The Unseen is another fantasy tale that combines fairytale characters and settings in one story with a trio of young heroes. It is the second book of a trilogy, and due to the large number of characters, a reader would need to read the first book to avoid confusion. Rosana, Alice's (previously from Wonderland) daughter, is lost in Wonderland with Peter Pan’s son (Zack) and Pinocchio’s son (Crescenzo). While the trio quarrels and eventually takes their separate paths to the kingdom of the Mad Hatter, their parents and a host of other fairytale characters plan to search for them. However, most of the adults are taken prisoner by Lord Bellamy almost at once, leaving only Alice, Hansel, and Snow White to free their friends, find the children, and defeat the loathed Ivory Queen, Avoria. Tracing the storylines of various characters, The Unseen is a journey through three worlds with themes of friendship, family, and perseverance.
The author has spun a clever retelling of favorite classics, incorporating three generations of traditional characters at times (Geppetto, Pinocchio, and Crescenzo). But while the clever renaming of certain characters helps the reader see them in a new light (ex: Peter to Pietro), the use of so many storybook people leaves little room for deep character development or growth. Many of the characters retain their original archetypes (the prince as brave and noble, Alice as daring and rebellious, Geppetto as fatherly and yet regretful) and do not seem to change. However, the storyline is exciting and includes surprises and plot twists that keep it interesting. Younger readers may find the many simultaneous storylines dizzying yet may also delight in hearing their favorite characters go on new adventures.
I would give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to anyone 12 to 15 years old who loves fantasy and is a fan of The Grimm Sisters or Once Upon a Time.