[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[One nice thing about these books is the cool art that is both used on the covers but also inserted into the book]
“Wonderland finally seems as if it’s getting back to normal. Queen Alyss is back on the throne, and reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Dodge. But the fight for Wonderland is far from over. King Arch, in nearby Boarderland, is conniving to overthrow everything for which Alyss and her friends have fought so hard. Even worse, King Arch has found an ally in the recently returned Redd, who has been biding her time and gathering new and evil assassins in the Catacombs of Paris. With enemies circling and danger looming, someone close to Alyss lets her down—and threatens the future of Wonderland forever.”
So as you can guess/see by the title, this is the second book in The Looking Glass Wars book series, and in my case, another re-read. [You can see my review of the first book here, which also explains why I’m re-reading them]. Despite that this was my second time reading, I was glad to be reminded that it seems with more books under his belt, the author was able to improve the complexity and general feel of the book despite that it’s still the same storyline and still a YA novel.
Just a warning, this is going to be predominantly spoilers, especially if you haven’t read the first book and may still want to.
The book starts a few months after the first ends, with everyone on edge that Redd, Aunt of Alyss and former tyrranical queen of Wonderland, will figure out how to return to Wonderland after having fled to the world of ‘normal’ reality.
This gives an interesting dynamic from the first book, because Redd is given actual depth to her character, whereas in the first book, the only thing her character was ‘murderous evil Aunt.’ We learn not only her real name, but about her childhood and more details on why she was removed from the line of Queens originally, as well as snippets as to how she became ‘evil’ and a user of ‘Black Imagination’ vs the family’s lineage of using ‘White Imagination.’ Parts of the book are her trying to figure out how to deal with our [the reader’s] reality in London primarily, gathering forces of unscrupulous people, as well as runaway Wonderlanders who escaped punishment. All the while planning her revenge and how to get back to Wonderland to steal her throne back away from Alyss.
The book also focuses on making a once minimal character in the first book into a prime character in the second. That is King Arch [the author likes making puns with names as you’ll see in the next book as well], a self-appointed King of the outside Borderlands of Wonderland who we’re repeatedly told/shown over and over is a huge sexist/chauvinist. I don’t know how it could have been slapped in my face anymore. Like I get it, we’re supposed to see the dude is a POS and we’re supposed to hate him, but he constant reminders of how sexist he is got really old really fast. We learn about him because with Redd away, he wants to take over Wonderland.
Meanwhile, Alyss is growing weary of being thrown into her royal duties so suddenly after so many years and is finding herself growing more exhausted and missing the home she made in London. The second book also however, touches more on the romantic tension between she and her childhood love, though frustrating because of how single-minded he is about getting revenge.
Ultimately, I liked this book more than the first for its improved character development and world building. However, I was still starting to get tired and bored of the book as a whole towards the last stretch of the last few chapters. I still was reminded [again] of how simple it is of a book [possibly because of the same reasons in my first review, going back to YA books from regular is kinda jarring] and there were still shortcuts in the book that were annoying. [One such example, is that there was a character introduced, then told they were dead, just kidding they weren’t, oh darn they’re actually dead now]
We’ll see how I feel now that I can finally get to the third book that I actually haven’t read yet.
I give Seeing Redd 3/5 Carnivorous, Teeth-Filled Roses
“Redd found her usual bitterness amplified by her passage through the Heart Crystal. The roses of her dress gnawed the air, their petal-mouths mutely opening and closing in the echo of her black melancholy as she stalked the predawn streets of this alien city, and lashed herself with gloomy thoughts. “