Book review: Queen of Hearts, by Colleen Oakes

Oakes, Colleen. Queen of Hearts. (Queen of Hearts saga, #1) HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9780062409720. 306 pages. Ages 13 and up. P7 Q9    

oakes-queen-of-heartsQueen of Hearts is a reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s creation, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. In this first novel of a new trilogy, we meet Dinah, the future Queen of Hearts. This is not a simple retelling of Carroll’s iconic tale. First of all, the story is told from the point of view of the Queen. Secondly, all of Carroll’s notorious anthropomorphic characters have been replaced by humans. The Mad Hatter is transformed into the Queen’s younger brother. Charles (so named as a nod Carroll himself) the Prince of Hearts, remains secluded in his quarters, speaking in riddles, and fashioning the loveliest hats in the Kingdom. Similarly, the White Rabbit mutates into Dinah’s frantic guardian and tutor, Harris. Oakes gives the King of Hearts a belligerent overhaul as he rules the Kingdom like a virulent warlord. Dinah is a different sort of princess. She is not particularly confident at times or traditionally beautiful. She is, however, quite smart and plucky. The story includes some violence and dark scenes that call for a slightly older audience. This first book in the series ends with a nice cliffhanger to lead in to the second book. Fans of fantasy will really enjoy this much more sensical adventure in Wonderland.

September 2016 review by Lillian Curanzy.

 

[Editor’s note: This title was previously published in a slightly different format by SparkPress in 2014.]

 

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