In this second volume of the Looking Glass Wars trilogy, Alyss is just becoming familiar with her new role as Queen of Wonderland — and trying to sort our her feelings for her childhood friend, the guardsman Dodge. Her enjoyment of the peaceful state of her kingdom is short-lived, though, because King Arch, the passionately misogynistic and extremely arrogant king across the border in Boarderland, is out to remove Alyss from her queenship. (He adamantly objects to any land being ruled by a woman.) Not to mention that Alice’s evil aunt Redd has popped up on Earth and is raising a ruthless army to return to Wonderland and take it back for herself. Will Alyss and her friends be able to resist a coalition between Arch and Redd? Well, probably, but lots of action will ensue first…
There’s not a whole lot to say about this book that hasn’t already been said in my review of the first book of the series, but I just have to let you know that this sequel is fully as enjoyable as the first volume. It’s pretty rare that a book actually makes me laugh out loud, but this one did — I read most of it with a smile on my face, because the gently yet pervasively tongue-in-cheek narrative style is just so amusing. And Beddor’s unbounded creativity continues to shine on every page. Kids will love the action, adults will love the humor, and everyone will appreciate the colorful, wacky, unique world which Beddor has created in this series. There’s not a whole lot in the way of substance here, to be sure. The weightiest theme is probably loyalty to duty versus loyalty to loved ones — both Alyss and Hatter struggle to rank their priorities in this regard (and if after reading the first book you didn’t think Hatter could possibly experience this dilemma, well, read this book. Things have changed 😉 ). Generally, good and evil are simply defined and a bit clichéd (though, of course, this fits perfectly with the book’s tone). However, the characters are likable enough — and the tone so delightfully humorous — that it works. The story is basically fluffy fluff. Fun fluffy fluff, though!