Monday, March 18, 2013

Review on "The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor

Hello friends. :D  I haven't blogged in a good long while, and for that I am sorry.  Quite honestly, I haven't had the time for it, nor have I been inspired enough to do much writing in general.  It's a sad state I'm in, and I'm trying to get through it.  Prayer is always welcome. ^_^  For other things too, not just my writing life.

But anyway, today I actually got up enough gumption to write a book review!  Yay for me!!!  I posted the review on Goodreads, but decided to post it here too, since I think it is a relatively good review and I haven't posted anything in so long. lol!

So here it is!  My review on the book "The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor.

The Looking Glass Wars

A new twist on Alice in Wonderland... What if the story behind Alice and her Wonderland was actually real?  What if all of that had actually happened, but NOT in the way the original author said it had? 

In this charming/exciting/action-packed book by Frank Beddor, Alyss Heart is the young Princess of Wonderland.  When her parents are killed by her Aunt Redd who wants to rule Wonderland through the use of black imagination, Alyss escapes with her trusted bodyguard and the leader of the Millinery, Hatter Madigan, through the Pool of Tears.  She lands in 1800's London, separated from Hatter Madigan and all alone, and there she is taken in by the Liddels and adopted as their daughter.  But the Liddels do not believe her story of being the heir to the throne in a fantastical world where the strength of a person's imagination grants them power beyond reckoning.  Alyss' only consolation is in a chaplain who takes pity on the young girl and listens to her stories.  But Alyss never counted on him not believing her, and she never thought he would write a book about her story and get all of the facts so very, very WRONG. 

In the meantime, her Aunt Redd is still looking for her, and has sent her best assassin, The Cat, to find and dispose of her.  However, Madigan finds her first and they manage to escape back into the world of Wonderland, only to find that the wonderful place that had once been her parent's kingdom is now falling to ruins and the people are in shambles.  Alyss must learn to master her very powerful gift of Imagination with very little guidance, and she must master it quickly.  For only she can stand up against her Aunt Redd... Only she can take back the throne of Wonderland and restore things to how they used to be... how they were always meant to be.

My thoughts: Pros...

The story in and of itself was very exciting.  I loved the action packed scenes, and Frank Beddor managed to bring the characters to life in a way I had never imagined.  Hatter Madigan is, of course, my favorite character. ^_^  I mean, who DOESN'T like the idea of a Bad-ass Mad Hatter???  Madigan had every type of weapon you could think of (and plenty that you couldn't even imagine... ;D) and he was very good at his job.  Alyss' character started out as being rather annoying in my eyes, but soon became likeable enough that I found myself rooting for her. :) The twist on the Cheshire Cat was at first disconcerting, as I honestly LIKE the Cheshire Cat better as a good guy, but I soon got used to the idea and found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during fighting scenes that involved the strange shape shifting, nine-life granted feline assassin. 

And the imagination!  In this book, rather than using "black magic" and "White Magic", Beddor uses "Black Imagination" and "White Imagination" which I liked a whole lot better.  Beddor plays up the idea that there is no limit to imagination... but it is how imagination is used that makes all the difference.  As a writer myself, this idea connected with me in a way that few other stories have, and it made me rethink several ideas for my own books as well. :D

My Thoughts: Cons...

For me, the writing in this book felt rather stinted, and while the plot and story in and of itself was intriguing and unique, there were quite a few places where I felt like the story was sort of "lagging"... falling behind or not living up to its potential. The story is written in an all Omniscient view that (on a very few occasions) speaks directly to the readers.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as I have seen it done well in the past.  However, it took a while for me to get used to it, and that took away from the story's experience.  Perhaps my biggest problem was the amount of time it took me to warm up to the main character, Alyss Heart.  At first I didn't like her at all... in fact, I found her Aunt Redd to be much more interesting than Alyss herself.  This, for me, was definitely an issue. It's better for me if I end up liking the main character right away rather than having to "warm up" to them.  I should at least be interested in them... but I found that I didn't much care for Alyss Heart at all until later in the book.

I give this book 3 out of five stars because I believe that the pros and the cons pretty much balance themselves out.  While the plot and unique twists of the book definitely make it well worth reading, the stinted writing and my contempt for the spoiled, rich, tantrum throwing young Alyss make me hesitate to add more stars than I already have.