Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Synopsis: 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.
My thoughts: This book confused me greatly, in the sense that I kept going back and forth as to whether I liked it or not. I’m still not sure, and I’m getting kinda sick sliding back and forth on the scale so much.
First of all, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. I was able to get this for a great deal in hardcover and it’s just so beautiful. If nothing else, it’s worth having on my bookshelf just for that, and I’d give it 5 stars for stunning design.
The contents, though, are harder to rate. I truly can’t decide how I feel about this.
I like Dinah, for the most part. Yes, she is a spoiled brat on occasion, however you can tell she really does care about her kingdom and wants to do right by her subjects. She didn’t quite hit her character arc–I thought–but the development she did go through was interesting to watch. I loved the take on the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, and thought Vittore made for an intriguing character (though she was hardly in it. Disappointing. She was so promising). Wardley was so admirable as a person–it might just be me, but I think when a guy is so blatantly respectful of girls, it makes him infinitely more attractive. He was adorable. I liked his relationship to Dinah, but I felt he was another promising trail that was left vastly unexplored.
The mysteries of Wonderland kept getting deeper and darker, and questions kept popping up left and right…and then…and then…more questions…half an answer…then the book ended. And while a lot did happen…it kinda felt like nothing happened. The pacing was so weird, and it was the millions of questions I wanted answered that kept me reading. I understand you don’t want to answer every question in the first book of the series, but we should’ve been given at least a few more answers, just to keep us coming back.
Ultimately, I think this retelling fell a little too far down the rabbit hole, but its redeeming qualities give me hope that maybe it’ll claw its way back out as the series progresses.
Rated 3.8 for stunning cover art and a decent shot at retelling a story that so many love