The Looking Glass Wars, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Looking Glass Wars, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
The violent "truth" behind Alice in Wonderland.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 15 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


Battles with swords, knives, and guns; many deaths, including a beheading.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and drunkenness, smoking a hookah, imagination-enhancing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this isn't a quaint nonsense story like the classic book that inspired it: There are violent battles, deaths, and beheadings. The heroine's mother dies.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLens cap amy June 11, 2013

A good book for young or old

I love this book. My best friends son and i love reading and its a challenge to find a book we bolth like and this was a perfect match. I love how Beddor change... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byabsipswich June 9, 2010
LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Anyone who remembers the original Alice in Wonderland will truly be in awe of Beddor's creativity and his interpretation of Alyss and W... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byStarlordet June 5, 2018

One of my favorites

The whole series is just amazing!! I love this book series because it has no magic, no sex, and no Gore and yet it is interesting! There is little to no love a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 12, 2015

Once you read the story you'll never be same!

Once you read the story you'll never be same! Is´t true I swear I see an Alice in Wonderland book or image i just say in my mind "If they new the trut... Continue reading

What's the story?

Forget what you thought you knew about Alice and Wonderland -- this book purports to tell the truth behind the fairy tale.

Alyss, princess of the Queendom of Wonderland, barely escapes with her life when her Aunt Redd kills her parents in a bloody coup. Pursued by The Cat, an assassin created by Redd (a witch-like practitioner of Black Imagination), Alyss jumps through the Pool of Tears and ends up in Victorian London, where, after living as a street urchin and in an orphanage, she's adopted by the Liddell family of Oxford. \

\ Frustrated that no one will believe the story of her past, she's at first thrilled when family friend Charles Dodgson seems to believe her. But when he turns it into a fairy tale, she's devastated and resolves to forget Wonderland and assimilate as a normal British person. Eventually she grows up and forgets about Wonderland, or sees it only as a childish fantasy. But back in Wonderland her persecuted followers, the Alyssians, take up a guerrilla resistance to the harsh rule of Queen Redd.

Is it any good?

A sea-change is happening in children's book publishing, taking nearly a decade to come to its logical culmination in this book. Written by a movie producer, plotted and paced like a movie, and promoted like one too, THE LOOKING GLASS WARS is a book designed for one thing -- to grab kids by the seat of the pants and keep them excitedly turning the pages. It accomplishes its goal with verve and imagination.

Alice in Wonderland purists shouldn't even open the book -- this isn't for them. The Wonderland depicted here is both more horrific and more exciting than the surreal place Carroll imagined. Filled with monsters, magic, and a mixture of technologies, it's at once more fantastic and more grounded in the reality of war and totalitarian repression than its predecessor. Though The Looking Glass Wars is filled with topics for discussion (from literature to politics, history, and biography) and includes many parallels to events in today's world, this story is essentially fun -- well-written, well-constructed, lovingly thought-out and produced fun. It will do no harm at all to Carroll's classic -- which has always held more appeal for adults than children anyway -- and may interest a new generation of readers in the original.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this book compares to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. How does the author derive his story from Carroll's very different book? Do his interpretations seem reasonable?

Book details

  • Author: Frank Beddor
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin Group
  • Publication date: September 26, 2006
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 384
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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