Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Distiller: Hikari Loftus
3.5/5 Stars

Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X
by Frank Beddor with Adrienne Kress
408 pages
Automatic Publishing (April 19, 2016)

For fans of Frank Beddor’s NYT Best selling “Looking Glass Wars” series, this prequel trilogy ought to be exciting. Where did Hatter Madigan come from and what are the origins of his hat?

Goodreads Synopsis:
Welcome to Wonderland’s prestigious Millinery Academy: where those born to protect the queendom train to become spies, assassins, and bodyguards. With all that to deal with, not to mention following in his popular older brother’s footsteps, just getting through Imagination Class seems impossible.

And that’s before he starts seeing ghosts lurking in the corridors…

When students begin behaving strangely, Hatter and his friends must discover the mystery behind the ghosts, and the headmaster’s suspicious behavior before the entire student body is possessed!

I have not read the Looking Glass Wars, so I’m new to this world and I feel like I’ve missed out! I liked learning about Hatter from his very beginning, so it will be cool to see how he evolves into his character in the LGW. On the other hand, I think LGW fans are going to love seeing him at his military/millinery beginnings.

This is a middle-grade read, and it’s one of those books I hope my kids find on the shelves. It’s all action! There were also some strong themes on bullying and learning to be yourself that I really liked.

I loved the world building in this and all the spins and creativity used from the original Alice in Wonderland story. Just some very fun and imaginative stuff, all with a familiar feel for Alice lovers. (some cool and beautiful imagery) I am curious what Alice purists think about these stories! While liked AlW, I’m not a dedicated fan, so for me, I just adored this spin on it.

This has got all the familiar tropes (orphan, special, talented, hero etc) but I didn’t feel dragged down by them. I was pretty into the story line and understanding the new world and how it worked to care about that.

I did feel like there was a lot of ground and lot of time covered in this book. It seemed a bit hurried and some of the details cut short just to make sure everything fit. Hatter advanced three years in school in this one story! I would have liked for it to be drawn out a bit more and given Hatter a bit more time to learn and grow a bit more organically. 

I’ll definitely be checking out The Looking Glass Wars! Has anyone read them? I’m very interested in what you think about this prequel.


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