Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

#7 of 200

Frank Beddor has completed a trilogy worth of the adoration it drew its influences from. Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars trilogy is based on the Adventures of a well loved favourite, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In the intense conclusion to the Looking Glass Wars adventure, Arch Enemy, Wonderland has lost it’s powers of imagination and Queen Alyss is powerless. Borderlands King Arch’s machinations in Seeing Redd have given him the power to turn Wonderland from a Queendom to a Kingdom, and he will be wearing the crown.

Beddor continues to create an enticing new world based on the Wonderland of our childhood. In his characters, Alyss Heart, Dodge Anders, Bitwit Hare, General Doppleganger, Rose Heart (Redd) and the Cat we see a familiar cast of faces. It is a wonderful feeling to see favourite’s from Tweedle Dee and Deedle Dum to Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter being re-imagined into the strong and quick witted characters of Beddor’s trilogy.

Unfortunately, Arch Enemy is not all imagination and tarty tarts; Beddor often rushes his writing, ending scenes before the reader is ready and leaving characters in repeated cliff hangers as he checks in on another scene. While an effective way to keep readers interested, it is more irritating than suspenseful and could have been edited better.

While Beddor does introduce some new and interesting characters, adding to those familiar from The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd, he fails to give most of his characters any depth. Most of the leading cast are well formed for a childrens/teen read but could have been developed a little further for the older readers. Dodge is single minded but romantic, Alyss is spontaneous, Bitwit is the learned and loving but droning tutor. But readers expect more. The romance between Dodge and Alyss has been developing for three books, and is only ever mentioned in passing or as an after thought. The relationship between estranged Father and Daughter, Hatter Madigan and Homburg Molly, is observed but nothing is done to fix it.

Arch Enemy is a wonderful conclusion to a thrilling series that returns us to the world of a favored heroine. In Alyss Heart we see the curiosity, stubborness and intelligence that originally drew us to Carroll’s Alice. I encourage lovers of Alice to check out this series and catch up with old friends.
Raiding Bookshelves Rating
Judging by the Cover: The Arch Enemy cover fits in nicely with the cartoon-like covers of the Looking Glass trilogy. The cover features King Arch of the Borderlands arrayed in his technologically charged armour as he tackles the miracles of Wonderland.

Originally Published: 11 January 2011 (Raiding Bookshelves)

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