A few weeks ago, I posted about The Looking Glass Wars and gushed over how much I loved it. After a short pause from Wonderland to read a book set in our world, I returned to read the sequel, Seeing Redd and it was yet another happy vacation to Alice's land for me.
One of the things that really grabs me about these books is the way you're instantly transported into its world. Typically in books set in such strange worlds, it can take a few pages (a few hundred in some cases) to really visualize your surroundings. I didn't find that to be so with either of these books. I felt I could see the world the author was conjuring. As a writer, I always aim to make my books very visual, because as a reader, that's an element I've always enjoyed. It's one of the aspects of Lewis Carroll's writing that attracted me as a teenager. I could always "see" what was happening in his books as I read them.
The other element that has really endeared to these first two Looking Glass books to me is simply the well-written action and expansive plot. I thought the world grew greatly in second book. The new characters were well done and fit perfectly. The storylines for the old characters were also great. Though I honestly would have liked to see more of Alyss, I understand that this is the 2nd in a trilogy and the second book always belongs to the side of evil. In many ways, the books remind me of the Redwall books in terms of pace and story. Considering I devoured those books in my early 20's, that's a high compliment.
I'm still surprised at myself for not holding any resentment over the complete blasphemy that these books are to the original Wonderland creation. I'm typically such a Wonderland purist. But in a way, what I love about these books is that they are not simply about the original, but also about what Wonderland has become in the greater consciousness. I've always seen it's such a prevalent fantasy world in the human collective, that it has been born into its own existence. It's taken on a life of it's own and become a world unique from our vision of it. I've always believed in the idea that imagination has the power to create worlds in this way. That's not exactly the idea put forth in these books, but it's a sister sort of idea. I think that's why I can accept the sweeping changes to it. Or at least how I justify it to myself.
I'm looking forward to book three...comes out next month. Until then, I'll keep my bags packed and keep looking out for spies of Black Imagination that may be on the loose here, there, and everywhere.