|Queen of Hearts (#1) by Colleen Oakes|
pub 5/3/16 by HarperTeen
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received e-ARC via Edelweiss
I know, I know. It’s definitely something I intend to fix but I’ve seen the Disney movie countless times as a kid so I’m familiar with the world, its characters and the story. At least from Alice’s point-of-view. Queen of Hearts, as the title suggests, focuses on Dinah, the Princess of Wonderland Palace and future Queen of Hearts. She’s supposed to begin her rule when she comes of age but in the meantime, life at the palace isn’t a happy one. Her father is a hateful, cruel man who has never bestowed a kind word towards her. Her tutor, while kind, just wants to focus on her queenly lessons. And her childhood best friend, Wardley, is her only ally and the person she happens to be in love with. But as she gets older and her coronation date approaches, it’s clear something isn’t right. There’s so much for Dinah to be rightly suspicious of and it’s as we delve deeper in the secrets of the kingdom that the book really shines. The author did an amazing job of world-building! I was so fascinated by how the fairytale setting (which is a little dark already if you think about it) becomes practically sinister in Oakes’ hands. She totally made it her own and gave it a dark and unique twist that very much impressed me.
(Major) reservationsThe pacing of the plot felt off. It’s a really fast read and I admittedly flew through it. But it felt like a lot happened and didn’t happen at the same time. There were awkward time jumps that could’ve been a smoother transition. Plus so much of the book felt like introduction to everyone rather than Dinah diving into the complexities of our heroine and allowing her to take action. (She finally does at the halfway point but it took too long to get there.) Which brings me to my final major reservation: the characters. None of them made a strong impact on me. I didn’t really like (or trust) anyone and even Dinah herself failed to move me. If not for the world and setting, I probably would’ve rated this book lower.
Do I recommend?It’s hard to say. As much as I was impressed by the world, it’ll always come down to the characters for me. And at the moment, I don’t feel motivated to pick up the next book.
Collaborative feature with Alexa!
Favorite version of Alice in Wonderland?