The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, YA,
Publisher: Speak
Series: Book One of The Looking Glass Wars
Purchase: Book Depository

This review contains no spoilers.

Alyss of Wonderland?

When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

This was such a good book that I don’t even know where to start. Yes it took me months to finish it, but that was just because once I’ve set something aside I have a hard time coming back to it. Thats the main reason I didn’t give it four stars, as much as I loved it, I felt as though a book deserving of five stars I wouldn’t have been able to set aside for any length of time.

I liked the whole thing with the card suites being royal houses – our equivalent of Tudors or Hapsburgs for example – which added to the whole whimsy of Wonderland. There are so many unexpected turns and references to the classic book that I’m sure I missed many of them.

My biggest gripe with the book is that my copy had pictures in the center, which is great because I love author-approved illustrations, except that they contained minor spoilers for the end of the book. Of course the first thing I did when I picked it up was flip right to the photos….. and alas, spoilers.


Alyss / Alice: The princess of Wonderland, not just a random girl who stumbles across it while on a family outing.

Hatter Madigan / The Mad Hatter: He’s received quite the upgrade, going from a hatter to the queen’s most elite guard (and someone who’s still absolutely obsessed with hats, to be frank).

The Cat / Cheshire Cat: He’s now a lethal assassin with nine lives who’s out to get Alyss and company.

Redd / The Queen of Hearts: Quite frightening in all forms, of course. No spoilers, but I can’t wait to see what happens with her next!!

General Doppelgänger / Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum: Now he’s one guy, and a great general, who can split himself in half, into General Doppel and General Ganger.

Bibwit Hart / The White Rabbit: The princess’ tutor who is just a (mostly) normal human with huge, rabbit-like ears.

The Baccalaureate

It was rather ironic, that the day after I finished this was the baccalaureate service for us graduates, and one of my teachers gave a speech titled “The Logic of Lewis Carol.” It was a very good speech and I really regret not having my grandfather film it while he was there (filming my speech which I will talk about in a later post).

She has since responded that it has been added to her reading list for the summer (although goodness knows how long that is!)


As evidenced by the fact that I recommended it to my teacher, I think anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland will like this. With Through the Looking Glass having just been released I feel like its the perfect time to bring it out and re-immerse ourselves in the madness of Wonderland in all its versions.

Even though its been a while since I read Lewis Carrol’s Alice – so long, in fact, that I can’t remember if I finished it – I had no trouble at all following the plot. I think anyone can enjoy this, regardless of how much they know about Wonderland.



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