Alyss Heart is the young heir to the throne of Wonderland -- she's charming and mischievous, has a loving family and her powers of imagination are stronger than anything anyone has ever seen before. Her best friend is Dodge, the son of a high-ranking palace guard. She spends her time playing practical jokes on her tutor, Bibwit Harte, and running from the only other child of her station, the dreadful Jack of Diamonds.
Life is good.
Until her Aunt Redd, exiled for years on Mount Isolation, returns to Wondertropolis. With the help of her smiling shape-shifting nine-lived assassin, The Cat, and her army of cards, she murders the King and Queen. Alyss is forced to flee for her life with the help of the Royal Bodyguard, Hatter Madigan.
During their rapid journey through the Pool of Tears, they are separated. Alyss ends up in Victorian London, where no one believes her story. Eventually, she meets the young Charles Dodgson, who promises to write it all down.
I wanted to like this book a whole lot more than I actually did. I was looking forward to it so much.
But, as much as I liked the idea and the plot, the actual writing didn't do a whole lot for me. (Rather like my reaction to Jasper Fforde books, actually.) For the most part, I didn't develop any sort of affection for the characters.
I liked the idea of Hatter Madigan's weaponry, and even the idea of him as a character, but he himself didn't do much for me. (Although -- there's a comic book miniseries starring Hatter Madigan with art by Ben Templesmith which looks extremely cool. If nothing else, the marketing campaign for this book is outstanding.)
It's a great, rip-roaring action-adventure novel. If that's what you're looking for, you'll be very happy with it.
I was just hoping for something more than that.