by Frank Beddor
I really enjoyed the first book in the series a lot but while I did still like this book it wasn't as good as the first one.Summary: Alyss of Wonderland's rules has only just begun, and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed royal bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge.
Alyss' life is a challenging mix of duty, love and tough decisions, and then a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of Her Imperial Viciousness' return and have everyone Seeing Redd.
Has Redd somehow freed herself and her chief assassin, The Cat, from the confides of the Heart Crystal? If not, then who has resurrected Redd's brutal foot soldiers the Glass Eyes and set them loose to attack Wonderland on all sides?
The main issue I had with this one was the fight scenes. Now, fight scenes are fine, I like fight scenes, but I like them in moderation (especially the kind present in this book). It kind of felt like the majority of the book was made up of drawn out fights and battles that didn't really add anything to the story at all (you could probably skip over 99% of those scenes in this book and still completely understand what is going on in the story).
It wasn't even just the frequency and length of those scenes that bugged me, it was the type of scenes they were. They were really repetetive and it felt like they were just thrown in there in a gratuitous sort of way and were weighed down with so much pointless crap the reader didn't need to know about. Basically, it was like...like how it would feel reading someones transcribed play-by-play of every fight scene the Transformers movies (which is fine to watch, but reading scenes like that can get a bit dull and excessive).
Another issue I had with this book were Redd's chapters. I just found them a chore to get through, they were mind numbingly boring and Redd felt more like a caricature of a villain instead of being a fully fleshed out character and it felt very childish (maybe she was like that in the first book too, I can't remember).
The world was still interesting and creative, the plot entertaining for the most part, and it has quite a few really great characters but it felt like there was too much of the stuff I didn't like and not enough of the best parts of the story.
The world didn't really develop more than in the first book, and while there were character and relationship developments happening they were vastly overshadowed by the stuff that didn't even really matter--it felt like important conversations, conversations it would've been great to read, were skipped over in favour of page after page of fighting that explains in detail the way a bunch of nameless card soldiers were killed by a bunch of nameless enemies who were then killed in the exact same way they were in the last 46643565 fight scenes.
Although this review is pretty negative, I really did still like the book and intend to read the next book in the trilogy. I'd rate this one 2.5 stars out of 5...maybe 3. Let's go with three, because the lower rating is purely because it disappointed me in comparison to the first.