Friday, March 18, 2011

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Alyss Heart can't stand that "master of fantasy" bunk; she knows that Lewis Carroll was nothing more than an incompetent reporter. After she generously shared her Wonderland experiences with this fledgling author, he totally botched the retelling, even mangling her name. Alyss, however, refuses to merely grouse; she and royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan decide to make another emergency excursion down the rabbit hole, opening our eyes to parallel realms that prim Rev. Dodgson never imagined. A refreshing take on a Victorian classic.

Summary from

I have to say that when I first looked at this book I wasn't sure If I was going to like it. My first thought was that the Alice in Wonderland story has been told and retold so many times that I didn't know how someone was going to make it new and interesting. 

I could not have been more wrong. Beddor does a fantastic job of painting a wonderland that is new and different from anything you have ever read about. The characters are the same, but he does a great job of tweaking them just enough as well. For instance, instead of having the "Mad Hatter" you have "Hatter Madigan". Not only is the name different but he also plays a much different role from his counterpart in the Carrol classic. 

The idea of a war for wonderland is fantastic and Beddor does a wonderful job of painting you into that war with the way that he writes. This book moves at a great pace. I never found myself having to fight through certain chapters or parts of the book to get to the next interesting section. 

I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next installment in the trilogy. I hope it meets the high expectations that the first book has set in my mind. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Chima

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn t enough, Jack finds out that he s not just another member of Weirlind he s one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he s in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack s official sponsor, they ll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

Summary from

The Warrior Heir is one of the best books I've read in at least the last 6 months. I'm glad about that because I was kind of on a string of mediocre books and it was getting frustrating. Chima does a fantastic job of getting you hooked from the first page. The book starts out kind of mysteriously and keeps you turning pages to see what's going to happen and how it is all going to tie together in the end. 

The main character, Jack, is a fantastic "hero". He's likable and you always find yourself pulling for him in whatever situation he finds himself in. He is very unassuming and kind of wants to stay out of the limelight. As the book moves along he doesn't have much of a choice in the matter so it's fun to see how he's going to handle himself. 

The storyline of the book is wonderful. It's very intriguing and fun to follow. The book has a great blend of "predictable" stuff and "twists". Just when you think you are honed in on what is going to happen at the end there is a new tweak added in that makes you rethink where the book might end up. There are also points in the book were I laughed out loud because some of the story is told in a small town in Ohio and there are some very typical small town things at play. 

If you are looking for a light read that will keep you entertained then this is the book for you. I can't wait to get into the second and third book in this series. 

My Rating: 5/5