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The Looking Glass War Hardcover – September 26, 2006


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The Looking Glass War + Seeing Redd: Looking Glass Wars, Book Two (The Looking Glass Wars) + ArchEnemy: The Looking Glass Wars
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1010L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803731531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803731530
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–When her parents, the king and queen of Wonderland, are killed by her Aunt Redd, Alyss Heart escapes by jumping into the Pool of Tears. Her jump takes her to Victorian Oxford, where she emerges from a puddle, lives as a street urchin, and is eventually adopted by Reverend and Mrs. Liddell. Unable to make anyone believe her fantastic story, she finally confides in Charles Dodgson, who says he will write a book about her. When she discovers that Alice's Adventures Underground is full of make-believe, and not her story or her real name, she sadly resigns herself to life as a Victorian girl of privilege. Meanwhile, back in Wonderland, the Alyssians form a resistance movement and attempt to overthrow the despotic Redd. For years, Hatter Madigan searches the world for Alyss so she can return to Wonderland as Queen. In the end, the Alyssians prevail, but only after much graphic bloodshed and many brutal battles involving card soldiers who transform into warriors, chessmen, blades that whirl and slash, vicious Jabberwocks, and even carnivorous roses. The tale is clever and flows like an animated film where action is more important than character development. However, it bears little resemblance to Lewis Carroll's original story. Beddor has usurped the characters and setting and changed them for his own purposes, keeping only the story's frame and not much of that. Still, the fantasy will appeal to those readers who like battles and weapons and good vs. evil on and on and on.–Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, is forced to flee when her vicious aunt Redd murders her parents, the King and Queen of Hearts. She escapes through the Pool of Tears to Victorian London, but she finds she has no way home. Adopted by the Liddells, who christen her Alice Liddell and disapprove of her wild stories about Wonderland, Alyss begs Charles Dodgson to tell her real story. Even though he writes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, she knows no one believes her. Years go by, with Alice repressing her memories. Then royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan, determined to start a war for Wonderland's throne, crashes her wedding. Beddor offers some intriguing reimaginings of Dodgson's concepts (such as looking-glass travel) and characters (the cat is an assassin with nine lives), but his transformation of Wonderland's lunacy into a workable world sometimes leads to stilted exposition on history, geography, and government. Even so, his attention has, happily, put Wonderland back on the map again. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Literary sleuth and world creator Frank Beddor dared to expose the true story of Wonderland in his novels The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd, volumes one and two in the trilogy. Fascinated by the ancient, illuminated cards first sighted at the British Museum, Beddor has spent ten years collecting and interpreting the scattered and elusive Wonderland decks. With Imagination deadlocked at the start of book 3, two cards were key in solving the mystery, the Caterpillar Oracles and the enigmatic card that lay buried and waiting at the bottom of the deck, known only as Everqueen. Even with the trilogy completed, Beddor is still searching and finding cards he believes will reveal more of the lost history of Wonderland.

To further satisfy the awakened curiosity of his readers Beddor has created the parallel adventures of Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan in the Hatter M graphic novel series and the online RPG, the Card Soldier Wars available at cardsoldierwars.com.

Customer Reviews

Creative characters and story.
Mimi Fleming
So I very much recommend this series to anyone who is willing to sit down and read read read a great book!
jldouglas1
(I probably would have at some point) However, I definitely didn't like the book very much.
Piggy Connoisseur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Ryan on October 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't normally write book reviews and I have no intention of heading off in this direction too often, but "The Looking Glass Wars" inspired me enough to share my enthusiasm. Frank Beddor's book takes the premise of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" adventures and stands it on its head. Essentially, what Beddor does is re-imagine Carroll's fantasies as the true adventures of a young girl named Alyss (Carroll even got the name wrong, apparently!), a princess who lives in an alternate universe called Wonderland. As the book opens, she is the heir apparent about to celebrate her seventh birthday, but is forced to make an escape when her evil aunt murders her parents and lays claim to the throne. Fleeing through a `looking glass,' Alice is deposited in mid-18th century England, where she is soon relating her tales to an opportunistic English writer named Reverend Charles Dodgson (whose nom-de-plume -in reality -is Lewis Carroll).

