The Queen is Rising | Review of ‘Blood of Wonderland’ (Queen of Hearts Saga #2)

By Cynthia Ayala

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
Image Credit: Goodreads

“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. 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.” —Goodreads

Published January 31, 2017, by HarperTeen Blood of Wonderland
by Colleen Oakes is the second novel in her Wonderland retelling that brings new life to the Queen of Wonderland.

This is a good series but there is a slowness to this novel. It picks up right where the previous novel leaves off with Dinah in the woods with her fathers’ prized stallion that is more violent and bloodthirsty Hornhoov. She’s lost and alone, pretty much despondent in every way, framed for the murder of her beloved brother by her hateful father, the King of Wonderland. There’s a lot of time she spends in the woods, and it makes for a slow start for the story, focusing more on Dinah and who she was, who she is, and everything she has lost. At this point in the novel, she’s just trying to survive. She has plenty of near death experiences that lend itself to creating tension between her and her beast, but also allowing the beast to connect to her and her to it. It almost reminds of a story between a man and his dog, only in this case, it’s between a girl and her horse, sort of. That’s pretty much how the story starts, and it continues to have that underlining theme even near the end of the story.

Now that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, anyone with a pet will be able to connect to this side of the story, so that’s the bright side of this story, and it’s part of the only lightness this story has to it because otherwise, it’s very dark. Dinah is on the run for her life, old secrets come forward that almost break her, shattering everything she has ever known and now it’s time to prepare for war. Dinah has to grow up very fast, she has to become a commander and a queen all at once. That’s powerful. Her narrative highlights on the pressures on her, all the tension she has with those around her as she navigates who to trust in her new world as she begins to wage war against her own people and her father. But nothing breaks her, she raises her head above it all and grows stronger for it, and following her journey, following her growth in her new world order forces gives life to the Queen of Hearts everyone knows. The temper is there, the anger and hatred, she’s finally letting it blossom within her, letting it grow and flourish. It doesn’t happen all at once, and that’s really what makes it such a good read.

Dinah grows into an almost completely different person than she was in the first novel. Yes, the novel overall follows a slow pace, but it’s not without reason, focusing on Dinah and her changes. She’s slowly becoming the Queen of Hearts and the transformation is powerful. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

Page count: 336pp

Age Range: 15 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-0624-0976-8

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price:  $17.99

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