Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alice Re-Thought

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: Fantasy
Summary/Review: In this re-imagination of Alice in Wonderland, Beddor tells the story of a violent world where practitioners of White Imagination and Black Imagination battle for control of Wondertropolis and the Heart Crystal.

At Alyss Heart's 7th birthday party, Heart Palace is seized by Redd, the queen's sister, who has planned for years to take back the throne that she believes is rightfully hers. Alyss is forced to flee through the Pool of Tears, on the other side of which is Victorian England. There she lives for 13 years, meeting the Reverend Charles Dodgson, and inspiring his famous tale, although she is very disappointed with what he does with her story.

Finally, Alyss is able to return to Wonderland and lead those who have dutifully followed her in rebellion against Redd. First, though, she must successfully pass through the Crystal Maze to prove that she is the rightful heir to the throne, and to master the power of her imagination. Finally, she faces Redd, who chooses to escape into the Heart Crystal rather than face defeat, thus ensuring a sequel.

Although an interesting premise, Beddor retreats too much into cliche and bathos. Rather than allowing his characters to fully develop, one big event changes everything for them, and suddenly they all have both the motivation and ability to defeat the evil Redd. Unfortunately, Beddor does not bring the reader along, making the final battle scene somewhat unbelievable.

Monday, December 24, 2007

NYTimes Book Review essay

I thought this essay from the NY Times Book Review was interesting.
You can read the NEA's report here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

How shall I start?

I think I'll start off by joining the 2008 TBR (To Be Read) Challenge! I've never done a challenge before, but I think I'm up to it. Books I've read will have links to my review. What books should I pull off the shelf/ever-growing list? How about (in no particular order):
1) My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
2) We Became Like a Hand - Carol Ortlip
3) Setting Free the Bears - John Irving
4) The Stand - Stephen King
5) The Good Husband - Gail Godwin
6) Lady's Maid - Margaret Forster
7) Handling Sin - Michael Malone
8) Vellum: The Book of All Hours - Hal Duncan
9) No Certain Rest - Jim Lehrer
10) Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson
11) The Ruby Ring - Diane Haeger
12) The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty

Alternates:
1) The Water Method Man - John Irving
2) Out - Natsuo Kirino
3) Stars of David - Abigail Pogrebin
4) The Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
5) The Last Town on Earth - Thomas Mullen
6) Going After Cacciato - Tim O'Brien
7) No Angel - Penny Vincenzi
8) The Raven's Bride - Elizabeth Crook
9) Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin
10) The Rule of Four - Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
11) The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
12) Time and Again - Jack Finney