True confession: I have never read Alice in Wonderland. I have, however, seen the Disney cartoon and the Tim Burton movie; how accurately they films follow the text is something I don’t know. But I can say that I have never really been a fan. Who I am a fan of, though, is Colleen Oakes. I’ll read anything and everything she writes – and I’ll probably love it, too. I certainly did love Queen of Hearts.
This book is the first in the Queen of Hearts saga, a planned trilogy set in the fantasy realm of Wonderland. the story is Dinah’s – the first-born child of the King and Queen of Hearts – of “off with their heads!” fame. A 15-year-old girl when the story begins, Dinah is learning to someday rule the land. (But she would much rather be spending her days with her best friend – and the boy she loves – Wardley, and indulging with tarts. Be honest: wouldn’t we all?) But the closer her coronation comes, them more the royal castle shimmers with suspicion. Dinah’s father is cruel; a black-hearted ruler more feared than he is loved by his subjects. And it seems his hatred toward his daughter grows daily.
In short, this is a fantastic story. Filled with familiar characters – the white “rabbit” always hopping about excited about the time, the Cheshire “cat,” the mad hatter, and even the decks of cards. It’s crafty, clever, and oh so captivating. A glimpse behind the crown, showing us how the fairy tale queen – always seen as cruel, evil, and bloodthirsty, ordering the beheading of so many – truly came to power and nearly lost her own head.
Queen of Hearts has a bit of everything – romance, fantasy, action, adventure, and intrigue. Not to mention a cliff-hanger ending that left me (blood)thirsty for more!