We’re deviating just a smidge from our regularly scheduled programming to do a joint review! How fun is that? Lisa and I thought since we both read Looking Glass Wars and discussed it that it would be great to give you readers a glimpse of the good, the bad and the ugly, from two different perspectives! A kind of Siskel and Ebert of books. Enjoy!
Isabelle: For starters- I’m grateful that I listened to you, Lisa when you told me to read this book. I’d already bought it when you mentioned it, I’d started it, and I kept getting stuck right after Redd’s entrance in Heart Palace. I’m not sure what it was that made it difficult for me to move on from there, but I was really just upset by the whole thing. I mean, right from the beginning, the bad guys prospered in a really overwhelming kind of way.
Lisa: You know, I had trouble starting it, too. I probably wouldn’t have read it as quickly as I did if I hadn’t had it with me on a road trip. I had trouble with Redd and the Cat…. I definitely didn’t find the bad guys very enjoyable, but I loved Alyss and Dodge.
Isabelle: I enjoyed the unusual Cat, how he went from a cute kitty to an experienced assassin. I found that to be a nice refreshing spin. I also loved Alyss and Dodge. And Hatter Maddigan. Man, I was totally excited about Hatter Maddigan.Did you feel that some of it tried a bit too hard, though? Like, when Beddor kept mentioning the Queendom, I kept getting the feeling that he was trying to set up a really original world and political system, but the more he said it, the more I felt like he was jamming this difference down my throat.
Lisa: I don’t know, I thought that some things, like the festival with inventors passing inventions into the Heart Crystal was pretty fabulously inventive. Though I have some umbridge with the idea that it took credit away from all earthly inventors. Sigh. I did LOVE Hatter Madigan, though. What did you think about the way Beddor dealt with Charles Dodgson?
Isabelle: Well executed and believable. I mean, if a little girl were telling me these fantastical tales, I’d probably react the way he did. I do feel bad that he got caught in her wrath! Ha ha. How was he supposed to know he’d offended a real princess?
Lisa: Haha I know! I think he dealt with him really well. I loved that Hatter Madigan recognized him as having more Imagination than any of the other people he’d seen.
Isabelle: Yea, that was great! It said a lot about him being the person Alyss chose to tell her secrets to.
Lisa: I appreciated it because I went in to this book kind of annoyed that someone thought they knew the story better than Lewis Carroll.
Isabelle: Speaking of Alyss, I admit, I felt terrible for her once she was adopted. The pictures she drew and hung up in her room- that was heartbreaking.
Lisa: Oh I’d forgotten the pictures!
Isabelle: And although I was happy that she was starting to find happiness with a human boy, I kept hoping she’d wait for Dodge. Btw, good point about Carroll! It showed that Beddor was paying homage to the story, not necessarily trying to outshine it.
Lisa: Oh I thought that was fascinating, too, with the Prince. I checked on Wikipedia (the most reliable of all sources haha) and that was all true about Alice Liddell.
Isabelle: That she was engaged to a Prince? Really? That’s a very neat little factoid. I’m going to have to go looking her up now. I didn’t realize she was a real person. Am I just the only person in the world not to have known that?
Lisa: Probably not the only one. 😉 I don’t know that she was officially engaged to him, but was rumored to be at the time. Then they did go their seperate ways, but they did name their children after each other. There’s a famous picture of Alice Liddell, though, you can probably find it online. And okay, I’ve got to say, I LOVED how damaged and messed up Dodge was when she finally got back to Wonderland.
Isabelle: I was just going to say that! Ha ha! Angry, brooding Dodge = me riveted to the pages.
Lisa: Yes, definitely!
Isabelle: I felt terrible for him, obviously. The poor boy lost everything in a night, but at the same time, his drive for revenge made him fascinating.
Lisa: To go from the dedicated child-guard to the angry, revenge-focused man was definitely hard to see.
Isabelle: The way he reacted when they first brought Alyss back. That entire scene at the chapel is just perfectly executed. Oh and the masquerade! *butterflies*
Lisa: Double on the butterflies.
Isabelle: I’m not too proud to admit that, that’s when I swooned.
Lisa: I’m not at all surprised by that. I fall easier – I loved him from their first dance.
Isabelle: He was a great symbol for what Wondertropolis had become. Torn and hopeless, fighting for something no one even remembered. I really feld Beddor used him as a final resistance kind of character. That little bit of Alyss she’d been pushing away. Refusing to see. It all lived and breathed in Dodge.
Lisa: Yes. That went both ways. Dodge had been fighting so hard to forget what Wonderland had been like, how wonderful it had once been, but he couldn’t forget when he saw Alyss again. She reminded him of who he had been, which he was also trying to forget. Okay, and I’ve got to say, I loved Bibwit Hart.
Isabelle: He made me laugh. He was so perfectly neurotic!
Isabelle: The image of him was very strange, though I loved that the book had pictures! That was a really pleasant surprise. In fact, a lot of the imagery was really impressive. The Chessboard Desert. The post-Redd city with all the commercials and propaganda replaying. The Looking Glass passageways.
Lisa: Yes, though the Card Soldiers reminded me of the Clone Soldiers from Star Wars! haha
Isabelle: They did! I thought the same thing. 🙂 All of that was really vividly written.
Lisa: I loved the Chessboard Desert. Just the idea was fantastic.
Isabelle: I know. It was spectacular.
Lisa: I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed in the Heart Maze. Though for it to really have been what it had built up to be in my mind, it would have taken half the book! I guess simplicity is necessary—and probably preferable—in some cases.
Isabelle: I enjoyed the Heart Maze scene but I also felt it was too short. That all seemed to happen really fast. But you’re right. Simplicity is best. It would have taken him a better part of the book to describe it and I’m not sure we coudl have afforded to lose some of the other scenes in the process.
Lisa: True. Pacing will have its say, always. In all, though, I really enjoyed the book. I think it had a great build-up of a world we thought we already knew, and some serious setting up for the sequel.
Isabelle: I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. The characters made me keep reading, even when I wanted to stop, which is a good sign of solid characterization. And as I went on, the world became so lush and real, I loved the little spins he put on things we’d heard so often before. It was truly innovative.
Lisa: Yes. I think I’d give it, all in all, a solid A. You?
Isabelle: I’d have to say A- for the slow beginning.
And that’s a wrap!