ARC Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Posted May 5, 2016 by MC / 1 Comment

Categories: Book Reviews

ARC Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen OakesQueen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016

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.

I received this book for free from ALA Midwinter Conference in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I tend to stay away from Alice in Wonderland stories, because it has never been a fairytale that interested me very much. But it seems like authors just LOVE retelling this story. I haven’t read many other Wonderland retellings, and I therefore have no standard by which to judge Queen of Hearts. Considering that I am not a big fan of Alice’s story, I did enjoy my time reading this book, but I had a few issues with it as well.

One thing that I personally enjoyed about this novel was the characterization of the different players in the world of Wonderland. Our main character, Dinah, the future Queen of Hearts, is just alright. She’s not really a character that makes you want to root for her or sympathize with her. But the side characters were a ton of fun. I absolutely loved the Mad Hatter, and I wish I could have spent more time with him. The White Rabbit and the Cheshire cat were interesting as well, but again, we didn’t get to spend very much time with them. The world of Wonderland also seemed pretty cool, but there wasn’t nearly enough description to satisfy me. There would be a passing mention of pink snow (cool!) or tress that move (creepy!) and then nothing was expanded upon and it left me wondering what Wonderland looked like.

This was a fun read, but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. I really felt like not very much happened in the plot. The level of excitement remained pretty flat throughout the book; there weren’t any highs or lows or suspenseful moments. Even now, as I am sitting here writing this review, I can barely remember what happened in this book. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but it doesn’t seem to have made a lasting impression on me.

I had fun reading this book, but I am not sure it is for everyone. It is a quick read, so it can’t hurt to give it a try. (If I can mange to finish a book in a day, it is definitely a really quick read, trust me.) If I manage to get my hands on the next book in this series when it comes out, I might give it a try, but I don’t think I will go searching for it. While I enjoyed my time with Queen of Hearts, I’m not sure this is a series I really want to get invested in.

3 Stars


When you are left wondering about Wonderland…..

…..blame it on the books.

One response to “ARC Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

  1. I read it in one day to so it was definitely a quick read. I enjoyed it a bit more then you did (I gave it 4 stars), but I also felt it was lacking something even though I did enjoy reading it. I am interested to read the next one just to see what happens and to see if the author develops the characters a bit more in the second book. Did you like the world building of Wonderland the author did in the book?

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