The Looking Glass Wars is a twist on Lewis Carroll’s classic stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. With whimsical elements and a boost of modern technology, and playing on the idea that Wonderland is a real place, the author introduces us to Alyss Heart, future Queen of Wonderland, who is celebrating her seventh birthday when her evil aunt Redd attacks the Wonderland palace. The fight is bloody and soon Redd is in control of the kingdom.
With her mother’s bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, Alyss escapes into the Pool of Tears, which takes her to 18th century London. Along the way Alyss and Hatter are separated. Alyss lives on the streets with a group of urchins, then in an orphanage, before finally finding a home with the very proper Liddells. Along the way Alyss must come to terms with the idea that maybe she never was a princess; maybe Wonderland is a place she dreamed up after all.
Alyss grows up and attracts the attention of Prince Leopold, whom she agrees to marry, but on the day of the wedding Queen Redd sends her deadly assassin, The Cat, through the Pool of Tears and into Alyss’s new world. Alyss is saved in the nick of time by her Wonderland childhood love Dodge Anders, and whisked back to Wonderland, only to find it changed under Redd’s tyrannical rule. Alyss slips easily back into being a part of this magical world, something she tried so hard to deny in Britain, and is soon leading a band of rebels against the evil queen.
The Looking Glass Wars moves quickly, with almost constant action. From Wonderland to 18th century Britain Alyss faces dangers and one complicated situation after another. It’s a hard book to put down, as something new is always happening, and it’s original even with its basis in the classic story.
Alyss’s adventures in Wonderland continue with Seeing Redd, the second in the series, which just hit shelves.