About the book:
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Series: Book 1 of The Queen of Hearts Saga
Genre: YA Fairytale retelling, Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins YA
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 Dinah’s 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.
*Thanks to Harper Collins YA for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*
THE RATING: 1 / 5 stars
This book sucked the magic out of Wonderland.
The main reason I picked up this book was because it was a retelling of the most whimsical story in the world and I am feeling downright betrayed at this point.
This mainly came done to the poor writing of three things – the plot, the world building and the characters.
This book was set in a Wonderland that featured familiar characters (Cheshire, The Mad Hatter) but instead of keeping to their magical roots, were all human instead. This would have been interesting if the author had chosen to introduce some other magical system to replace the one that she abandoned but instead it was removed completely and the story ended up feeling completely dull. To add to this, the writing style was really boring and plain, and something more flowery and once again, whimsical, would have better suited the narrative.
Don’t even get me started on our main character, Dinah, the perspective through which this story was told. She started the story as whiny, ended the story as whiny and – you guessed it – was whiny all throughout. Okay, I get that your father hates you but PLEASE stop being such a spoiled brat. The antagonists in this book, I felt, were just evil for the sake of being evil and I was waiting for an explanation as to why Dinah’s father was so horrible to her – which I did not get and so the whole thing felt unnecessary and exaggerated.
Sticking with the theme of the book, the romance was very predictable and tedious as well. I don’t think I have enough fingers to count the number of times the Heart Cards (the royal guards), and by extension Wardley (who is training to become the leader of the Heart Cards because, of course, he is the best at everything), were called “beautiful” or “handsome”. I get it Dinah. You can stop now. In stark contrast, Dinah was constantly called “ugly” or “plain” and I just couldn’t accept the overriding message that she was somehow lacking as a queen and less respectable than her step-sister based on her attractiveness.
In regards to the plot, there was very little of it. The whole book just felt like a mash up of whining and complaining on Dinah’s part, incredible rage and physical abuse on the King’s part and very little of anything else. There was a bit of the predictable “self-discovery” thrown in and, of course, the very predictable romance but other than that, it felt like nothing was happening. Of course, that might just be because this book was quite short and there wasn’t really enough time to flesh out all the characters and develop thorough plot lines. Basically, it just felt like there were a lot of questions and open ends and not a lot answers in turn.
All in all, I was not impressed and thought that the retelling aspects could have been done a lot better as well as the character arcs and the plot. If you think that the concept, based on what I have said, could interest you then give it a try – I have heard from many people that they have enjoyed the book so there is still hope!