From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Frank Beddor's clever novel (Dial, 2006) puts Lewis Carroll's heroine—along with her loony, puzzle-riddled world—into a new and wholly satisfying frame. In this version, most of Alyss Heart's family and friends are ruthlessly killed by her evil Aunt Redd. Alyss escapes through the Pool of Tears, which is actually a portal between worlds, and winds up in Victorian England and is renamed Alice. At first, the child tries to tell ordinary humans about her world and the power imagination actually effects in Wonderlandia, but they gently chide her for telling stories. She believes that she's found a sympathetic ear in a young Oxford don who is a friend of her adopted family, but he turns her story into the travesty we all know as "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Meanwhile, Hatter Madigan, a member of Wonderlandia's Millinery, who also escaped through the Pool, searches for Alyss across continents and time, until he finds her more than a dozen years later. Back home in Wonderlandia, the few who have escaped evil Redd's soldiers plot to retake the land. Gerard Doyle reads with asperity and speaks the copious puns without any added slyness. Fans of Carroll's stories will flock to this and those who have managed to miss that less violent classic can get to it while waiting for the next volume in this exciting and humorous trilogy.—Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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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