Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review: Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga #2)

Release Date: January 31, 2017
Author: Colleen Oakes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 336 pages
Source: Purchased Book

The queen will rise.

Dinah has been exiled from Wonderland. The vicious father she always feared has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her.

Now hiding in the lush and mysterious Twisted Wood with only her war steed at her side, Dinah is faced with a choice. She could leave Wonderland forever or return and fight her father for her throne—a fight she knows would only result in bloodshed.

When a chance encounter with one of her father’s long-lost enemies brings Dinah more allies than she ever could have imagined, war starts to feel inevitable. But before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny—no matter how dark those truths may be.

Revolution is rising in Wonderland.

Dinah’s battle has begun.



Protagonist: Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland was driven from her castle and her kingdom after her father, the King of Hearts, framed her for the murder of her brother, the Mad Hatter, and now she just wants to escape her possible fate of losing her head to her father's Heartsword. While we see that there is a fury within Dinah, that's obviously foreshadowing her eventual role as the mad and bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts, it's still incredibly easy to root for Dinah. If not for circumstances out of her control she would have made a wonderful, fair, and just ruler. I want Dinah to succeed, but I also know the pain she'd cause if things turn out the way they do in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Romance: So, much like the first installment, if not even more so, romance doesn't play a huge role in this story. After leaving Wardley to whatever fate her father decided for him after letting her go, Dinah is full of guilt. She stabbed him to save him, or so she tells herself, but even a stab wound might not save him from her father. So, I really don't know what to write here that wouldn't give things away. All I can say is that Wardley and Dinah do interact in this book, at some point, and that the feelings Dinah has towards him play an integral role in her character development. I do wish that Dinah's feelings for him didn't seem so obsessive and clingy, but at the same time, they're supposed to, very obviously so. I do enjoy how the romance plays out in this book from a technical perspective, as it tackles a topic not seen very much in YA romance and I'm interested to see how things will develop in the final installment.

World Building: Now that we're out of the Castle of Wonderland, the real world building can begin. Now, I still stand by my feelings in the first installment that the connections to the world of Wonderland are extremely thin, I mean, all you need to do is change some names around, maybe the odd easter egg or two and this could be completely separate from Wonderland while still telling the same story. Now, I decided not to let that affect my rating since after the first installment I've not only said my piece about it but also realized I should take this story for what it is. In this story, we discover more about the world beyond the castle and specifically discover who the Yurkei are and their connection to Wonderland and Dinah discovers more about herself, whether she likes it or not. There are some nice little Wonderland easter eggs, that, while I'm still not a fan of how they're handled, I couldn't help but enjoying nonetheless.

Predictability: So, even though I've technically read this book already (having read the SparksPress version) and having read it more recently than having read the SparksPress version of the first installment, I remembered very little about the story other than a few main highlights at the beginning and end. That being said, even when it came to the twists I knew were coming, I was still blown away by them. There's one scene, that I've read before, I knew what was going to happen down to a T, and I didn't cry for the first time. I bawled like a baby during that scene (maybe because I was listening to the audiobook?) and I was shocked more by that than anything. This book has some great twists and turns and all of them hit true for me.

Ending: So, the ending. Honestly, I don't know what to write here that isn't a spoiler. The ending of this book is a bit unconventional as there isn't really a typical final climax. There's a lot that happens at the end of this story, but there wasn't really any suspense or tension, however, the ending was still fantastic. It hit all the right points and led up to a wonderful epilogue. There's definitely a clear course for the next and final book and while there wasn't really a cliffhanger to this story, I'd be surprised if you weren't chomping at the bit for the final installment.


This was a near perfect second installment. It took everything set up in the first book and expanded and evolved it into a beautiful and exciting fantasy for the ages. I've been waiting for years for the final installment and can't wait to sink my teeth in!


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