If you haven’t read the first title in the series, The Looking Glass Wars, you’ll want to begin there, as this is not a stand-alone story. The characters first introduced are now more developed and several plot lines branch away from Queen Alyss and Aunt Redd to good effect. The character development is strongly continued and one if the best parts of this series. Now, when Alyss flirts, it seems more plausible.
Seeing Redd may only be suffering the middle-child slump of trilogies, but it does lack cohesion and never fully rises to its possibilities. As I read the first novel, I forgave some unexplored areas, but expected them to be taken up in the following novels. They weren't explored and even more unanswered story lines emerged. And while the story once again references Carroll’s original, it abandoned much of the symbolic alignment that it had shown previously.
Even with the middle trilogy slump, I'm glad to have kept up with Alyss and her crew. They're very well characterized and offer a unique view on the beloved classic. Recommended for middle school students and fantasy minded high school students. For both classroom and library purchase. I'm still unable to find any learning resources around the www. Anyone with links, please post them to the comments.
Though I have no qualms with taking the story to a more brutal edge, I feel that marketing toward elementary students is wrongly thought. Not only does the death and violence lean it towards intermediate use, but also the themes of revenge and grief are a tad strong for discussion in most elementary classrooms.
Genre: Fantasy and Parallel Fiction. Age: Middle Grade & Young Adult. Pages 384.
Publisher: Dial. Date: August 2007
ISBN-10: 0803731558 / ISBN-13:978-0803731554
Advisory: Some Violence
Buy The Looking Glass Wars Here
Buy Seeing Redd Here
The Looking Glass Wars website is filled with videos, a store, a soundtrack, tons of fantastic artwork, an online Card Soldiers game, ecards, screensavers, info on school events, a forum... There's way too much to list! (Hint: Make sure click on the links and go to PO'd Monkey)
ArchEnemy, the conclusion to the trilogy, will be released on October 15, 2009. You can pre-order ArchEnemy here.
Author Frank Beddor was once a former world champion freestyle skier as well as an actor, a stuntman and, oh, he also produced that little movie called There's Something About Mary. You'll find more about him on The Looking Glass Wars Website.
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com