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Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Queen of Hearts

by Colleen Oakes

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I agree with mostly everyone writing reviews on this book; it felt like a prequel.
The world was well developed and the author did a really good job of making you hate the king but the plot could have been better.
I am going to read the prequel just to see if Dinah ever gets to rule but I'm not going to expect much from it. ( )
  Alana_Platt | May 21, 2017 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A disappointing retelling.

Opening Sentence: ”Oh, my future Queen, you’re late!”

The Review:

The Queen of Hearts is Dinah’s story (who knew that was her name???). We’ve all heard of her at some point, the crazy queen from Alice in Wonderland who commands the heart cards and is always screaming ‘off with their heads!’ Well, this book tells the story from her eyes and it is quite unexpected.

Dinah lives with her cruel father, the King of Hearts, and her mad brother, Charles (aka the Mad Hatter). Charles isn’t sane enough to be king and so by default Dinah is heir to the crown. She begs for her father’s love and admiration but soon realises that he is a horrible dictator and cares only for power. That wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for Vittoire, the King’s bastard daughter. He brings her into their house and she is everything Dinah is not: pretty, dainty and loved by everyone including their father.

I am a huge fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton’s take on the story and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard (a darker more punk/gothic retelling). So I hoped I would love this book as much, especially as I’ve read some positive reviews…

Sadly, the story dragged. It wasn’t until the trip to the black towers that I began feeling engaged with the storyline. I felt sorry for Dinah but I didn’t think there was anything spectacular about the plot. It felt to me like characters that were already loved by everyone we’re being reused in another story.

Cheshire was more cunning than I remembered but aside from him, none of the characters were exceptional. My love for all things Alice will continue and though the author tried to make the setting as bizarre and quirky as possible, I just didn’t think it was enough.

Notable Scene:

“Easy? It’s madness. This is a suicide mission. And for what?”

Dinah raised herself up from the bench and took his arm gently. “For the future queen to have the upper hand before her coronation. For not wondering what if? For answers that have never been given to me, and never will be. For the possibility of understanding something about this place.”

“And if I lose my head?” Wardley asked.

“Then I will be very sorry,” she said. “It is a lovely head.”

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Queen of Hearts. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Sep 15, 2016 |
"She was learning quickly that what was right and what must happen weren't always the same thing."

This is one of those moments where I wish we could do away with star ratings.
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I don't think it's terrible. There were multiple times in the book where I was so pulled in, I tightly gripped the book, and had it very close to my face.
Unfortunately, all of those moments ended quickly.
This book had so many great concepts, but nothing was ever fleshed out. Including the characters, especially the main character Dinah, who I found to be weak/flat. I read with a sort of detachment at times. She seemed to be naive, and without any instincts. She had to be talked into things often. One time, she finally had some ideas of her own, some courage, and she took action. I thought this was character growth. But after that adventure she went right back to being naive and dull.
What I did like (besides all the moments that started out good before falling flat) was the banter between Dinah and Wardley, and her relationship with Harris, her guardian.
It was the last 15 or so pages that gave me hope for the next book, but even then I am not sure I will check it out.
I had a sense throughout that the editor didn't do their job, or that perhaps there wasn't one? For a HarperTeen/ Epic Reads book, I was quite disappointed. ( )
  imagiphantaria | Jul 10, 2016 |
I enjoy reading re-telling of fairy tales and Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes creates a hole new spin on the beloved Alice in Wonderland story. Wonderland is an amazing place full of both beauty and darkness. In this engaging story we find Dinah, a young princess on the cusp of womanhood soon to become the Queen of the Hearts. We get a glimpse into her life, relationships, triumphs and challenges that allows us a glimpse into the events, relationships and choices that helped mold this young girl into the older version of the Queen that we know so well.

Queen of Hearts is a delightful, refreshing though dark story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The story had me spellbound from start to finish. The characters were engaging and I delighted in exploring the familiar as well as the new in this creative novel. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  mrsrenee | May 11, 2016 |
How does the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" become such a quick tempered, decapitating crazed menace? For anyone curious,"Queen of Hearts" tells Dinah's story in an engaging way. Her dysfunctional family life is the center of this novel and it is fascinating to see how all of these issues will one day result in the Queen of Hearts we're all familiar with.
I would recommend this for teens 12 and older due to mature subject matter. And of course for those who love retellings of classics. ( )
  WhitneyYPL | Feb 9, 2016 |
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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.… (more)

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