I finished my first RIP Challenge book at lunch yesterday. One down, three to go!
I read Looking Glass War for last year’s RIP challenge and enjoyed it. Since I had the next book in the series, Seeing Redd (be sure to click on the link, it goes to the book’s website which is filled with art and goodies), I figured it would be good to continue with tradition. Redd is Ayss Heart’s evil aunt. Redd was supposed to be a queen of Wonderland but her parents decided that she was not up to the task and gave the right of succession to Redd’s younger sister, Genevieve. In Looking Glass War, Redd gets her revenge at the very beginning, killing the Queen, her sister, and the King. She would have killed seven-year-old Alyss too, but with the help of Hatter Madigan, the Queen’s bodyguard, they escape into the Pool of Tears. Alyss lives on earth for 13 years as Alice Liddell. Eventually she returns to Wonderland to confront Redd. She wins, or does she?
Seeing Redd picks up not long after the first book ends. Alyss is queen, Heart Palace has been rebuilt, and Wonderland is beginning to get back to normal. Of course it doesn’t last long. King Arch of Borderland, the country next to Wonderland, is power hungry and wants to be king of Wonderland too. He attacks Wonderland but makes it so that it appears that Redd has returned. One of my favorite scenes comes during this attack. Alyss and company have retreated to Wondronia, a vacation spot for Wonderlanders that sounds like a cross between a resort spa and Disneyland. I say this because there are rides for the kids, one of which is the T-Cup ride. This made me laugh because I have been on the spinning Teacup ride at Disneyland. But notice it is “T” not “tea.” These are not spinning teacups it turns out, but spinning airplane like things, and of course, one breaks off from the ride and flies across Wondronia.
I also love the caterpillars. They are oracles and one will appear from nowhere, smoking his hookah to blow smoke in Alyss’s face. I can only imagine what they are smoking (magic mushrooms perhaps?) because the smoke sends Alyss or whoever else they’ve puffed on, into a visionary trance.
The book was fun to read in spite of it being very violent. Since most of the characters had already appeared in the first book there was not much in the way of character development. Plot, plot, plot zips along at a fast clip. I kind of wished it would slow down sometimes. One of the characters, Homborg Molly is a “halfer,” half regular Wonderlander and half Milliner (a “race” with special abilities). She carries a big chip on her shoulder because halfers are often scorned and looked down on. She always feels like she has something to prove. There is movement in the book towards her accepting herself but it is not resolved. It is obvious that there will be a third book in which Redd and Alyss have a final showdown. I hope the issue of Molly’s halfer status is sorted out in it too.