Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | Book Review

queen of hearts

“Fear is not always a bad thing. When you are queen, you should strive for both. These are things you should think about, child. You will soon be queen.”

Blurb (Goodreads)- As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Thoughts- I picked this book up on a bit of a whim (partially because of the pretty cover) because the synopsis drew me in. I don’t think I’ve ever read a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, especially a darker and more twisted version this book offers up.

This book promises dark and mysterious games intertwined with a messy political battle inside the palace, and while it does begin to do that, I wanted more out of nearly every aspect of the story. I need more backstory and development for all of the characters, especially the King of Hearts and why he despises his eldest daughter so much. The world is truly beautiful, but it still would’ve been nice to have more history on the black towers, and a map would’ve been wonderful.

This definitely has some fun and interesting characters, just like the original story of Alice. I absolutely love the personification of Cheshire the Cat and the White Rabbit, and the twist on the Mad Hatter was also extremely unique and heartbreaking. As a protagonist, I quite like Dinah. She’s snarky and not afraid to speak her mind, but you can also see how she is very flawed character and how that affects her actions. Wardley is also a fun character. He’s not the most memorable love interest; being sweet and considerate, and willing to die for the main character, but I do think he has potential for a lot of growth.

In a general sense, I wasn’t too fond of the romance. Wardley and Dinah have been friends since they were babies, but the story starts out with Dinah already in love with Wardley and wanting him to rule Wonderland besides her. There’s no development in their relationship, in fact they had already kissed before the book began! It’s not exactly insta-love but it’s not exactly the slow-burning, stab you in the heart kind of romance either.

I found the plot and pacing very enjoyable, it was an extremely quick read (I read it in nearly a day)! There are large time jumps of several months throughout several points in the book which was a bit disorientating, but they did allow the fast pace to continue and for the book not to slow down. One problem I had with the plot is how many unanswered plot lines are present. Not many things get tied up, which is partially why I want to continue with the saga. Although, the ending is definitely what tied me into this series and make me want to continue it, because I definitely didn’t expect it coming.

Overall, this is a fun and quick paced retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and it’s perfect if you’re in the mood for an easy high fantasy read. But if you’re looking for something with complex characters and a heart pounding romance, maybe try a different book.

3

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