Title: Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #1
(see below for breakdown)
his is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.
Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.
This is a solid little read. A really interesting start to a retelling. At first the I did think the writing was aimed a little young. It had more of the feeling of a middle grade read but it did end up getting quite dark and moved into the realm of YA writing. It really did move from overly flowery descriptions of dresses into quite a dark and interesting ending.There was occasionally over sexualisation of the princess which went unchallenged and as she was very young I did find it a little inappropriate.
At the start I also found the characters to be quite bland but as the reinterpretation of the wonderland characters it became really interesting. There really were some interpretations and re-imaginings I hadn’t seen before. This carried over into the word-building and the plot. The new lore ascribed to the place was really really interesting and had the unusual Wonderland style while also keeping a bit of originality. There was also a hint that there was a lot more to explore outside the palace. The plot also started on a rather mediocre note but built up into quite a dark and sinister story. This made it exciting and combined with the cliffhanger ending and unanswered questions should make the rest of the series quite interesting.