A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a violent series, which, of course, is part of its appeal. There are many battles and deaths, and some gruesome moments with fingers bitten off. There's some drinking, cigarette smoking, and drug use.
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What's the story?
Having defeated her evil aunt Redd in the previous book, Alyss hardly has time to settle into her rightful role as queen of Wonderland before she is beset on all sides. The king of Boarderland is scheming against her, Homburg Molly is kidnapped, and Hatter Madigan has disobeyed orders and may be a traitor.
Meanwhile, Redd is planning a new assault, and gathering a new army on Earth and in Boarderland, where she may be teaming up with the king. And she has discovered a way to enhance her powers of Black Imagination far beyond Alyss' own formidable White Imagination.
Is it any good?
The Looking Glass Wars was a terrifically original and thrilling new entry in the fantasy field; this second book suffers from the dreaded sophomore slump. Those who loved the first book will enjoy it well enough, but it doesn't have that thrill of the new; the clever literary playing with the Alice in Wonderland story that made the first book so much fun.
Instead we get nearly nonstop battles and scheming. Redd's sojourn on Earth, where she gathers the dregs of humanity (many of whom turn out to be exiled Wonderlanders) is amusing, and the climactic battle is epic and exciting. But there's a flatness to the proceedings that would seem to indicate an author who used much of his best ideas in the first book.