves lots of room for growth. Through the book she ages so we finally follow her at about age 20 or 21. I felt that the development of her character could have (and really SHOULD HAVE) been better explained, rather than just being "Traumatic event! Flip a switch! Complete character change!"

I'll probably get the rest of the books in this series on CD so I can listen to them at work, because they definitely don't take a lot of brain power to follow. There were times where I picked the book back up, sighing and saying "I suppose I'd better finish this thing." That's really not the emotion a good book inspires, so I have to give this 3 of 5 stars. ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Beddorprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chiang, DougIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dikun, Teresa KietlinskiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fünfhausen, ChristianCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flora, BrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to my niece


for her sense of wonder
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Everyone thought she had made it up, and she had tolerated more taunting and teasing from other children, more lectures and punishments from grown-ups, than any eleven-year-old should have to bear.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142409413, Paperback)

The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss? parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. 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. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When her evil aunt Redd kills her parents and seizes the throne, young Alyss Heart is forced to flee Wonderland through the Pool of Tears. She finds herself living in Victorian Oxford as Alice Liddell and struggles to keep memories of her kingdom intact until she can return and claim her rightful throne.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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Average: (3.74)
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