Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
Queen of Hearts had introduced us to Dinah, the young princess of Wonderland who is undermined by the father and driven into exile after she is betrayed by him in favor of her younger half-sister, Vittoire. This book starts with her escaping into the Twisted Woods and evaluating her choices. She is still hurting from the death of her brother and furious about her father framing her for it. But as she goes further, she find allies in her revenge against her father and aid to win back her kingdom. Only thing is, she has to go to the enemy to do so, and part of her is wary of it but also wants to prove herself.
Dinah is a pretty strong character in that she doesn’t give up even when she is outmaneuvered. Granted, she gets some lucky breaks thanks to her father, but it is she who first proves that she is a fearsome person worth following. While a bit of it is training with a sword, it is also her trying to live up to the legend that has been built around her since her escape from her palace, during which she had caused enough havoc to make everyone in Wonderland a little awed by her. The King doesn’t underestimate her, really, but that is mostly due to his own paranoia rather than fear of her abilities. In this book Dinah forms allies who mostly back her because of what she represents and that sets up her character development. She is being moved like a piece on the board, but she is determined to make her own path. But looking at how much pain she is facing, that determination in her will only soon turn sour.
With respect to the first novel, this one felt short. Queen of Hearts had built up the world, and though Blood of Wonderland introduces us to Wonderland proper and calls back on some iconic pieces of Alice in Wonderland like the tea party and the Blue Caterpillar, those scenes don’t fully fit into the narrative and seem to come out of nowhere. And with regards to plot progression, little happens in this book, but if you look at character development, there is plenty. The ending was hurried, though, and a little reveal at the end felt a bit out of place.
Overall, in terms of character development it is a good sequel but the plot as a whole feels incomplete and rushed in parts. Still, I look forward to the final book coming out in November.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.
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