Beddor takes Carroll's classic tale of a young girl who falls into a rabbit hole and completely reinvents it into a world of adventure pinning good vs. evil. The original does the same with Alice vs. the Red Queen. The difference with this book, Alyss is from Wonderland and Red is her aunt.
Princess Alyss is next for the thrown of Wonderland which is currently run by her mother, that is until her Aunt Redd comes into the picture. Furious about being overthrown by her younger sister, Redd gets revenge killing both the Queen and King, leaving Alyss orphaned. Alyss escapes with Hatter to our world. Separated, Hatter feverishly searches for the princess, while Alyss is must conform to the reality of her new life.
One of my favorite parts, she gets adopted by the Liddells and meets Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of the original tale of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll himself. Beddor actually takes real life events and plays them out in his retelling. Just like real life, they go on a boat ride together. The difference, it's Alyss who tells him the tale of Wonderland and he takes her stories to create Alice in Wonderland and it's through this book that gives Hatter the clue he needs in finding the lost princess.
My absolute favorite part of this story is the idea of imagination being a form of magical powers. In Wonderland there are two forms, White Imagination and Black Imagination. No doubt which categories Alyss and Redd fall into. What makes me like it so much is that one of the main themes in Carroll's version was imagination. The fact that imagination can be so powerful it makes a little girl believe she was in fact in a fantasy world where a queen wanted to cut off her head. In Beddor's version, he uses imagination as a form of a weapon, away for Alyss to avenge her parents and get back the crown that belongs her.
Here are some more interesting twists:
- The Pool of Tears is a gateway between Wonderland and our world. It connects to puddles on our side allowing wonderlandians to return home. In Carroll's story, the pool of tears was created by Alice crying due to her huge size. She then swims through her tears to get to Wonderland.
- The Cheshire cat is Redd's chief assassin.
- The government and parliament is dominated by a playing card based hierarchy. The Wonderland Queen is a member of the Heart family, and the parliament is composed of reigning members of the Spades, Clubs, and Diamonds.
- The Hatter is the queen's bodyguard.
- The white rabbit or Bibwit Harte is Alyss' tutor.
- Tweedledee and Tweedledum is a commander of the royal army with the ability to combine and split at will.
And that is juts a taste of the fun retelling this trilogy offers you.