I really liked the book. It was exciting; had a very Tim Burton feel to it. But it also had some parts I felt were really lacking. I think with a few hundred extra pages it could have been amazing and the problems I detail below could have been fixed.
Alyss vs Alice.
One of the things that really bothered me in this book was when the tudor to the Lidells asks Alyss to write her name on the board. Alyss had raised her hand and clarified that her name was not spelled like that, so the tudor offers her a chance to correct it. But when Alyss respells it ‘Alyss’ the tudor yells at her and makes her write on the board ‘Alice’ 100 times.
If the teacher was not going to believe her about a different spelling, why did she say Alyss could correct it in the first place?
The Looking Glass Maze.
What the heck was the point of this part? This was the crucial part in the hero’s journey when they learn to use their unique skills, but I didn’t feel like Alyss actually learned to DO anything. She just sees some visions that she has to finally decide are not real, and learn to control her temper, and suddenly she is a bad-ass, imagination wielding warrior princess?
No. Just. No.
Young Alyss and old Alyss.
My biggest complaint with this book was that I didn’t really like Alyss. I liked her when she was young. She had spunk, she used her imagination naughtily. But as soon as she turns into Alice I just disliked her. Boring boring boring. When she came back to Wonderland she was whiny. And then she went through the maze and she was much too powerful. Must refer Frank Beddor to Sanderson’s rules of magic. THERE HAVE TO BE LIMITATIONS! Otherwise the characters just get boring.
I enjoyed the secondary characters much more than the primary characters. Dodge seemed like the only character (after Alyss became Alice) who was developed well.
I would give this a 3 star rating, but because it did do a good job of capturing my attention and the illustrations were beautiful- I will give it a 3.5 rating.