Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

Through the Looking-Glass

Through the Looking-Glass Review

Through the Looking-Glass is an 1871 novel written by Lewis Carroll and it is a sequel to ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ which was released in 1865. It is somewhat on par with its predecessor.

First I will talk about the plot. The book is very short once again and it is divided into 12 chapters. Looking Glass House is the first chapter in which Alice gets transported to this world once again, but by different means now. It is a fairly well done chapter and a really good beginning, albeit paling in comparison to the beginning of the previous novel. I really liked the Garden of Live Flowers as it makes use of its characters perfectly. The next chapter about the insects also has its moments and the dialogue in it is great, but it is Tweedledum and Tweedledee that is one of the finest chapters in the book with a great characterization and intriguing plot.

Humpty Dumpty is also superb and probably the finest part of the book with some great discussions. But it unfortunately goes downhill from there on with less interesting characters and weird pacing. The Lion and the Unicorn is often good and also Queen Alice is sometimes fine, but other chapters are lacking both in its story and in its characters. But the final chapter rounds up the story very well in my opinion and it is quite a memorable and satisfying ending.

The characters are solid, some forgettable, but some very memorable. Humpty Dumpty was the standout character and the dialogue exchange between the two is excellent. Tweedledee and Tweedledum are naturally phenomenal as are the Walrus and the Carpenter. Alice was once again great  and a great deal of development she gets indeed. She is definitely a reason why these books work as you sympathize with her and her struggles in this crazy, odd world.

But the other characters are really lacking. The Queen is very much wasted and Red King is very forgettable and weak. It is once again a testament to how great Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ is because it literally took the very best characters of the novel and leaving the rest, more forgettable ones.

The dialogue is absolutely the biggest reason to read this book. There is no question about it. Many lines and quotes here are instantly recognizable and while it isn’t as quotable, it is when language issues are concerned better than the original. There are a couple of chapters here that make great use of language, particularly using interesting poems and having Alice argue with others about the meaning of the words. Those were the highlights, so funny and so thought-provoking. It shows how great its humor is at certain times when it tackles such subject matter.

But it isn’t as interesting in its later parts because there isn’t as much of it there. That is why this work is so uneven. It is beautifully written and once again the world-building is extraordinary, but the first half of Through the Looking-Glass is infinitely better than the latter half which is why the book disappointed me eventually. I expected more from it as I was promised more. But what it gets right, it does it in style with some memorable characters introduced and awesome discussions about language. I also adored its imagination in the moments where the absurdities of some characters came to play. The poems were also well written and overall the characters are well developed, although some are quite forgettable.

In the end, Through the Looking-Glass has its issues mainly the much weaker second half, some forgettable characters and it is very uneven both in quality and pacing, but some characters are very memorable and well developed, the imagination is terrific as is its world-building and there are many great dialogues and discussions about language here which are the highlights.

My Rating – 3.9

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