I have re-entered the madhouse!
As a kid, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a childhood favorite and has been all this time. As easily as Alice fell into that rabbit hole, I fell in love with Lewis Caroll’s works. And seeing this book—The Looking Glass Wars—I thought myself coming face to face with another White Rabbit. I was ready to follow it and jump down into the madness.
The Looking Glass Wars is, in every way as its inspiration, magical, colorful, and spirited. But Beddor’s Wonderland is more organized and has less surprises waiting behind doors. (Maybe that’s because I know what to expect now or I have grown up.) This may be stretching it but the city reminds me of The Emerald City, only funner.
Personally, I made a guessing game of the characters. Every time I met one, I’d try to think of which Caroll character inspired it. As the case may be, not everyone in the book is from the original Wonderland. Some are from real-life London of the late 1800s and the others are of Beddor’s creation. In the parade of characters, I was looking for others like the moral-finding Duchess, the pepper-loving Cook, the historian Rat, and the racing Dodo. Even Humpty Dumpty wasn’t anywhere there! I missed them.
Now this may just be me but, with alternating settings in middle chapters, Beddor juxtaposed Wonderland and London as representations of madness and sanity, chaos and order, and imagined and real. But neither place was safe or sound. Both cities displayed repression, depression, and digression.
Just before things get any sadder, there is a turnaround. Or was it a change of heart? At first I thought I’d see a coming-of-age moment but what I got was a rite of passage, with emphasis on passage. But for a mandatory rite, it doesn’t sound as complicated. I thought it lacking.
One big regret I had upon having read this book is that I do not have the two sequels. It’s a trilogy and I have only the first book. It doesn’t help when I remember that this series is already finished. It frustrates me all the more.
Beddor left a lot of loose ends. Guess that’s what the sequels are for. And maybe that’s the room for the characters I missed in this book. Can’t wait to finally read the installments!