Fantasy has just declared war on reality.
*Grins* Isn't that the best tagline for a book trilogy ever? Ok, maybe not EVER, but I really like it. I have always been a huge fan of all things Alice in Wonderland, so I will be the first to admit this book review might be a little biased. However, upon speaking with others who have read and enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy (the third is forthcoming), I am glad to know it wasn't just my personal Alice in Wonderland obsession taking over.
Put simply, the trilogy is based on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland... but it is much, much more than that. The white rabbit is now Bibwit Harte, an albino tutor with extraordinarily large ears and Alyss' Chief Advisor. The Mad Hatter is now Hatter Madigan, the Chief Bodyguard whose tophat folds down into a series of spinning blades, and is the world's most deadly weapon. Imagination is just like magic in these books, and Alyss is the expert in utilizing White Imagination. Of course, her opponents, namely Redd (Queen of Hearts), employ Black Imagination. And, let's not forget The Cat (Cheshire Cat) who is a deadly assassin employed by Redd, who has wolverine-like claws and nine lives.
These books are surprisingly violent... although the violence is fantastical (an ace of hearts gets beheaded, a bomb made out of crystal blows up a tower, etc etc), it is still present. There is much war, espionage, and intrigue... perfect for young readers for whom realistic violence is not appropriate, but they want to read about it none-the-less. These books are particularly good in the audio version. In fact, they are so good that way, I would recommend listening to them rather than reading them, if possible. But in either format, I would recommend these books to tweens and younger teens, both boys and girls, especially those who like retellings of old tales and fantasy stories.
Side note: These books are currently being made into films, and there is a graphic novel series debuting at Comic-Con featuring Hatter Madigan.