Author: Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #1
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC gifted by Kai of Amaterasu Reads
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
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.
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I've had my fair share of retelling disappointments in the past and it is seldom I find one that actually delivers. This one practically surprised me. I didn't like most of its bland parts but I didn't mind? Maybe because I loved how the twists are owned by the author despite of this being an Alice in Wonderland retelling. I sensed Oakes in this novel. I loved how Dinah, our Queen of Hearts, has been presented as our heroine in this side of the story. Maybe that's one reason why I loved this, I've been wanting to read a back story of villains. Not that am tired of reading about our princesses but sometimes, I want to know our evil queens deeper, like Maleficent and Regina from Once Upon a Time TV series. It gives a kick to the entirety of the novel because at least I get to understand the WHYS of their characters. Most of the time, I fall in love with the antagonists because of their history, character development and how other people twisted their minds and heart. Morbid as it may sound, but I like my antagonists that way.
Princess of Wonderland, Dinah, appeared to be weak in the beginning and surely, a whinny brat but I guess her rage and grief helped her become what she is at the end of book 1. She was developed in a tough way because of her endless resentment and then fought against those who belittled her. What I truly do not understand is why her father treats her with so much rage from the depths of his hellish heart. That one wasn't crossed out in this novel so understand why I am eager to read book 2. I would also like to know who the hell is Faina Baker. I mean, this story tickles your curiosity to an extent that borders in frustration and awe.
Oakes gave me a kind of romance that also borders in failure and success. I feel like this is going to be on the downside of things since it was obviously unrequited. It might add up to the list of why Dinah's heart is full of hate. But I can wait to see what's gonna be the outcome of this all in the next books. Wardley might have a change of heart or Dinah might meet someone new. Who knows. So the torturous waiting begins.
Overall, this retelling of Alice in Wonderland lived up to my expectations. Splintered set the bar quite high but sure enough, Queen of Hearts filled me with so much anticipation for the sequel. THAT ending was freaking brutal. Queen of Hearts might have molded more questions than answers, but I believe a good story allows you to fonder and wonder.
Thank you so much Kai of Amaterasu Reads for the ARC!
"My fight to live does not begin now. I have been fighting all my life, I just didn't know it."
"She was learning as quickly that what was right and what must happen weren't always the same thing."