About the Book
Book: The Looking-Glass Illusion
Author: Sara Ella
Genre: YA Retelling (or dystopian fantasy)
Release Date: September 19, 2023
Step through the looking glass. Slay the Jabberwock. Seek the King.
Alice is not prepared to face what awaits beyond the Tulgey Wood. When she and the rest of Team Heart enter the fourth and final Wonderland Trial, it’s up to her to lead them to victory. But this Trial is more than a game. If Alice and the others fail to defeat the Jabberwock and reveal the truth about Wonderland, more than points and fame will be lost.
Chess Shire never believed he’d make it this far. Now he’s stuck navigating a Trial he’s seen but doesn’t remember, all while searching for the brother he left behind. Not everything is as black and white as the game that shares his name. And if Alice discovers his deepest regret? Chess might just lose her too.
Apart, Chess and Alice scour the eight squares of the Heart Trial in search of memories, truth, and an Ivory King who seems more illusion than reality. Will they learn to lead together to face their greatest fears? Or will they remain pawns in a queen’s game, never truly seeing the Wonderland they’ve come to believe in?
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I have been waiting too long for the sequel of The Wonderland Trials to come out. And as soon as I delved into the story, I did not want to leave it. I was truly annoyed whenever I had to.
You will have to read the first book before you read this one. And it’s worth it, trust me. The Looking-Glass Illusion starts where The Wonderland Trials left off, at the last trial, the Heart Trial. Nothing is as it seems and anything is possible. Plot twists are at every page turn, clues and riddles litter almost every scene, and something new and surprising is constantly being revealed. It makes it impossible to put this book down (well, anything is possible, as this book reveals, and it was possible for me to put it down, but only because I absolutely had to, not because I wanted to. But I digress).
For any fans of Alice in Wonderland or any Fantasy and Dystopian lovers, I’d highly recommend this series. I will be honest though, the one thing about this series I am disappointed about is that there isn’t more. I know Sara Ella couldn’t write more than two books, but, oh, how I have loved Wonderland and am sad to leave it.
I had received a copy of the book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review.
About the Author
Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral, a reimagining of The Little Mermaid that focuses on mental health. Her latest journey into the world of The Wonderland Trials feels like coming full circle after working for Disney. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”
More from Sara
“Step through the looking glass. Slay the Jabberwock. Seek the King.”
It’s my tagline for The Looking-Glass Illusion, but in truth, I had no idea what those words truly meant until I wrote the ending (and rewrote it several times).
I didn’t fully understand what the looking glass did or did not do—only that Alice had to step through it.
I didn’t know who or what the Jabberwock really was—only that Team Heart had to overcome it.
And I really couldn’t quite figure out this Ivory King character I had introduced in The Wonderland Trials—only that he was real, and that, somehow, the King would reveal himself in the end.
This is my process and it’s rather frustrating not to know what you’re up against. I wish I could outline and have all the answers ahead of time. I wish I knew every intricate detail about my stories. It would certainly make the writing life a lot easier. But I like to think the not-knowing part is God’s way of keeping me humble in all of this. Because I only discover the story and the true underlying theme of it all when He decides to reveal it to me.
So, in the name of revealing things, here are three truths God showed me through the process of writing The Looking-Glass Illusion.
- Faith is not blind.
I think we can all remember the quote from The Santa Clause with Tim Allen that goes, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” It encompasses the idea that we don’t have to see in order to believe. And while I believe this is true, I also think if we say our faith is blind, we’ve missed the mark.
God gives us every tool we need to base our faith on the truth in the Bible. He doesn’t ask us to walk blindly. He’s given us sight in His Word! And while we don’t know or see everything yet, we do have concrete evidence to stand on that what the Bible says is real.
In The Looking-Glass Illusion, Alice steps through the looking glass not knowing what awaits her on the other side. She does know, however, that The Adventurer’s Almanac her sister gave her has never steered her wrong. It’s guided her along the way, and she holds fast to it as she steps into the unknown.
I didn’t know how this book would end. But I do know that time and time again, God has walked with me through every ending to every book I’ve written. When I hold fast to that truth, I can have faith and the courage to move forward rather than let fear get the better of me. And speaking of fear . . .
- Fear is a liar.Anyone who’s listened to Christian radio has probably heard the popular song “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams. It’s a great song and I think we all need to hear it from time to time. Alice and her team have a multitude of fears to overcome. Chess Shire in particular has to overcome his fear of facing his past. I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read it, but the theme of overcoming fear is an overarching one in this duology. Perhaps I could have made it more complex and profound, but it’s really quite simple:Fear is a liar. And the only way to combat lies is to stand on the truth of what we know is real because . . .
- The fairy tale is real.I am often asked why I choose to write fairy-tale-inspired stories. I like to turn back to my author tagline. While my logo and website design and even my bio have changed over the years, my tagline has remained the same:“Happily Ever After is Never Far Away”This is something I have held to from the onset of my author journey. While fairy tales may be but stories, our walk as Christians is in the living breathing fairy tale of God’s Word. Remember that quote from “The Princess Bride?”“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!”
That line always reminds me of the Bible. Everything we love about fairy tales can be found within the pages of His #1 Best-Selling Book. And it all really happened! The fairy tale is real, and no matter what dragons (or Jabberwocks) we face in this life, we are promised happily ever after (dare I say, Wonderland?) in the next.
Thank you for taking the time to sit a while with me and for sticking with this series through its conclusion. Cheers, and happy reading, Wonders! The true Wonderland awaits!
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30
Texas Book-aholic, October 1
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 2
Where Faith and Books Meet, October 2
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3
Blogging With Carol, October 4
The Book Club Network, October 5
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 5
Live. Love. Read., October 7
Holly’s book Corner, October 8
Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 9
Raining Butterfly Kisses, October 9
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 10
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11
Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Mindy)
Books You Can Feel Good About, October 13
Wishful Endings, October 13
To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, a $15 Starbucks gift card, and a hardcover copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.