Apr 29, 2021

Review--Looking Glass by Christina Henry

In four new novellas, Christina Henry returns to the universe she created for Alice and Red Queen, where magic runs more freely than anyone suspects, but so do secrets and blood.

Lovely Creature
In the New City lives a girl called Elizabeth, a girl who has a secret: she can do magic. But someone knows Elizabeth's secret--someone who has a secret of his own. That secret is a butterfly that lives in a jar, a butterfly made by a girl called Alice.

Girl in Amber
Alice and Hatcher are just looking for a place to rest. Alice has been dreaming of a cottage by a lake and a field of wildflowers, but while walking blind in a snowstorm they stumble into a castle that seems empty and abandoned...at least until nightfall.

When I First Came to Town
Hatcher wasn't always Hatcher. Once, he was a boy called Nicholas, and Nicholas fancied himself the best fighter in the Old City. No matter who fought him he always won. Then his boss tells him he's going to battle the fearsome Grinder, a man who never leaves his opponents alive.

The Mercy Seat
Alice has a secret--a secret that not even Hatcher knows yet, but pretty soon she won't be able to keep it from him.


I took a dive into my TBR pile and came up with Looking Glass by Christina Henry! This kind of brings another conclusion to her Alice duology from a few years back. I can’t remember the duology super well, but reading these stories helped remind me of things. Henry writes a much darker version of Wonderland and more modern and we venture back to that land with these stories that took place after Alice and Hatcher defeated the White Queen.

Lovely Creature was the first story and followed Elizabeth, Alice’s sister that she never really got to know. Elizabeth has herself a classic “Alice” adventure by following a strange birdman and soon finds herself in a new place that was odd and somewhat terrifying. There were so many nods to the classic Alice in Wonderland tale in this one that I was happy reading this new version with a character I really couldn’t remember from the first series. But I found myself enjoying the moment with Elizabeth as she proves that she is just like her older sister, and more savvy traditional “Alice” too.

Girl in Amber was a story involving our Alice. She and Hatcher are traveling in the woods trying to find shelter for the winter to come. It’s when Alice is left to her own devices that she finds a small cottage, but it’s anything but pleasant inside. It’s a house of horrors and Alice will have to be able to find the monster inside and defeat it if she ever wants to get back outside again.

When I First Came to Town is a story from Hatcher’s past. He remembers a time when he was younger and a fighter, before he worked for Rabbit. He was set to go up against an undefeatable champion, it was a true David and Goliath type story in that aspect. But then he meets Hattie, the girl who would be his first wife and everything changes.

The Mercy Seat involved Hatcher and Alice again as they continue their trek through the forest trying to find a place to live their lives together happily. It’s not long before they realize they are being followed and Alice has a vision that tells her of dangers ahead in a small village that they will have to pass through in order to get to their destination. But the village is not found of strangers or magic users…which as we know, Alice and Hatcher are both of those. It kind of reminded me of another story from some years back, something like The Lottery, but not quite in that sense.

The novellas were all fairly quick reads. They were enjoyable ones too, I just wish I had better memories of the original duology. All the characters rang familiar of course, but it was the history of what had already come to pass that I was struggling to remember. But, it’s not overly necessary to remember those things and still enjoy this one! Though if you haven’t read the original duology, that is still recommend since these are new characters and whatnot. I loved how Christina made Wonderland her own in this series. It’s a darker, grittier version of the place than we’ve seen before. It’s definitely not a place you want to follow a white rabbit too!

Looking Glass was the conclusion to the Alice duology I never knew I needed! It brought about resolution to the heroes I grew to love in this series. It was fun read, even if I couldn’t quite remember how I got to the this place to begin with…a very Alicelike notion and perfectly fitting for this series, don’t you think?


Overall Rating 4/5 stars





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