I’d been looking forward to the next book in The Looking Glass Wars series, Seeing Redd, for quite a while, so when I saw a copy I jumped at the chance to read it. I’d started with the short series of the Hatter M comic (which I loved, partially for the artwork and partially for the brilliant story) and then moved on to The Looking Glass Wars. I mowed through that book in a weekend, entranced by the new take on Wonderland and its vicious war machine. I expected to love this book.
Was I ever disappointed. The story is clearly a middle space; something that intends to lead somewhere but could not possibly stand on its own. It has no merit other than setting up book 3. And maybe 4. And however many other books they intend to push out.
It is mostly a rehash of the Hatter M series, from a mildly different point of view. Redd ends up in England by some quirk of fate/imagination and goes through much of what Hatter went through, meeting many of the same characters but getting along with them because she’s evil. There’s a minor skirmish back in Wonderland and some characters have some emotions. That’s about it. Book over. Beddor is clearly setting this up for the Epic Battle in book 3. Or whatever, depending on how long he strings his audience along and can play on this for money.
Right there, in the dust jacket About the Author segment, I found the explanation for my disappointment. Frank Beddor is a movie producer. He spent 3 years coming up with the ideas behind the first book. This second book came out in under a year. He’s working on a movie about the saga. This book was not written for itself, but to try to build up a Looking Glass following that resembles the Harry Potter phenomenon. Sure, it’s for a slightly higher age range, but the idea is still the same. Books > Movies> notoriety.
What I wouldn’t give to trade Seeing Redd for book 1 and my naivete.
ETA: John Scalzi addresses the topic of writing descending into hackery today. I think this applies perfectly in this situation.