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Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

Blood of Wonderland

by Colleen Oakes

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I found Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes to be well written with characters that are exciting and dynamic. The plot was interesting and full of twists and turns that really surprised me.

I also found it really interesting to delve into Wonderland's history (fable though it is) and begin to understand how Dinah became the "Queen of Hearts" we know so well in the original story.

Overall, I feel this book has merit and is worth reading. Still, I found that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had the first one. The reason is purely personal ... it ended up being a bit too dark and violent for my taste.

I've rated this book a 3.5 Stars because it really is my personal preferences that affected how I responded to book. I encourage you all to read Blood of Wonderland and find out if it's a winner for you! 😊

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for the opportunity to review this novel. ( )
  mrsrenee | Feb 12, 2017 |
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

The Wonder is book two in the Queen of Hearts series. The story picks up where book one left off. Dinah is still on the run and being hunted by the king. There’s a mysterious man aiding her along the way. Dinah is bent on avenging her brother’s murder and reclaiming her rightful place as Queen of Hearts. As she changes from a lost child to a warrior driven by revenge, she’s reunited with Cheshire, the King’s advisor now swearing loyalty to her, and also Wardley her one true love.

This story was as fast paced as the previous book. You’re immediately drawn in and captivated by the descriptions of the Twisted Woods and Yurkei lands. There’s non-stop action and edge of your seat excitement as you watch Dinah’s heart slowly grow cold. This is a unique twist on the Alice in Wonderland tale and definitely a must read for all fantasy lovers! ( )
  Simmy905 | Oct 29, 2014 |
This is the second book in this trilogy. While I have not read the first book or even heard of this series, I was able to jump right in with both feet. In fact, I enjoyed this book so much that I had to slow myself down some so that I could try to make it last longer. I have read several takes on the story of Alice in Wonderland and I have to say that this is my favorite thus far. It has just the right amount of dark, sinister goodness and it is different enough from the original that I don't make any comparisons. Now, while I wait for book three I have to go back and read book one. Also, I liked that some of the bad guys were good and visa versa. Also that the main characters in the story were not the main featured ones in this book. For example it was cool to get to know more about the deck of cards and Dinah is growing strong. I can't wait for the big battle to happen. ( )
  Cherylk | Oct 23, 2014 |
Readers were introduced to Dinah, Princess of Hearts in The Crown, volume one of the Queen of Hearts Saga. We were able to see Dinah wander listlessly around the palace in Wonderland, still grieving her mother's death, and saddened over the madness and others ills that her brother, Prince Charles (aka the Mad Hatter), must deal with. Her father, the ruthless King of Hearts, appears to despise her presence. Just when it seems the Dinah is getting closer to being crowned the new Queen of Hearts, her father presents the royal court with his bastard child, Dinah's half-sister, the Duchess of Hearts - Vittiore. As Dinah rivals Vittiore, unsuccessfully, for her father's affection, she begins to wonder about her father's motives. On the night before her coronation, Dinah awakens to find her brother, Prince Charles, brutally murdered by her father yet Dinah is quickly blamed for the death. Fearing for her life, Dinah flees the palace and Wonderland.

The Wonder finds Dinah trying to survive in the wilderness. Her only companion is her father's stolen steed, a horse as large as a house with spiked hooves. Amazingly Dinah survives, but little does she know that she's being tracked by the best. Fortunately for her, the best tracker quickly becomes her ally. Or so she thinks until her ally leads her into the kingdom and the hands of the king's sworn enemies, the Yurkei. Mundoo, the chief of the Yurkei, takes Dinah in and begins to train her in the art of war. Bewildered by this, Dinah isn't quite sure what to think about what is happening around her until she stumbles upon the king's most trusted adviser, Cheshire. The story Cheshire reveals demonstrates that he is indeed Dinah's father not the king, and that he seeks to place her on the throne of Wonderland. Now Dinah has the most fierce and largest warriors in the land, the Yurkei, aligning to fight beside her to overthrow the present King of Hearts. Dinah also now has several hundred warriors from the House of Spades willing to fight on her behalf. Is it possible this teenage queen can become the warrior leader needed to overthrow the current despotic king? Will her reign as queen be any better than her predecessor's? Will the people of Wonderland be able to respect a queen that is now despised and known as the Red Queen?

Ms. Oakes takes many characters from Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice in Wonderland and twists them into a modern retelling of Wonderland. The readers are allowed to see how the legend of "the Red Queen" began and why. We discover the impetus behind the feared "off with their heads" threat. Instead of a Cheshire cat, we see the head of the House of Diamonds, a gentleman named Cheshire with a cat-like grin become the king's most trusted and feared advisor. The Mad Hatter becomes the brother of the Queen of Hearts and is someone that suffers seizures and appears may be autistic in that he lives in his own world and hates to be touched. The game of Royal Croquet is played with mallets shaped like birds and balls carved to resemble hedgehogs. The Knave of Hearts is head of the House of Hearts and leads the king's most-trusted and highly trained warriors. The House of Spades are considered the lowest of all of the house cards and aren't afforded the same rights and privileges. These men live in squalor and poverty and are forced to do the king's dirty work in the Black Tower, torturing various prisoners. Dinah isn't a bad person but she is someone filled with anger. She seeks to avenge the deaths of her mother and brother. If she isn't careful that righteous anger may become something just as twisted and dark as the emotions that drive the current King of Hearts.

I actually enjoyed reading both The Crown and The Wonder (I read them back-to-back on one Saturday). I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but it was interesting to read these books and see how Ms. Oakes deftly twisted the already twisted story by Mr. Carroll. Dinah isn't a wholely likeable character but she is a sympathetic character that grows on you as you read (or at least she did with me). I know that there will probably be a great deal of bloodshed and anguish in the next volume in this series, because war seems to be inevitable. Although this series is classified as YA, I found it to be an engrossing read and one that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. If you are a fan of fantasy, the retelling of classic literature, or simply interested in something a little different to read, then I strongly urge you to grab a copy of The Crown and The Wonder today. This is one series you don't want to miss! ( )
  BookDivasReads | Aug 24, 2014 |
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Dinah has been exiled from Wonderland. The vicious father she always feared has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her. Now hiding in the lush and mysterious Twisted Wood with only her war steed at her side, Dinah is faced with a choice -- to leave Wonderland forever, or stay and fight her father for the throne. When a chance encounter with one of her father's long-lost enemies brings Dinah more allies than she ever could have imagined, war starts to feel inevitable. But before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny -- no matter how dark those truths may be.… (more)

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