Sunday, February 16, 2014

Queen of Hearts: The Crown

Title: Queen of Hearts: The Crown
Author: Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga, Book 1
Number of Pages: 205
Date Read: 2/16/14
Genre: Retellings, Fantasy

Synopsis (Found on

Not every fairytale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.
A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling. 

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

My Review:

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was great. I loved how it just has to do with Dinah's, who is the future Queen of Hearts, story with no Alice traipsing and disrupting Wonderland. The story is about Dinah's early years and this book as well as the rest of the series will show readers how Dinah becomes the angry violent Queen of Hearts that yells "Off with their head" that we all know. 

I love Dinah. She is spunky and adventurous. She tries hard for her father's affection even though she never gets it. She is very intelligent, skilled, loyal and loving. She does have a temper, like her father, and she will manipulate others to get her way. She can also be mean and short with people. Dinah's life is not as easy as we'd expect. Yes she is a princess and the future Queen but her home life is awful. She has a father (the King of Hearts) who hates her, a brother (The Mad Hatter) who is mad, a mother who died when she was 10 and a bastard sister who he father outwardly loves and shows affection for. Her father is a class A jacka**. There seems to be no reason (at least not in this book) for his extreme hatred of his daughter and heir. He is very nasty to her and is physically and mentally abusive. I wanted to throttle him. He is a war king who would make a better army commander than a King. It seems that whenever we encounter the King in this book he is always angry for one reason or another. And he takes that anger out on Dinah, who despite his repeat abusiveness still longs for her father's love and approval. As the story progresses we can see Dinah becoming stronger and more powerful like a Queen should be. Dinah does not accept her half sister and is outwardly rude to her, which I really don't blame her for. 

There are a few other character that I loved. I loved Dinah's tutor Harris who is essentially the white rabbit. He is described as having a lot of checked outfits and white hair. One of the first things we hear his say is "We're late, very late!" Harris is a kind man who loves Dinah very much and is many ways is her real father tho not by blood. Harris raised her and taught her like his own daughter. He is a very sweet man. I also loved Dinah's brother Charles who is the Mad Hatter. Charles was born mad and is an expert at creating hats. He loves all things hats and his hats are coveted by everyone in wonderland. He had two colored eyes which I find strange and fascinating. When he speaks, its in riddles and sentences that don't make any sense. However it's clear from the interactions between the siblings that Charles loves Dinah dearly as much as she loves him. I also liked the hornhoov animal Morte. He has his own personality which is fierce but he also befriends Dinah and helps her in the end. 

While I hate the King I don't know how I feel about Cheshire (the king's adviser) or Vittiore who is Dinah's half sister. I want to hate Vittiore but I find that I really can't because when we see her she always looks so miserable and unhappy to be in the palace despite the King fawning over her. She is a really sad character and I hope we get to learn more about her in the next book. I'm not sure I like Cheshire. He is both mean and nice to Dinah, showing her secret passages one minute and scolding her the next. All I know is that as of now, his smile makes my skin crawl. Maybe I'll change my opinions about him later on in the series. 

I really like Wardley, who is the stable boy, training to become the Knave of Hearts and who is Dinah's love interest. Wardley is very loyal to Dinah and dislikes the king's treatment of her although he does admire the king's battle skills. Its clear that Dinah is in love with him but the reader is not sure of his feelings toward her. Of course he loves her as a friends, protects her and helps her but he never really show romantic feelings towards her, at least not yet. I'm not sure he sees her as more than a friend yet and I want these two to get together. I was and am still scared that Wardley loves/likes Vittiore which would be devastating!

The world of Wonderland is describe wonderfully (haha) and there are many references to "Alice in Wonderland" even if things are not identical in the two books. I have to say I loved the prologue. Its just oozes power and suspense and gives a glimpse of Dinah as the Queen from Alice's wonderland. I will admit that the action was long coming but when it finally came is was great and suspenseful. Parts of the story are horrific and gory while others are sweet. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the second book!


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