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The Looking Glass Wars Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 26, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 278 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Looking Glass Wars Series

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 26, 2006
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--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Looking Glass Wars
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; 1St Edition edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803731531
  • ASIN: B000NA1XRG
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,468,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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