Looking Glass Wars 3: Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

January 21st, 2010 by Brian Leave a reply »

Frank Beddor was the first author that I hosted in my library, so the Looking Glass Wars has a bit of nostalgia for me. When I read Beddor’s books, I can hear his voice coming through (and when the narrative gets excited, I remember when he jumped on a desk and yelled to the kids).

Arch Enemy has the same fun from the other books. Hatter Madigan shows up (I’d be angry if he didn’t) complete with his Millinery arsenal. As in Seeing Redd, we witness more of the Hatter’s family life. This book definitely has an emphasis on developing the character of Homburg Molly. She’s the one to show up in England and interact with the Liddells and Charles Dodgson.

We get to see more of Dodgson’s day-to-day life. What makes it LGW, though, is when the assassin with razor blade fingerprints shows up to harass the Liddells.

You definitely need to read the first two books in order to understand Arch Enemy. It had been a couple of years since I did, so it took me some time to recall the plotline of the others. Beddor does a good job of re-describing characters but does not spend much time re-telling history.

If you’re a fan of the caterpillar oracle council, you get to see the whole rainbow discussing the fate of Wonderland. Part of the intrigue is trying to figure out the caterpillars’ motivation. Pay attention to them, though, because their part grows throughout the book.

For me the ending seemed kind of rushed. I was reading, thinking, “There’s ten pages left…how is this going to resolve?” I pictured Alyss and Dodge as in their teens but then some artwork inside the book makes Dodge look more Han Solo-ish. Also, there’s a marriage proposal brewing that came out of nowhere. Sure, it adds to the relationship with Alyss and Dodge, but it seemed kindof tacked on to me. I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts.

This is an enjoyable book and fans of the series won’t be disappointed. It says that it’s the conclusion of the trilogy, but Beddor left the world wide open for more exploration. Expect more Hatter comics and online games.


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