Book Reviews

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | Book Review

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Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes. Queen of Hearts, #1.

My copy: HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers), May 3rd, 2016. ARC (review copy), 306 pages.

Source: Courtesy of the freebie ARC shelf at my local bookstore.

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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.

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.


Thoughts on Queen of Hearts:

  • Well. This was disappointing.
  • The writing felt very juvenile, and there were scenes that were obviously not juvenile in the slightest. (Um, pretending to “do it” in a coat closet? Probably not something for middle grade readers.)
  • Where was the plot. Where was it. Hellooooo, plot? Where aaaaaaare yoooooou? O_O Nothing happened until the middle-ish, then a great one thing happened (gasp! Torture! Graphic things! Aiiee!), and then it went back to nothing happening. I really expected a thicker plot — this effing Wonderland! You can literally do ANYTHING — but there wasn’t much here.
  • Speaking of it being Wonderland, I was expecting some of its famous characters to pop up. I expected lots of magic and bizarre things, but, sadly, none of that appeared. No Cheshire Cat, no White Rabbit, no Caterpillar, at least not in the colorful way you might expect. Just bratty Dinah, who I shall rant about in the next paragraph.
  • I really didn’t care for/like any of the characters. Everyone felt so bland. Dinah, though, Princess of Hearts, oh boy. She was kind of a b*tch. And not a sympathetic b*tch. There are some characters that act badly but you understand where they’re coming from, or at least their motivations somewhat justify their actions. I like these morally gray characters; they’re layered and feel real. I may or may not like them, but at least they’re not two-dimensional. Well, this does not describe Dinah. She was mean, rude, whiny, pushy, hypocritical, and rash. (She literally goes and does something insanely dangerous because of a “bad feeling.” Agh.) And then she was ALL OVER her best friend and (of course) love interest, when he was clear he wasn’t into her the same way. (Couldn’t remember his name for the life of me, so I had to go look: Wardley.) Gah. I couldn’t stand Dinah.
  • While reading Queen of Hearts, I didn’t hate it. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it and actually get my thoughts in order, I strongly disliked it. As my first Wonderland retelling (though it feels more like a prequel), this was disappointing. ♦


Have you read Queen of Hearts?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a Wonderland retelling you recommend?
(I know of Splintered, so gimme something else!)
Comment below letting me know!

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4 thoughts on “Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | Book Review

  1. Yeah I just finished this a few days ago and feel the same way about most of these. The coat closet thing was ridiculous and the plot was slowwwww at the beginning, I could hardly get into it !!! It’s too bad, I wish we both would have liked it more.

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  2. Yeah, I have to say that I definitely did not love this one. There were some small saving graces that made me interested in reading the sequel, but there certainly wasn’t anything I was in love with.

    I am really, really hoping that Wardley not loving Dinah and instead loving her half sister is NOT the catalyst for her turning into the evil queen we all know, because that would be so predictable and also veryyyyy gross. Wardley wasn’t even that great! I did not understand Dinah’s love for him at all, to be honest.

    I think there is more opportunity for plot in the second book, which is why I’m willing to give it a try. I mean, the ending was the best part in my opinion, so we’ll see!

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