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I Belong

Review: Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

Title: Blood of Wonderland

Author: Colleen Oakes

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Queen of Hearts Saga (Book #2)

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 006240976X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062409768 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Tara


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.

Quick & Dirty: Exiled for a murder she didn’t commit, Dinah must decide if she wants to fight to retake her throne in the second volume of this Alice in Wonderland retelling.

Opening Sentence: The former Princess of Wonderland was lost.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

While this book is an interesting addition to this unique Alice in Wonderland series, it felt like half of a story. It suffered from second book syndrome. However, it did an admirable job of setting up the third book. After the last chapter in Blood of Wonderland, I will be eagerly awaiting book three.

The story starts out with Dinah on the run, hunted by the Cards who believe she killed her brother. She wanders through the woods, attempting to survive. I liked how Morte (her horse) became a character in his own right. The relationship between the two of them was adorable and I liked how protective he was of her. However, the first fourth of the book was extremely slow.

It picked up when Dinah met a Card during a very fortunate moment. Dinah wasn’t a very interesting character during the next portion. Thankfully she does begin to develop. I don’t want to spoil some of the events but I did really enjoy the second half of the book. She becomes much less of a spoiled brat and begins to think for herself. There was one part that I loved where you see the moment when she decides that she is a queen and will fight for her throne.

I liked how this book explored the lands outside of the Wonderland palace more. I do wish that the author had explored the fantastic a bit more since the world has so much more potential. Additionally, we learn more about both Dinah’s history and that of Wonderland. One weakness to this retelling is that there wasn’t a lot of suspense. Despite that, it was still an enjoyable read.

While this book could have been better, this series is a very unique retelling. I love that I was able to connect with Dinah more while simultaneously seeing how she becomes the ruthless Queen of Hearts. This book had a fantastic ending that set up book three to be the best in the series. I recommend this series if you enjoy retellings, particularly if you’re intrigued by the villains.

Notable Scene:

The fact that this hadn’t happened long ago alarmed Dinah, but not as much as the red blown-glass heart that topped the end of the arrow. She had seen these arrows before, adorning the backs of many Heart Cards that guarded the outer gates of the palace. She stood, the world spinning around her. It wasn’t the Yurkei who had been here. The Cards had found her. Dinah swung the bag around her back and ran straight toward Morte. “Up!” she barked. Her panic was evident and for this he didn’t hesitate, lifting his leg as she neared him. Dinah stepped without fear onto his spikes and vaulted herself onto his back, her legs curling around his massive neck.

From what she could tell, the tracks of the Cards (huge, impossible not to notice once she was looking) were heading north, and so she turned Morte east. From there, they ran. Her heart thudded in her ears as Morte raced through the ever-blackening wood. Farther and farther in they dashed, making an incredible noise, yet what chance did they have not to? Dinah could barely see, but Morte seemed to have perfect night vision—he easily navigated branches and deep holes in the earth without trouble. Every few seconds, she would glance back, praying that she wouldn’t see a white Hornhoov emerging from the darkness. They had made it a few miles from the house when she heard the first faint shouts and clinking of armor. Fear surrounded her and made it hard to think. The sounds seemed to be coming over a dark ridge in the distance.

Queen of Hearts Saga:

1. Queen of Hearts

2. Blood of Wonderland

3. War of the Cards (November 7, 2017)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Blood of Wonderland. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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