Arch Enemy – Frank Beddor Review

Progress on Alternate: 42,053 words

Current Review:

This is the last book of this series that I own and have access to, though I seem to recall that there are others. I won’t be buying any of them, however. I loved the concept brought forward in The Looking Glass Wars. I loved that Charles Dodgeson is a character. I loved the brief trips into our world, and the imaginative way the story had been reconstructed…

But after that, it starts to get… old. I’m really sorry to say it, but it does. If I’d been writing it, I would have quit while I was ahead, because some of the beauty of the very first book just gets lost entirely. I don’t feel like it’s fun anymore, and I had to resist the temptation to skip paragraphs just to fast-forward through some of it.

I guess there are still new ideas. Particularly at the beginning I began to get my hopes up, but it quickly just lost momentum. I still like Hatter M and Molly though!

-K Hart


Seeing Redd – Frank Beddor Review

Progress on Alternate: 39,021

Current Review:

Seeing Redd loses some of what The Looking Glass Wars had. The world is no longer new. We’re not presented with many of the ideas that we were, and the worldbuilding seems to lose a lot of momentum. There could have been so much more done with the world that Beddor created, and it feels like he’s just hung up his towel and gone ‘nope, done’.

However I’m very aware that I am a jaded, cynical adult talking about what is in effect a children’s book, and for imagination and adventure I can’t fault him. There were twists and turns that, while very obvious to an adult eye, would have delighted a younger me. And I still think that hat weapons are cool.

As I say, I would REALLY like to have seen more descriptions of how imagination links our worlds. Perhaps even the author doesn’t realise how beautiful an idea that is. How inspiration could be all related to the very world we think we’re creating.

I must admit though, I did get a small smile out of the idea that the wonderful Charles Dodgeson may someday find that his creations are… ahem… not at all creations anymore.

-K Hart

The Looking Glass Wars – Frank Beddor Review

Progress on Alternate: 35,154

Current Review:

Anyone who knows me knows that if there’s a surefire way to get me to pick up a book, it’s to tell me it’s related to Alice in Wonderland. I have a special place in my heart for that old children’s story, and I feel no shame for it. I’ve even read vaguely romantic works simply because they were a retelling of this story.

Frank Beddor’s is interesting. It is Alice in Wonderland, but not as we know it. A Wonderland that is far darker, filled with war and struggles that never even played a part in Carroll’s nonsense world. It’s for a younger audience than I often read, but still, it has its advantages. It’s a world of imagination, not of literature.

Having said that, if you’re looking for beautiful prose, Beddor’s book is not really the way to go. It feels young. It feels simple. But it cannot be faulted at all for imagination. As someone who always loved the Hatter from the original story, Hatter Madigan is fun. A hero. A guy who can flatten his hat and make it into a weapon? COOL. I’ve heard that there’s a Hatter M graphic novel, but sadly have never had access to it. I would like to see that!

The idea of Millinery as a military profession… I love it. Hats are great. And Dodge Anders, with his darker side and his thirst for vengeance, is a welcome addition to the Wonderland world. As is the Cat. What a cute little adorable kitten… except, you know, it might kill me.

I think my liking for this book can be summed up with a phrase from it that I tweeted just yesterday: “That is not an evil guinea pig!”. I like my out-of-context, absurd phrases. I think they’re wonderful.

-K Hart