Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Review: The Crown (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)

Release Date: February 14, 2014
Author: Colleen Oakes
Publisher: SparkPress
Length: 222 pages

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.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.



Protagonist: We all know that the Queen of Hearts is a classic villain, so going into this book I had expected to see at least some real darkness in the character of Dinah, the future Queen of Hearts. However, she is actually a very well rounded protagonist and heroine with barely any of the qualities of an anti-hero. That being said, it's kind of no wonder why this princess will one day turn to the dark side. While she has a loving guardian and tutor, the White (not-so) Rabbit, named Harris, her father is a cruel and ruthless man who seems to have hated her since childhood. Dinah's Journey in this book is just beginning, but it's really hard not to root for her to succeed even knowing where she will one day end up.

Romance: So there is very little romance in this book, in fact there is so little that I almost didn't include this part but I know that it's going to play a much larger role in future installments and so I wanted to touch on it now. So Dinah's love interest is a boy named Wardley, her childhood best friend and the boy who gave her her first kiss, however is fairly plain to see that though he's kissed her, he doesn't share her feelings. Like I said there isn't much romance to be had in this book, but I have a feeling the next book is going show more development between these two.

World-Building: I was kind of disappointed that, when I began this book, the author had taken some of the wonder out of Wonderland. By that I mean that certain characters, such as the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat, are portrayed by human counterparts instead of their furry forms, and that other things such as playing croquet with live flamingos and hedgehogs is replaced with decorative mallets and balls. However, it was very easy for me to overlook once I got a real taste of the Wonderland interpretation this author has created. There is still plenty of magic, from the beautiful to the terrifying, in this Wonderland. It was so much fun to see how the author interpreted the backstories of these classic characters, and while some choices, or really one in particular, are confusing, it made me all the more interested to see what was next.

Predictability: This book has such a slow pacing in the beginning, before picking up dramatically, that I'm not at all sure just how much I was able to predict and how much really just happened. Also, there weren't all that many twists in the book, more often there were just hints, rather large ones actually, to future twists. The biggest twist of all I'm still reeling over though while it was unexpected, it wasn't all that surprising. In fact more than anything it's a tad confusing, though I can't say why because I want to avoid spoiling you.

Ending: The ending really is all about setting up the next book and getting Dinah in the position she need to be in on her road to becoming the Queen of Hearts. I can't really say there was a terribly dramatic climax, nor even a crazy cliffhanger, instead, like most first books in a series, it just plateaus at the end leaving both a satisfying feeling and a need to know more.


I was this close to giving this book five stars, but the fact that this book doesn't really pick up until the second half kept me from giving that extra half star. It's not a boring beginning by any means, but more that there is a lot of set-up and characters to introduce before this story really starts focusing on plot. I can't wait to continue this story though and hopefully see a more sinister side to Dinah.


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