Monday, April 30, 2012

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch:  Alyss Heart has an impressive, powerful imagination - perhaps the most fearsome Wonderland has ever seen.  Her mother, Queen Genevieve and her father, King Nolan have ruled over Wonderland and the noble families - Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades - since Genevieve's sister, Redd was banished because of her love for Black Imagination.  Redd exacts her revenge on her sister, and tries to kill all other Heart progeny, but Alyss escapes with Hatter Madigan through the Pool of Tears to our world.  The tale that follows is one of a disintegrating Wonderland, a poor orphaned Alyss unable to use her imagination in our world, and the search to oust Redd from the throne.

Verdict:  Even though I have never been an epic fantasy fan, I adored this story.  And even though this is technically epic fantasy, it could be considered epic urban fantasy because much time is spent in this world we live in here called Earth.  Yeah, I'm going with that.  I promised I'd read this before the next Phoenix Comicon, and boy am I glad I did.  The next in the series should be arriving tomorrow.  I hope.  Fingers crossed.  Though, The Looking Glass Wars does end nice and tightly and could be a stand alone.

I adored the vibrance of the characters, the distinct fullness each offered me as a reader.  I felt like even though I couldn't relate to the characters, I could understand fully their motivations and their psychology.  I could get behind them or chastise them or in some instances even get to be friends with them.

I think that the third-person omniscient viewpoint helped with both the character development and the escalating plot.  The vividness of the world still shocks me, and honestly, I don't know how Frank Beddor did it.  He jam-packed this world with color and glamour and all sorts of beauty and ugly, but I never felt like he forced it.  I think that's the key.  It all flowed, it all flowed together, and the use of the characters and imagery made a story I will never forget and have already recommended to people in my family.  In fact, I ordered the audiobook for Monster without even asking him.  So there.  And if he doesn't like it?  Off to Outerwilderbeastia with him!

Frank Beddor has a world of card soldiers, online game play, and all sorts of things in TLGW world.  Check out lookingglasswars.com for all kinds of great information.  The Looking Glass Wars was published in 2005 by Dial Books for Young Readers.  I'd recommend it to fans of retellings, action movies, and The Hobbit.