Monday, May 02, 2016

Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)

Series:Queen of Hearts Saga #1
Genre:YA Fantasy
Published by:HarperTeen
Publication date:5/3/2016
Format:Advanced Reader Copy
Source:Shelf Awareness


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 Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! I tend to be extra critical of retellings/remixes of classics so the fact that I rated it so highly should give you some indication to the level of storytelling/remixing that the author did in this book.

Let's start with characters: All the different characters are semi-thoughtout in my opinion.I feel that the author put as much effort into developing her major characters as she did with her secondary characters, which is okay, but I think Dinah and Wardley in particular were a little to flat for me. You could definitely see which characters match with their Alice in Wonderland counterparts, like Harris is definitely based on the White Rabbit. The lacking of well developed major characters is one of the reasons why this book didn't rate any higher with me, this book could have been a five star in my opinion, but I had to mark it down a little because of the lack of major character development.The only reason I can see for this other than author error is that it was developed to be a series so character exploration may be something that is drawn out throughout the other books in the series, which would make them harder to read just as a standalone read you would have to read the whole series to actually get the well developed characters that are possible with this storyline. This is what I'm hoping for because the possibilities that these characters represent could make for a great book series.

Setting: The world building in this book is just beyond words! The whole of Wonderland is built up really well and the descriptions of the settings are wonderful. This is one of the strongest parts of the book besides the plot. George R.R. Martin would be proud of Oakes' world building techniques! The only issue I took with the setting is the passage of time, which seems a little off, Oakes skips from action to action without much buildup inbetween so it feels like time is passing weirdly.

Plot: That jumping from action to action, might have made the story feel a little off, but it really made this a fast paced, highly engaging plot; I did read it in one sitting so that should let you see how engaged I was. All conflicts are well developed though the conflict between Dinah and her father is a bit under explained in my opinion this was the only part of the plot that I was scratching my head over.

I am really interested in seeing where the storyline goes with this series and cannot wait to read the next book. That said I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love retellings/remixes or anyone that enjoys a book with a fast paced plot and great world building in it!

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