A “variation of themes” on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novels if you like, Frank Beddor’s novel aimed at 9 to 10-year-olds purports to tell the “real story” behind Carroll’s beloved novels . . .

Alice was indeed real. Her true name was Princess Alyss and she was ejected from Wonderland, which exists in a dimension different to ours following an unexpected coup by her cruel aunt, the tyrannical Redd.

Alyss winds up in Victorian England, where no-one of course would believe her fantastical tales of being a princess in a magical kingdom called Wonderland and even the real life author Lewis Carroll would get the story wrong in his tales based on her stories. To survive ridicule and rejection Alyss herself begins to question whether her childhood memories were real at all and is therefore surprised when as an adult she is whisked back to Wonderland by her ex-bodyguard (called Hatter Madigan) where she ends up leading a rebellion to depose the vicious Queen Redd.

While Beddor’s book obviously lacks the inventiveness and imagination of his literary inspiration, The Looking Glass Wars ought to appeal to kids enamoured of the Harry Potter series looking for something in a similar fantastical vein. Beddor is a Hollywood producer (he was one of the producers on There’s Something About Mary) and it shows: The Looking Glass Wars is written in a clearly visual style that ought to translate easily into a screenplay for a movie. The action is practically all external and there is not too much introspection here. With the advances in CGI some of the more fantastical elements of the novel should translate well to the big screen. Summer Glau (River in the Firefly TV series and Serenity big screen movie) ought to make for an appealing lead, and one can easily imagine a movie version being made with the current fad for Fantasy tales (Harry Potter, Narnia, Rings, etc.) doing great business. However, the question remains whether audiences will warm to the now-overfamiliar Alice in Wonderland setting.

Until Hollywood decides to make it we at least have Beddor’s book which is a slight yet entertaining read. Either buy it for your kids or take it along as beach-side reading for your next holiday . . .


The Looking Glass Wars (Looking Glass Wars) (Hardcover)
by Frank Beddor

Hardcover: 384 pages
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Dial (26 September 2006)
ISBN: 0803731531




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