Lewis Carroll got the story all wrong. He even spelled Alyss’s name wrong. (Alice? Pfft.) This is the real story about Alyss of Wonderland.
On Princess Alyss’s seventh birthday, her mother and father get murdered by her Aunt Redd who believes that she is the rightful ruler of the Queendom of Wonderland. Alyss’s mother, before her confrontation with Redd, sends Alyss off to our world through a mirror to protect her from Redd. Redd is a tyrant of a Queen – there is a small band of Alyssians who have formed a resistance, but they don’t have any real belief that they can oppose Redd. Meanwhile, in our world, Alyss has been adopted by a family and is determined to forget Wonderland after Lewis Carroll took her story and twisted it into the story we know today.
When the Alyssians finally get Alyss back to Wonderland, they all wonder whether Alyss has what it takes to defeat the queen and take her rightful place on the throne of Wonderland.
I can totally understand what all the fuss about this book is about. It was such a joy to read. It definitely gave a different spin to things, which for the most part I loved, but at other times I found to be a lot less fantastical than the original Alice in Wonderland. I have to admit that this was sometimes disappointing. I do love the new take on all of the characters though – it made some of them seem more dangerous, and was more depth all around. There were also new characters in both Wonderland and our world that were all fabulously well developed.
There was Alyss, though. I have to admit that there were parts about her that I didn’t like very much. She reminded me far too much of Susan from Narnia – Susan ends up believing that Narnia is all make-believe by the end of the series, and Alyss makes herself forget about Wonderland. Then all of a sudden Alyss goes back and it seems like she doesn’t do too much work to become powerful again. I would have liked that part explored a little more – her learning how to use and control her imagination again.
Other than that, the story was wonderful, as was Beddor’s writing style, and I’m very much looking forward to reading Seeing Redd – thanks Lisa for sending me both! :)