To help build anticipation for upcoming films, Disney Press likes to publish movie tie-in books. A good indication that the company expects a film to be big is when there are multiple versions, such is the case with Alice Through the Looking Glass, sequel to the blockbuster fantasy film from 2010 that kickstarted the modern Hollywood Fairytale trend. I’ve already covered the junior novelization, which is aimed at teenagers and retells the film from start to finish, but A Matter of Time is aimed at younger readers, covering end of elementary school through middle school ages.
Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time advertises itself as “An unpossible adventure with over 25 endings,” splitting the film’s plot into four sections, each told by a different character. Alice, Mad Hatter, Red Queen and White Queen are the four options and the book offers readers the flexibility to pick their starting place. Throughout each character’s journey, readers are given choices when they come to a fork in the road. As a kid, I loved reading R.L. Stein’s choose-your-own-adventure Goosebumps series and was intrigued by this feature. Unfortunately, choosing an alternate path from the film’s plot doesn’t lead you on a long alternate reality but instead comes to an abrupt end. This is what they mean by 25 endings, but they quickly become tiresome and it would have been a more enjoyable read without them.
The best part of this book is reading the individual character’s storylines. Alice’s is necessary to read, particularly if you haven’t seen the film, in order to understand the context of the side-character’s stories. But as a read, the three other characters offer the more compelling stories. In the film, the other character’s emotional arcs are constantly paused and resumed to intersperse bits of action for Alice, but removing that makes for a better book.
For the unfamiliar, Alice returns to Underland in Through the Looking Glass to discover that the Mad Hatter has lost his muchness. She embarks on a time-traveling adventure, butting heads with Time himself, in an effort to alter the past to save the Hatter. But when Alice unintentionally unravels Time, she must call on her Underland friends to make things right.
Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time retells the story from the film in a unique way. While I found the 25 alternate endings to take away from the reading experience, breaking the story up between the four main characters was a nice alternative to the junior novelization. This version also features beautiful color illustrations, making it a nice read for any fan of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland series.