Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Power of Imagination

Alyss of Wonderland's rules has only just begun and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed Royal Bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being Queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge. Alyss's life is already a challenging mix of duty, love and imagining when a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of her imperial viciousness's return and have everyone. . . Seeing Redd.

Title: Seeing Redd
Author: Frank Beddor
Series: The Looking Glass Wars, Book 2
Start & Finished: 4/3/08
Published: 2007
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction-Fantasy

Skier, stuntman, actor, producer, and now author, Frank Beddor is certainly a man of many talents. After producing There’s Something About Mary, Mr. Beddor decided that he wanted to
create and then spent five years doing just that with The Looking Glass Wars. Rejected several times, his “true story” about Wonderland was finally published and a year later, the sequel Seeing Redd followed. Despite the many outraged Lewis Carroll fans, this trilogy (the last installment is to be released in 2009) has accumulated it’s own fan following inspiring a graphic novel featuring Hatter Madigan, an album of original music, and the author is rumored to be working on a screenplay for a movie adaptation as well.

I love it when an author includes people and things from the classics but I’ve found that I equally enjoy “re-tellings” of familiar and timeless stories as well. Not only are they recreating something new but they’re also generating interest in the old material as well for a new generation of people. Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West) was mainly my go-to guy when it came to the “true story” re-tellings but I’ve enjoyed Beddor’s books even more.

The characters in the book have gone through some emotional developments in Seeing Redd. Alyss is still working on her Imagination because she went all those years in England not being able to use it, we learn why
Hatter Madigan had to request a vacation, and Molly’s childishness gets everyone in a really big mess too. Plus back in England, Charles Dodgeson (also known as Lewis Carroll) gets to meet his “Queen of Hearts” face to face while she’s building her army.

Despite the fact that this is the middle book of a trilogy it has a great ending but I’m still anxiously awaiting the release of the third book ArchEnemy (originally titled The Law of Wonderland). Alyss is doing a good job as queen but with so many obstacles in her path and so many people trying their hardest to take over, I think the ending could be anyone’s game.

LGW Trilogy:
1. The Looking Glass Wars (2004)
2. Seeing Redd (2007)
3. ArchEnemy (2009)

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars graphic novels
Far From Wonder : Volume 1 (2010) (with Liz Cavalier and Ben Templesmith)
1. Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars Volume 1 (2008) (with Liz Cavalier)
2. Mad With Wonder (2009) (with Liz Cavalier)
3. The Nature of Wonder (2010) (with Liz Cavalier)

First Paragraph: Wonderland's finest architects had designed it and overseen its fabrication. The most skilled glaziers, carpenters, masons, and gemologists had worked tirelessly to ensure that even its smallest details were built according to plan: Heart Palace, imagined anew on the site of the former palace, which had stood for generations until being cruelly decimated by Redd.

Wikipedia- The Looking Glass Wars
Wikipedia- Seeing Redd
BookBrowse- Interview with Frank Beddor



Source: Personal collection, hardcover

Related Reviews
Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Visitors from Oz by Martin Gardner

Picture Explanations
Original artwork commissioned for book


  1. Interesting. You find the most interesting books to read. I'm jealous.

    I love a good re-telling, but the ones I've read are hit-and-miss. MacGuire's retellings are way too wordy, much like Ann Rice. It's so dense (especially Wicked) that it's hard to enjoy. Which is the exact opposite of the original Wizard of Oz.

    This one looks more up my alley. I'm going to read up on this and check it out.

    Good one, Jen.

  2. Ooooo...this one looks good! Love the YouTubes!

  3. sounds really good, great review!

    p.s. stop by my blog, you've been nominated

  4. I've the first book sitting in my pile, just haven't got around to reading it yet. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  5. I loved these books and like you can't wait for book 3 to come out. I have the graphic novel with Hatter Madigan as the main character to make my way through as well.

  6. Hey ~ Naida sent me an email and said she couldn't view your blog or view mine. I was curious if you use foxfire.

    Not everyone has the problem she is having, so I am wondering what's up. Would you check to see if you can comment on my blog?



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