I've fallen a little behind with things again and I'm still struggling to write and get my mind back in gear. Writing on here does help some what and its a good way to pass time. Especially when time feels really stretched out and boredom is your constant companion. I thought since I still had Seeing Redd sat on my old TV stand, that I'd write my review up before I gave it back. If you've not read my review of the first book which is below this post, then you might want to do that. I don't plan to compare things in great detail, but this is the second book of the trilogy and it does pick up from the ending of the first one. This also means that I won't be looking at the characters or the setting in as much detail as I covered them last time. Seems like its going to be a short post then!
The book opens with a prologue about Redd wondering through her Looking Glass Maze and finding her sceptre which gives her access to her full powers. Redd wants to take back Wonderland and get rid of Alyss- her niece for good- and now it seems she is able to do just that. That part happens later in the book and we actually open with Alyss, Bibwit and Homburg Molly exploring the re-built Heart Place. Alyss is having a hard time getting use to being a Queen and spends sometime wishing she was back on earth or else she was a child again. But as much as the responsibilities of being queen get to her, she deals with them all really well. It makes her a much stronger character in in this book. The fear of Redd attacking again has Wonderland on the alert, but they face a new enemy this time around in the form of King Arch, who rules over one of the neighbouring countries. Arch tries to make everyone believe that Redd is actually back and he does get away with it until she actually appears.
At the end of the first book Redd and the Cat escape to earth and we get some chapters showing what she's up too. This keeps a similarity to the first book and we also get the Lewis Carrol character again! So, that was a nice touch. Redd is gathering members of a new army, so she can go back and try to win the throne again. There's an handful of new characters here, including an old friend of Bibwit, who is tells Redd about her own looking glass maze. This is mostly sub-plot though and I'm hoping that the real battle will take place in the 3rd book. Less time is spent with these characters because the focus is mostly on Alyss counting Arch.
There is also more relationship development between Alyss and Dodge, but for me this just gets lost almost the main plot. I'd like to see more happening with them, but I guess there wasn't enough time or space for that. I know its not a romance novel, but some love does move things along and everyone can easily connect with it. There is also another relationship here between Hatter and Weaver, which I thought worked at well and give another side to Hatter. The twist about Molly being their daughter is no great surprise, but it was fun to see the characters reactions to the news.
Molly developments a lot and becomes one of the main characters. She is used by Arch to blow up the travel system and also made to go against the queen as she blames herself for what happens. So, instead of spending most of the book by Alyss side being her bodyguard, Molly is capture by Arch and spend most of her time thinking about what she's done, questioning her nature and abilities and then meeting the parents who abandoned her. She helps fight for her freedom towards the end and is able to escape. I really like Molly and she is possibly my favourite character.
I enjoyed this book much more then the first one because I felt it was better written. The narrative structure was a lot tighter and snapper. The pace was also faster and I got into the story quickly. There is less of the Carroll-isms too and the tone of the vocabulary becomes much more of Beddor's own. Which does suit the narrative a lot better. The language also feels more adult aimed, though it still has a teenage age group. That helps to improve the quality as well. Also I found that the plot gets freer of making references to the actual Alice In Wonderland, and that helps it a lot to become a story in its own right. The fantasy, action/adventure genre is still present, but I found it less awing and nothing really new is added to the settings. The fighting scenes are still really good and we get to see much more of Alyss using her powers too.
I've got high hopes for the next one and I'd like to write about it so that I can have all three together. This means it might be another month before I write a new post. But since I've been reading books in-between each of them, I've lots more writing to be getting on with, though I'll try and not publish everything all at once!
Image from: www.booktopia.com.au