My friend Seven originally introduced me to The Looking Glass Wars several years ago, and I owe him big for that.
ArchEnemy is the last installment of the epic dark fantasy/political thriller/fairy tale, and it's pretty damn amazing. Queen Alyss (whom we Earth-dwellers have mistakenly misnamed Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame--way to mess it all up, Lewis Carroll) has put on hold her war with her evil aunt, Queen Redd, because King Arch of the neighboring nomadic kingdom has invaded Wonderland and seized that queendom for himself, endangering not only Wonderland, but the magic of Imagination throughout all the worlds--including ours. (Been feeling dull lately? Arch's fault.)
Beddor doesn't waste a lot of time rehashing characters and plots fleshed out in previous books, so I probably wouldn't recommend this one as an introduction to the series. And if you haven't read the other books, I don't want to give too too many spoilers.
Alyss and her friend/guard/ought-to-be-lover Dodge butt heads some more against their better judgement. What romance is in this series is both compelling and refreshing. These people are dealing with some heavy stuff--loved ones have died, battling forces of good and evil, scary guys whose touch can blister you to death, fate of all the worlds... There are important decisions to be made that will affect pretty much everyone in existence, and it was nice (though not always pretty) to see Alyss and Dodge disagree pretty vehemently about the way some things should be handled. Sometimes, they even disappoint each other. (That right there pretty much cements this series as unique.)
If you have read previous books (don't bother looking, I haven't reviewed those--it's been a while since I've read them myself), then you know that Hatter Maddigan--Alice's Mad Hatter turned Alyss's most famous member of the
Oh, have I not convinced you to read this series yet? Then how about this? Queen Redd wears a dress of roses that can eat you. And the cute kitten from Alice in Wonderland? Actually an assassin.
Rating: Kick Ass+
(True: Chuck Roven, producer of The Dark Knight, has apparently signed on to the movie version of The Looking Glass Wars. Hurry up and make this film, Hollywood!)