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
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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 HutleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved