Blood of Wonderland, by Colleen Oakes

Driven from her kingdom just days before she was to be crowned Queen of Hearts, Dinah is alone in the Twisted Wood, with only a deadly Hornhoov, Morte, her father’s steed, as her company. Her world has turned upsidedown following a brutal betrayal and a deadly flight in the middle of the night. Now battered, bruised, and hungry, Dinah faces an unknown future in the middle of an unfamiliar landscape. She is being hunted, tracked by one of the kingdom’s best Cards. But when he finds her, Dinah begins to hope she can trust the man who, only a year earlier, mocked her. Together now, Dinah and Sir Gorrann walk right into the heart of the enemy–or are they?

Blood of Wonderland is the second book in the Queen of Hearts saga, picking up the story where Queen of Hearts left off. Dinah continues to amaze me. Yes, she has her moments of whining, feeling sorry for herself, and acting like a child. And there is also the girl becoming a woman who is strong, resilient, and ready to fight for what is hers. This book is filled with scenes of action, training for battle, preparing for war. And in the midst of all of that, the author reminds us that Dinah is just a girl–not even 20 years old and carrying so much sadness, death, and violence on her shoulders. What may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back comes in the form of rejection from the boy she has loved all of her life; the boy who would be King of Hearts but who can love Dinah as nothing more than a friend or sister. Dinah’s strength is the result of the sadness and cruelty she has endured. And what is so thrilling about her is that she may be the source of either her own salvation or her own destruction.

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