“Oh, my future queen, you’re late!”
Wonderland and origin stories are all the rage these days. Just as anyone (like me) highly anticipating Heartless by Marissa Meyer. However, we can’t all have an ARC in our hands right now, so I picked up this equally wonderful Wonderland origin story by Colleen Oakes: Queen of Hearts.
Dinah is Princess of Wonderland and future Queen of Hearts, but her days are filled with endless tea, tarts, and insults from her father, the King of Hearts. Her best friend Wardley, future Knave of Hearts and love of her life, is her only relief, and he’s not enough when an enchanting stranger arrives at the palace, threatening everything Dinah has ever wanted. Dinah’s coronation date approaches, but evil is rising and it is up to Dinah to unravel the mystery.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with just a few things I would tweak. The characters were all very interesting, and most of them seemed to have quite a bit of depth. I do wish that we could have seen more of Charles, Dinah’s brother and “The Mad Hatter” more as well as Harris, Dinah’s tutor, or “The White Rabbit.” While Charles with his charming madness was my favorite character, I did quite like Dinah. In the beginning, she was a bit flat, but she started to pick up and have a lot of fire. I always like the origin stories of “villains,” so this made me really happy seeing where Dinah was coming from. I loved the settings and the usual whimsical descriptions of Womderland. They were mostly the lighter type, almost like Lewis Caroll’s version, which made the evil politics and dark workings behind the scenes seem all the more twisted. The one that Hong that bothered me was the pace of the book. It was a bit slow in the second quarter of the book, and there were some time jumps that felt a bit too sudden and left me feeling disoriented. Also, the romance in the book was not the right amount. I still couldn’t really get a feeling for whether or not I shipped Wardleh and Dinah, and there either needed to be more exploration of this dynamic or just less of it altogether, leaving more room for other plot developments.
In summary, I would recommend this book to Wonderland fans, especially those who love origin stories. I’m definitely looking forward to the second book myself!