While it is not necessary to know Carroll's work to enjoy "The Looking Glass Wars", it certainly would add to the reader's awareness of Beddor's humor. Throughout the book, he utilizes characters from Carroll's work in amusingly re-imagined forms; Here, the White Rabbit is a seven-foot tall albino tutor named Bibwit Harte (just unscramble the letters a bit and there you go). The Cheshire cat is actually a mercenary fighting for the evil Redd, who represents the wicked Queen of Hearts. The Mad Hatter is a loyalist named Hatter Madigan, who searches the Earth for Alice so he may return her to Wonderland and help her to regain the throne. The innately clever underpinning of Beddor's book is how he can gently poke fun at Carroll's work, by making his fantastical descriptions and flights of fancy as a basis for Alyss' reality.
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156 of 208 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I first heard about the premise of this book my initial reaction was one of shock. A book in which people can learn the "truth" about Alice's Wonderland? What a great idea! And my goodness what an obvious one as well. You may not know it, but there are tons and tons of books out there, both for children and for adults, that talk about the "real" land of Oz. Everything from "Wicked" (both book and musical) to "The Wiz" to who knows what all. So why has nobody ever done the same thing with "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland"? There was a Disney Channel television show that vaguely touched on it, a nasty video game that reinterpreted it, countless pop songs and independent plays that work off of it, but never a children's book that gave us an alternate look into that world. Until now, that is. With glee I plucked Frank Beddor's book out of the hands of my colleagues and got down to reading it. Frank Beddor, a sometimes actor, sometimes stuntman, sometimes freestyle skier (this is all true), sometimes producer of "There's Something About Mary" has now decided to add "writer" to his resume. So how much should we expect from the fella who was John Cusack's skiing stunt double in "Better Off Dead"? As might be expected, not a heck of a whole lot. Beddor has a some interesting ideas, sure. I mean, the book's premise is a very strong one. And his writing is not, on the whole, bad. It just that Beddor hasn't a clue who his audience is or where he wants to go with this series. And it shows.

We're all familiar with the story of "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland". How the author Rev. Charles Dodgson (i.e. Lewis Carroll) was friends with Alice Lydell and conjured up a world of make-believe for her enjoyment. But what if it was the other way around?
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robin E. Mork on December 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The reviews I've seen here seem to consist of either glowing praise or unbeliveable hatred. The book I read doesn't warrant either response.

It's "eh." It's not the worst book I've ever read. It was a relatively quick read, because it didn't give me very much to think about. It's certainly not what I would call good, either. It's a bit too much like what you might get if a hack Hollywood screenwriter enamored of True Lies got hold of Alice.

What I mean by that is- I didn't believe Wonderland, at all. I'm a great lover of fantasy, I have no trouble suspending disbelief for a good tale. But this Wonderland was too technically futuristic while simultaneously culturally simplistic to feel real. The characters did not behave in believable ways, given who they supposedly were.

Why would the Alyssians trust Jack of Spades? Everyone hated him. Why would anyone who wasn't ridiculously dim keep any of the cards suits around, even before Redd takes over, let alone require their child to marry one?

I liked the Caterpillars (although the opium smoking Buddha interpretation is by no means original). I thought Hatter Madigan and Molly Homburg were interesting, if never really explored. I liked the white rook, although I found it a little farfetched that he KEPT showing up at the last minute. Once or twice is amusing. Every time is too much.

I felt rather sad for the Cat, honestly. It was as if the author came up with this character purely for sadism's sake.

Redd was poorly concieved. I didn't believe her for a minute. And honestly, you have to believe the villain if a story is going to work. I won't outline the number of times I rolled my eyes at the cliched or dumb choices or references made- it would take too long.
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