Author: Colleen Oakes
Length: 238 pages
An Exiled Princess.
An Ancient Tribe.
A Dangerous Stranger with Unknown Loyalties.
Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland Palace, has been chased into the wilds of Wonderland after the brutal murder of her brother and the ruin of her impending crown. Now, as her half-sister Vittiore sits on the throne beside her Father, the brutal King of Hearts, Dinah finds herself alone in the forbidding Twisted Wood with only Morte, a homicidal beast, for company.
Hunted by the King and his army of Cards, Dinah struggles to evade those who long for her head, including Cheshire, the King’s clever advisor, who is slowly tightening his grasp around her. Spurred on by her rising terror, the former Princess finds herself at the center of a web of conspiracy reaching far beyond the Palace and deep into the mysterious Yurkei mountain tribes.
Even with the balance of an entire Kingdom at stake, Dinah knows something that her allies and enemies do not: that the most dangerous conflict of all has already begun as she battles the enticing rage that beckons her ever closer as love slips further from her grasp.
The second book in the bestselling and award-winning Queen of Hearts Saga, The Wonder takes readers back to the most wondrous and curious places in Wonderland, and continues this darkly addictive tale featuring one of the most infamous villains of all time.
But be warned…not every fairy tale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.
Protagonist: After being framed for her brother's murder and being run out of the Wonderland Palace, Dinah is now on her own in the Twisted Forest of Wonderland. In this book Dinah really comes into her own and starts to realize that she isn't a pampered little girl anymore. She is a queen run out of her castle and she needs to grow up and figure out how she is going to deal with the obstacles in her path. I loved Dinah's growth, though I still wish there was more of a glimpse of the feared Queen of Hearts she is destined to become. Dinah seems so nice and pure, and it's hard to see her future even two-thirds of the way through the book.
Romance: Much like the previous installment of this series, there is little to no romance present in this book. Wardley doesn't even appear until close to the end. However, Dinah's feelings for him are a present and driving force for her at times. While I enjoyed the light handed bits of romance, it's a bit odd to me that they would appear, but not be more present than they are, especially with a romance as obviously doomed as the one between Dinah and Wardley.
World-Building: Much like other middle books this book expands the world building of the series exponentially. We get a greater look at the land of Wonderland and the Yurkei tribes that populate the mountains beyond the palace. There is some amazing imagery created with this installment and readers are treated to a vivid and wondrous view of the world this author adapted. There are some great interpersonal developments as well and allusions to the original source material.
Predictability: Honestly, most of this book was pretty unpredictable, not really in a shocking or mind-blowing way, though at times it was, it's more unpredictable in the way that you don't know what's going to happen and you're just sort of along for the fun and enjoyable ride. There were certain things, especially toward the end that were easy to guess at. However even then there was something about the twists that was still a bit unpredictable.
Ending: Like I said, the ending was pretty predictable, or at least the last chapter was. It was something that was a long time coming, and this was where we really get a first look at the woman that Dinah's going to become. I'm not quite sure when the third book in this trilogy will be released, but I'm sure that, judging from the end of this book, we will get to really see the transformation of Dinah from kind and innocent girl, to the fierce and feared queen she's destined to be.
So I debated on the rating for a little while, while on many accounts this book is a fantastic five star book, but there was something, I'm not quite sure if I can properly articulate what it was, that held me back from giving the entire book 5 stars.