{Review/Giveaway} SEEING REDD by Frank Beddor

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars, #2)
    SHE SHOULD have been disoriented, her image sneering back at her from the countless dust-filmed looking glasses that surrounded her, but she was too consumed with the quest that had brought her to this maze whose time had passed, its purpose unfulfilled. 

"I've come!" she yelled, the words ricocheting off the cloudy looking glasses without cease or loss of volume. The noise pained Redd's ears, but what did she care? She would endure anything. She had made it this far. She would not leave until she had found what she'd come for.

In every direction, mirrored corridors branched off into the dusky reaches of the maze. She tried to locate the scepter in her imagination's eye, but her powers were apparently useless. She would have to find it the old fashion way, by systematically walking every corridor, seeking the scepter as might a blind, rudderless fool.

"Not much of a maze, are you?" she muttered, because she discovered that she could pass from one corridor to another merely by walking through the looking glass walls. Hers was a phantom maze, the ghostly residue of what it had once been. A sudden, hissing sound at her back.

(Pages 1-2, US paperback edition)

“It's just . . . peace isn't really so peaceful,” Alyss sighed.

~Alyss Heart, SEEING RED

It only feels right to kick off our A WEEK OF WONDERLAND event by highlighting another book in THE LOOKING GLASS WARS trilogy by Frank Beddor. After all, it's the first series I personally had ever read that took the world of Wonderland for a transformative spin. You can find my review of the first book in the series here, and you can find Bonnie's review of it here! Now this review might end up a little on the short side, considering that it can be hard to highlight a sequel without spoiling important plot tidbits from the first book. It is my hope that everyone gives this series a try at some point, so I certainly don't want to spoil your potential fall down the rabbit hole with too much detail.

The safest summery is this; Alyss Heart was once the Princess of Wonderland. Her villainous Aunt Redd and twisted assassin The Cat stage an ambush, killing the Queen and King and taking over Wonderland. In her escape, Alyss is sent through a magical pool called The Pool of Tears and ends up in the Victorian London of our time. By the time events lead her back to Wonderland, her home is not the same and neither is she, in fact she is holy unprepared for a fight to win back the Kingdom she had told herself was just a blip of imagination in her head.

In SEEING RED, Alyss Heart has just barely settled a precarious perch upon her throne. I love a book that really highlights how difficult it is to be a leader, how complex the workings of politics can be, and Beddor does that wonderfully. Even though her Aunt Redd has supposedly been banished, there are scars left on Wonderland from her rule, and the fragile peace Alyss is trying to nurture is just that . . . fragile, threatened by internal and external means. She needs allies, even though not all of them are trustworthy, and she needs to monitor the citizens who thrived under Redd's Black Imagination rule. (Imagination is magic in Wonderland, what is in your head has power and Black Imagination is the equivalent of dark magic while White Imagination is good.)

Banishing villains is never as easy as we might hope, and while Redd is trapped she is not completely gone. I love that this book gives the reader a little more opportunity to get into her head, and it humanizes her character just a little without nullifying the fact that she's a villain.  The battles that ensue in this book are vibrant, the kind you can imagine on a movie screen. Who wouldn't pay to watch a pack of cards unfurl into a humanoid army? The steampunk themes I loved so much in the first book are definitely present in SEEING REDD, as is that very particularly Wonderlandian snark and humor. The thing about this series is that it protects everything you loved about the original story and characters, but re-imagines them. It highlights friendship and the fallibility of the human spirit, it asks us if there's a difference between vengeance and justice. The thing I think I like the most about this world is that it goes through the same struggles as ours, despite the fact that the Imagination is so wonderfully powerful there. Abilities to conjure and change things with your mind are not an end all solution to all problems, which is good because if everything could be wiped into picture perfect order with a thought, readers wouldn't have much of a book to read.

If you like a high fantasy story where every character has a place on the chessboard, where despite the extraordinary there are still very relate-able themes of love and loss, doubt and betrayal, then SEEING REDD by Frank Beddor is a book for you. Let it whisk you into a darker Wonderland that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( There is a burgeoning potential for romance between two characters, but with all the plot going on there isn't a lot of acting upon it. )
Language: PG  ( No cursing. )
Violence:  PG13 Moments of violence throughout the book, mostly in line with fast paced fighting. The book doesn't really linger on too much gore though. )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

If the title itself weren't clear, the cover design lets you know that this story is a little darker than the first. Roses with sharp teeth bleeding into the crimson dress of Redd, a villanous figure in the story. I feel like she was captured so perfectly here, a little blurry around the edges (for reasons you will find out if you read)
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Frank Beddor
Release Date: Oct. 16, 2008
Publisher: Speak/Penguin Books
Recieved: Purchases


Wonderland finally seems as if it’'s getting back to normal. Queen Alyss is back on the throne, and reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Dodge. But the fight for Wonderland is far from over. King Arch, in nearby Boarderland, is conniving to overthrow everything for which Alyss and her friends have fought so hard. Even worse, King Arch has found an ally in the recently returned Redd, who has been biding her time and gathering new and evil assassins in the Catacombs of Paris. With enemies circling and danger looming, someone close to Alyss lets her down —and threatens the future of Wonderland forever.



During A Week of Wonderland,
We're giving away a book of YOUR CHOICE
from the event!

It could be SEEING REDD!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL to any country that Book Depository ships to.  You can also claim an e-book as a prize; it doesn't have to be a physical copy!

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