I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Royalty, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations, Classics
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The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.
This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.
Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.
Queen Of Hearts by Colleen Oakes is a book that I picked out to read next based solely on the cover. I love the limited color palette. I love the large amount of white space. I just find my eye really drawn to the cover and how it is a card design. I can be a bit of a shallow reader when it comes to aesthetics and book covers. Luckily, the contents within Queen Of Hearts are quite good. I really enjoyed how Oakes reinterprets and twists around the familiar world of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and makes it into her own.
Queen Of Hearts by Colleen Oakes is the first book in her Queen Of Hearts Saga and is about this girl named Dinah. Dinah happens to be heir to the throne of Wonderland. Her father is the King of Hearts and he is a total douche to her. Dinah’s mother, the former Queen of Hearts is dead. So, upon her 18th birthday, Dinah will take up the mantle of Queen, ruling alongside her father until she is married, in which case her father must step down as king. So, anyways, the book opens with a mysterious visitor coming to court. That visitor is Dinah’s unknown half sister, Vittore, whom she had no idea existed until this moment. This sends Dinah into a fit of rage because Vittore is the product of her father’s adultery while Dinah was alive. So, the rest of the book centers around a betrayal and Dinah getting to the bottom of some secrets while evil begins to spread within Wonderland. In all, Queen of Hearts is a book with a VERY compelling plot and such an interesting spin on Wonderland politics.
Dinah is SUCH an angry, fiery, fierce character and I loved how wild and different she was from characters that I normally read. I will say that her hatred of Vittore did confuse me a little bit, but then I remembered what it was like to be ten years younger and carry resentment at a heavier rate than I carry it now. She’s fascinating because she wants her father’s approval so desperately, yet he’s such a dick that he will never give that to her and instead screws her over in little and massive ways throughout the book. I am firmly team the King of Hearts can talk a long walk off a short pier. If anything, I felt really loyal to the main character within Oakes’ Queen Of Hearts.
The world building within Queen Of Hearts is totally dope — which I cannot stop saying – dope. Anyways, so it is the Wonderland that we all remember from Alice In Wonderland but much, much darker. There’s different factions which do not get along – like the Kingdom of Wonderland does not get along with the Yurkei people. Also there are these towers where prisoners are tortured called the Black Towers and trust, they are bad news bears and scary and wow the imagery that Oakes comes up with for these towers is impressive and intense.
So, I am not fiercely devoted to the romance in this book. I guess I just kept expecting the love interest to do something to betray Dinah and also to end up hooking up with Vittore due to the cover discussing a betrayal on the back but also Dinah waiting to be able to marry her love interest – Wardley. That did not happen, by the way. However, I just never felt a real spark or chemistry between the characters. The feelings all seemed to be kind of one sided. So, I guess I would tell you, reader friend, to go into this book expecting awesome plotting and world building but not to be blown away by the romance.
Overall, Queen Of Hearts by Colleen Oakes provides a unique spin on Lewis Carroll’s classic – building upon an interesting backstory for the Queen of Hearts. I thought that the various callbacks to familiar characters were really well done. There are places where the book does drag a little bit, but overall, I think this is a great summer beach read. I definitely would recommend you engage in reading this book while winding down for the night before bed.
Other reviews of Queen Of Hearts by Colleen Oakes:
Brittany’s Book Rambles – “Obviously, this book just wasn’t for me”
Artic Books – “a solid standpoint for the rest of the series”
Once Upon A Twilight – “OFF WITH HER HEAD!”
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