Secrets of the Looking Glass by J. Scott Savage
Format: E- ARC
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Number of pages: 368
Publishing: September 13th, 2022
Source: publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Opening Line: "Tyrus stumbled into our first period English class weighed down by his bulging backpack."
Secrets of the Looking Glass is the second book in The Lost Wonderland Diaries and follows Celia and Tyrus as they venture into the Looking Glass, encounter their mirror images and become entangled in a battle between the Red and White Queen's Armies.
I'm a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and so I thoroughly enjoyed my read of J. Scott Savage's first book in The Lost Wonderland Diaries series. It had all the memorable characters I've come to know and love, like the White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat. Savage then spun the story into a few new and pleasant directions. This latest addition also did not disappoint, I loved all the new characters, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Humpty and Dumpty, even the Bandersnatch (from Jabberwocky), the Black Sheep Pirate Captain and Lia and Ty, who are mirror images of Celia and Tyrus with the bonus of having received their "best qualities," or Celia's math/logic skills and Tyrus's imagination.
What would a Lewis Carroll adaptation be without some clever wordplay, nonsensicalness, a few acrostics, neologisms and portmanteau words? There's even some clever riddles and I love how it focuses on language, including words like "abhorrence and "deferential." There are so many details that I enjoyed, the way that each chapter ended with the title of the next chapter. The inclusion of chess and emphasizing how it improves skills like visualizing, planning moves in your head, increases your ability to analyze an outcome of your opponent's move and react. Skills that later became important when the battle between the White and Red Queen began. And oh, don't get me started on the wonderful battle scenes. So much fun. Savage really has a knack of taking all the wonderful things about Lewis Carroll's works and combining them into his stories giving them the feel of the original works, while being something completely unique, humorous, and exciting.
Then there's our two main characters, Celia and Tyrus, who because their skills were taken away had to learn to adapt, and in the end discover that within them are more abilities than they've ever realized before, that there is more too them then just their logic and imagination. That having flaws was a strength. I will forever remember the expression a "fish in roller skates." Overall, this was a lovely story that I zipped through and has me now looking forward to a re-read real soon.
**A huge thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the E-ARC**