* Prices may differ from that shown
I'd had this one recommended to me by a few people who know my reading tastes, so when Borders was closing (oh Borders, we will miss you) I picked a copy up for around £3, though Amazon has it for £4.99.
The writing style, I would say, is aimed at teenagers, younger readers may struggle. The idea is that Alice in Wonderland actually happened, that the whole thing was real, but when the young Aliss told it to Lewis Carroll he thought it was a fairy story, and rewrote it as such, taking out all of the bloody bits.
Retellings and alternative viewpoints can sometimes be very lovely. Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, for example, manages to very gently mock Macbeth. This, however, I didn't like. It felt as though it was disrespectful to the original source material -- silly, because anyone who picks this up surely did so because they liked Alice in Wonderland. The violence felt made extreme just to show how shocking and daring the author could be, and I didn't find myself liking any of the characters enough to care what happened to them by the end. They were all too two-dimensional to become fond of.
There are other books in the series but I won't be reading them. Mark this one as "trying too hard to be clever".
The central premise of this book is this: the story of Alice's adventures in Wonderland, as recorded by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), is all lies. Alice, who spells her name Alyss, told the story of her childhood and how it was destroyed to Dodgson but he didn't believe she was telling the truth, and made it into a silly children's book. "The Looking Glass Wars", is the true story. Alyss Heart was the princess of Wonderland until, on her seventh birthday,her evil aunt Redd killed her parents. Alyss was nearly murdered too, but she and Hatter Madigan, the Queen's faithful guard, jumped through a puddle. unfortunately, they were separated, and Alyss found herself alone in England. the book tells the story of these events, how Alyss fared in England, and what happened when she finally managed to get home to Wonderland.
I enjoyed reading "The Looking Glass Wars", but I think this book is better suited to the child audience they are written for. The concept is interesting, but the characters are two-dimensional and the plot simplistic. there are some nice descriptions, but overall, the detail is very sparse. there are some characters I would have liked to know more about, and I found Alyss herself to be unbelievable -- she was very mature at 7 years old, and there was little development in her character between that age and the age she is by the end of the book, 20.
It was an enjoyable read, but nothing special. There is a sequel to this book, "Seeing Redd", and other accompanying volumes, as well as another forthcoming title in the series.