Review: QUEEN OF HEARTS by Colleen OakesQueen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts #1
Also in this series: Blood of Wonderland
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Royalty, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations, Classics
Also by this author: Blood of Wonderland
eARC provided by HarperTeen

AmazonBook Depository

The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.
This 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 was an awesome read. I love Wonderland and Queen of Hearts tells the story of Dinah. I love her beginnings as a girl who just wants approval from her father. There is much more going on in Wonderland when a half-sister comes out of nowhere and threatens Dinah’s crown. Queen of Hearts includes characters from the original story like Cheshire, White Rabbit, and The Mad Hatter, and a few new people. This story ends up being a genuinely original tale of greed and  determination set in the magical world of Wonderland.

This story is very much about Dinah’s beginnings. I have actually read the second book in this series already, unless of course they make major changes, Dinah’s adventure is just beginning in this book. Getting a glimpse into how things started for Dinah took a long time to set up. I didn’t think there was as much adventure in this story as there will be in the second story.That is my

Dinah is spoiled and privileged and now I can see why she felt so betrayed at the introduction of her half sister, Vittiore. I disliked that we didn’t learn much about Vittiore. She is beautiful and might have been traumatized by what happened on Execution Day. She is a pivotal character and it sucks that we have no idea if she is inherently bad or just seems evil. I think it is the latter, but only time will tell.

The romance didn’t feel genuine to me. I was convinced for half the book that the lust was only on Dinah’s part. He seemed more like a pawn. I felt bad for Dinah in that she is so sheltered in her situation. The one person who should love her, her father, doesn’t. The boy she likes may only like her because he has to play along or die. Dinah has a lot of growing up to do.

I loved the descriptions in this story. There is even a fun croquet match with those flamingo rackets I loved so much. Descriptions of Wonderland include very detailed world building. The cards are explained and the use of hearts in everything was brilliant. I can’t wait to see more of this world.

I found this to be an easy and quick read. Wonderland is a familiar place and this story portrays it from the villian’s point of view. I think a lot of Alice in Wonderland fans will find this spin on the fairy tale fun. I did have some issues but I am looking forward to see where the author takes Dinah, (even though I know already, I can’t wait to re-read it).

My Rating

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Queen of Hearts Series

About Colleen Oakes

Colleen Oake

Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series, the Wendy Darling Series and the upcoming YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga (Harper Collins Summer 2016.) She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She has two tiny dogs and an Underwood typewriter.  Colleen is currently at work on the final Elly novel and her third YA fantasy series.


I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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