Publisher/Year: Dial Books | September 1st, 2004
Read by: Gerard Doyle
Audiobook Publisher/Year: Scholastic Audio | March 21, 2007
Time: 8 hours 41 minutes
Series: The Looking Glass Wars Book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling,
Source: Overdrive through Cincinnati Library
Alyce Hart lost her entire world in one day. Now she is an orphan in our world, desperately trying to get to a home everyone says isn’t real. Meanwhile her Vicious Aunt has taken over the Wonderland throne and plunged wonderland into black imagination. Now all Alyce’s supporters have been forced into hiding, including her childhood friend Dash. But the royal bodyguard that swore to protect Alyce won’t give up his oath to find Alyce and return her to Wonderland. The only question is: Will there be anything to return her too?
So I actually read the first two books of the series when they first came out. I went to read the third one not too long ago, but couldn’t remember anything that had happened in the first two books. So when this showed up in overdrive, I figured it was time to start at the beginning.
So, how often do you get to read a book like it’s the first time? As I listened to this book, I would vaguely start to remember things here and there, but nothing that was major in the plot line. So I was in suspense like it was my first time reading the book, and I loved it. I knew I loved the series, I think it was my first twisted telling of Alice in wonderland. I have yet to find a twisted telling that I didn’t love, even though I can’t stand the original two books.
I love the cleverness of pulling from the story to make the connection, but morphing it into a completely different tale.
Beddor does great job with Alyce. You get to see a progression in her personality and character through the book that is completely believable. Through everything she faces, you find yourself rooting for her through the whole thing.
Dash also develops in a way to show how the same event can affect everyone that was apart of it completely differently. I think that’s something I like the most about this book: How Beddor looks at life’s circumstances and addresses how they affect your personality and attitude if you let them, or you can use them to your advantage.
It took me a while to settle into Doyle’s voice because it felt a little odd having a male voice for a book with a female main character (although it is in third character omniscient, so only kind-of.) Once I adjusted though, I loved his voice and the way he read. The way he dramatized the book made it seem more like radio theater than an audiobook. So if you want to start listening to audiobooks, but haven’t found a good one yet, this might be a book to start with.
I love the world building in this book. It’s such a nice variation on the concept of magic: the imagination. Beddor does a good job making rules and parameters for Wonderland that make it believable. A necessity for any world with magic, or it becomes incredible if you can do anything you want without consequences. It’s also a great connection between our world and Wonderland. I think that connection can be one of the most vital when it comes to writing good fantasy, the hope of getting there. The most popular fantasy books all have methods of getting to the fictional world. They also did it in a way that makes the reader hope they will stumble over the portal and have a chance to visit.
The POV through this story is third person omniscient. Beddor does a great job of character hopping through the book, something that can be difficult for many, flows nicely here. Character hopping can be a challenge because it’s harder to form a relationship with one character. I think what makes this a well done case is, you don’t cease knowing the other characters once they’re gone, but rather get to know them through the other characters’ perspective. This allows a well done juxtaposition of who a character actually is and who everyone thinks they are or should be.
The Character development is also done well through this book. TLGW is a great example of taking one large event and examining how everyone would be affected differently by it. When everyone behaves or reacts the same to an event, it gets stale and unbelievable. However, in TLGW, even when everyone is on the surface reacting the same, we see and know that the reason behind their actions are all different.
In the End
I love this book, and have Red on my holds list. So once I get it, I’ll be full tilt back in the story. If you love Alice in Wonderland retellings, you should definitely read this one, if you haven’t already.
10 Second Summary:
1. Great story line: It stands on its own, but also pulls in the original story in a unique way.
2. Good audiobook: especially for those trying to get into audiobooks in general.
3. Good balance of character development and action: This book has a fast past, but you’re falling in love (or hate) with all the characters at the same time.
Hardback, which I have already. Obviously for good reason if the reread left me feeling the same way 10(ish) years later.