Author: Colleen Oakes.
Published: February 14th 2014 by SparkPress.
Sort: Unnamed #1.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Not every fairytale has a happy ending. This is the story of a princess who became a villain. A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling.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.
Colleen excels in telling a story I haven’t seen before. We all know Alice in Wonderland and there are several retellings, but the Queen of Hearts is perhaps even more fascinating. I really liked what Colleen did and how she gives this ‘villain’ a believable background. It makes me feel sad for the future Queen and it’s not strange that she turns out that way.
Dinah is a passionate, intelligent girl who grows up in a harsh environment. Her mother died when she was a young girl and her father has always resented her. It’s clear that he hates Dinah and he does everything to make her feel miserable. He is such a merciless King, that he made me feel sick. He is a beast and it’s not strange that his people are loyal to him: they are scared as hell.
Dinah’s life is only bearable because of her best friend, Wardley (future Knave of Hearts), and her adviser Harris (the white rabbit) There were many times where I wanted to hug her. People are laughing at her and they gossip behind her back – they even suspect she is just as mad as her younger brother Charles (mad hatter). In order to maintain her status as Princess, she needs to act harsh. I liked how feisty she is, but there is also a darkness luring behind the surface. I like her realistic, flawed personality and how strong she is in her situation. Her father puts her in a difficult position, especially when he announces that Dinah has a half-sister named Vittiore.
When Dinah is contacted by a mysterious stranger, she decides it’s time to take action. Together with Wardley she goes on a trip to the Black Towers to talk to a prisoner. This grim place pretty much sums up what a horrible man her father is. The world torture doesn’t even cover what’s going on here. The meeting ends up in beheadings and eventually Dinah must flee for her life.
I like all the mystery around Vittiore, the sinister events and the cute moments between Dinah and Wardley. Colleen described Wonderland in such a way that I felt I was there and the unexpected twist leading to the ending makes me anxious for the next book. It was a good cliff-hanger. If you look for something refreshing when it comes to fairy tales, this is a book I highly recommend.