Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

queen of hearts

Queen of Hearts

Release date: May 3rd 2016

3 stars

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.

This book was one that I’d heard of a few months ago and marked as wanting to read it so when the opportunity came up to do that, I jumped at it. I was interested to see how the Princess of Hearts from Wonderland turned into the Queen of Hearts we’re familiar with from Alice in Wonderland. The synopsis made it seem like she was a sweet girl, a victim of powerful men, so her journey to eventual villainese had a lot of potential.

The Wonderland in this book was very different from the one I knew from the Alice stories. It was such a different take that if the characters names weren’t the same, it wouldn’t have felt like Wonderland at all. It was interesting to see how each Wonderland character was incorporated into a more realistic world. The Cheshire cat was the king’s slimy advisor, the cards were people who worked at the castle and each ‘suit’ meant a different job: Hearts were guards who guarded the royal family, Diamonds dealt with the treasury, Clubs were the justice system, and the Spades were the ones who did the underhanded work for the king. The Mad Hatter made an appearance as Dinah’s brother and the White Rabbit was her tutor.

Dinah herself was someone I had a hard time connecting with at times. I loved the patient way she interacted with her brother and that she never crumbled under her father’s abuse but then she would turn around and treat her half-sister in such a horrible way. Her descent into the angry Queen from the Alice stories started in this book but she has a long way to fall before she gets there completely. It should be interesting to see where the next books take her.

There was an underlying mystery to the plot. The closer Dinah’s coronation date got, the more she started to question her father’s way of ruling and whether the cryptic messages she was receiving were something she wanted to look into or just ignore. The last quarter of the book was pretty non-stop action after a lot of build-up in the first part of the book. It really set-up the next book well.

*I receive a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

4 responses to “Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

  1. This is too bad. I was looking forward to this too based on the premise. I think I still want to try it, but I’ll save my money and check it out at the library. Fabulous review!

  2. I was seeing quite a few negative reviews for this book, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway. I recently finished this, and I while I thought it was kind of slow in the beginning, it really picked up in the last half of the book, like you mentioned. I’m completely hooked and cannot wait for the next book in the series!

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