Queen of Hearts #1
Available May 3rd
Source: eARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from 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.
QUEEN OF HEARTS
Queen of Hearts is a retelling that takes a little time to build, our time with Dinah in the opening chapters staying very much on the surface as she navigates the unexpected arrival of a new half sister and the deterioration of her already poor relationship with her father. The writing too seems very straightforward and simplistic in the beginning, telling us how Dinah feels about all that's happening without truly sucking us into her tale, but before too long this story starts to shift, shadows creeping in from all directions until they swallow us whole and force us far, far below the surface we'd previously been tiptoeing along.
At first glance, Dinah appears to be a young woman with a single layer to her character, that of a girl desperate for approval that's never going to come from an uncaring father, becoming increasingly bitter the more he shuns her in favor of her half sister. With time however, Dinah becomes far more intriguing than that first glance suggests, her volatile relationship with her father escalating to the point that we can't wait for the moment she might unleash her vengeance upon him and all those in her court who have mercilessly mocked her despite her royal status. While her father becomes increasingly cruel, Dinah manages to keep her cool, biding her time and working behind the scenes to uncover the dark secrets of Wonderland, and once she sets forth with this new purpose, her tale becomes impossible to put down.
One of the most interesting aspects of a retelling (for me personally) is seeing in what ways the author stays true to the original story and in what ways he or she deviates, and Queen of Hearts is no different. It's hard not to root for Dinah in this first installment given all the derision she faces from those who should love and respect her, but in the back of our minds we can't help but wonder if Dinah is already becoming the villain of the original and we just can't see it yet since we only have her perspective of various events. Either way though, she's a young woman with whom we desperately want more time once we close the back cover, and the wait for the second installment is sure to be long and painful in the best possible way.
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Colleen Oakes is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Elly in Bloom Series, The Queen of Hearts Saga (Harper Collins 2016) and The Wendy Darling Saga. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son and surrounds herself with the most lovely family and friends imaginable. When not writing or plotting new books, Colleen can be found swimming, traveling and totally immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She currently at work on another YA fantasy series and a stand-alone YA novel.
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