Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alice - Twisted Once, Twice...

I've always been a big fan of the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I was even Alice for Halloween in fifth grade. I am an even bigger fan of Through the Looking Glass. I love the idea of being transported to another world and seeing amazing and different things. I even liked the Disney movie, though the books are much better!

As I've become an adult, my perspective on all things has least, I think it has :P and so I've come to the realization, of course, that good comes with bad. In other words, rereading the Alice books, I now see new nuances and pick up on different themes. Not all of them as cute or fun as the talking, dancing flowers, or the idea of drinking a potion and growing as big as a house.

As a huge fan of dystopia books, science fiction, and twisted rewrites of fairy tales, I was extremely excited when I found the first book in the Looking Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor. This series, including The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd, and Arch-Enemy is a science-fiction rewrite of the original Alice stories. In this series, Alyss Heart, Princess of Wonderland is orphaned when her evil aunt, Redd, has both her royal parents assassinated. Alyss if forced to flee with her parents' bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, to our world. There she meets Reverand Dodgson, who incorrectly publishes her life story as a horrible book, Alice in Wonderland. Years later, Alyss must return to Wonderland, a kingdom run on imagination that fuels the creative genius of other worlds, and claim her right to the throne. Filled with wonderful new technological twists (robotic cards that morph into soldiers) and interesting takes on well-known characters (the Cheshire Cat is the Queen's favorite assassin, half man, half cat), this series is full of adventure, danger, wonder, political intrugue and even some romance. A definite favorite of mine!
Another really great rewrite of the Alice series was actually just done as a miniseries on the television channel, Syfy. "Alice" is set 150 years after "the Alice" of our story originally ventured into Wonderland. The current Alice, is a martial arts instructor who has fallen for a guy named Jack Chase. Unfortunately, when he gives her a ring and asks her to come home to meet his family, Alice freaks and kicks him out. He is then kidnapped and Alice chases his captors...straight into Wonderland! Alice journeys through a Wonderland that has fallen into where the Queen of Hearts captures "Oysters," earth-dwellers, and distills their stolen emotions into teas that keep the Wonderlanders in check. I do not want to spoil the ending for anyone who may see this miniseries in the future, but I do have to say that I loved the way that Wonderland's capitol city rises above an ancient one, the flying mechanical flamingos, the Dodo and his Library, the Mad March assassin, and of course, Alice's devoted companion, the Hatter! An excellent and fun version of Alice!

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