Queen of Hearts (Volume One: The Crown)
written by Colleen Oakes
published by SparkPress (an BookSparks imprint)
Why did I pick this book: I am a fan of the Wicked series by Gregory Maguire. This seemed right up my alley. So, I signed up to participate in the blog tour hosted by BookSparksPR. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: I really did. The first 20 pages had me unsure, then Cheshire and the tunnels happened. From that point on I read every free chance I had. I did not want to put this book down.
Dinah is the heir to the Hearts throne. Her mother is dead and her father, the King of Hearts, rules Wonderland with fear and dominance. But the King is power hungry and doesn’t want to share his throne. We meet Dinah when she is 15 years old. At this time, she also meets her half-sister, Vittiore, for the first time. Then the story jumps to when she is 17, mere months from her coronation.
Dinah is young, immature, and cold. She is also naive as to some things. I liked her from the beginning. Her father doesn’t care about her. In fact, he openly hates her. Her brother is nicknamed The Mad Hatter. He clearly has mental issues but makes beautiful hats. Vittiore is the illegitimate daughter of the King. He brings her to the kingdom and treats her as a real princess. She is dainty and innocent. I have my theories about Vittiore and I’m anxious to see how those theories play out as the series continues.
Cheshire is the King’s most trusted adviser. I like him. He seems evil but knows how to play the game. Harris, Dinah’s tutor and pseudo-father, is a sweet man who truly cares for Dinah. The maids and butlers remind of Downton Abbey. (I think I’ve been obsessed with that show! I love it!) But these characters remind me of those “downstairs.” Wardley is Dinah’s crush, best friend, and the brother she should have had. I want to see if he does find her. All of these characters are familiar, but so different from what you think you know. It was interesting to “meet” each of them and figuring out how they are similar to their Carroll counterparts.
This was a wonderful read. Dark, fascinating, intriguing. At 200 pages, Queen of Hearts is a quick read that sucks you down the rabbit hole.
Would I recommend it: If you like these background books to popular stories, you will enjoy Queen of Hearts.
Will I read it again: I may when the next book comes out. I can’t wait for that one. I also want to read Ms. Oakes’s next series, Wendy Darling.
About the book: Blossoming Love. A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret.
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.
But be warned…not every fairytale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.
About the author: Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom series and the upcoming YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via SparkPress, a BookSparks imprint. 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 is currently at work on the last Elly novel and her second YA fantasy series, Wendy Darling.