This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer has a review of the book ArchEnemy, by Frank Beddor, which is the third book in a trilogy based on the world in Alice in Wonderland.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Justin L., Teen Reviewer

archenemyBook Title: Archenemy
Author: Frank Beddor
Book Format: Book
Year of Publication: 2009
Targeted Audience: Teens (about high school age, people who have liked the other two books in the series, The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd)
Rating: 5 stars

The third book of the Looking Glass Wars triology, Archenemy is the close of the Wonderland War for the throne between Alyss Heart, her aunt Redd Heart, and King Arch from the neighboring kingdom of Boarderland. King Arch, with the help of the Caterpillar Oracles, has constructed the trap WILMA (a trap constructed from the silk of the six Caterpillar Oracles, it can block the imaginative powers of the Heart Crystal, the source of imagination for both Wonderland and all other dimensions and lands, Earth included). Imagination in Wonderland, for those who are gifted with the ability, can be used to create (or conjure illusions, or even create objects from thin air). The two wonderlanders strongest with this ability are Alyss Heart and Redd Heart, the members of the royal Heart family. While Alyss Heart is a practitioner of White Imagination (positive imagination, associated with creation), Redd Heart works with Black Imagination (negative imagination, associated with destruction). With the activation of WILMA, however, the two Heart women are rendered powerless as Arch takes the crown, and must work together to keep the Wonderland throne with its rightful heir.

I enjoyed this book very much (hence the 5 star rating). The setting of the book is in both Wonderland and on Earth, and the two worlds are connected through a wormhole-like place known as the Pool of Tears. I really liked Beddor’s version of Wonderland; though loosely based off of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it is filled with Beddor’s own details and ideas, effectively transforming it into a new world (examples of this would be the Hatter Maddigan of the Milliner military, the assassin Cat, the Checkerboard Desert, and the various card and chess soldiers, weapons, and, of course, the entire concept of imagination). I also enjoyed Beddor’s plotline. Though there is romance in the book, romance is not focused on because the book is about the war of succession for Wonderland’s throne (After reading too many Young Adult fiction books that focused excessively on the love lives of the characters, this was a refreshing relief for me). The story itself is suspenseful, and, being told through the third person omniscient perspective, the thoughts of all the characters are shown to the readers, pulling the reader into the world of the story.

To be honest, there was nothing in the book that I did not like; I stayed up late in the night just to finish this book. However, it is better for readers to read the first two books in the series (The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd) before reading this book, as Archenemy leaps straight into the story, sometimes without providing much background information, so it can be difficult for readers unfamiliar to the trilogy to understand some of the story. Even so, I would recommend all three books to any reader.

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