Author: Colleen Oakes, 2014.
Genre: Fantasy. Alice in Wonderland Re-telling.
Other Details: e-book. 222 pages.
A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Dark Secret. A Princess Unravelling.
For Dinah, Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, days at the palace are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, The King of Hearts. Her only relief are her visits with her childhood best friend Wardley, the future Knave of Hearts—and her heart’s greatest desire. When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to burn. As her coronation date approaches, a series of bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs within the halls of Wonderland. Driven by her furious nature, Dinah must unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the palace before she quite literally loses her head in a game of treachery against a clever and faceless foe. - synopsis from author's website.
Lewis Carroll's Wonderland seems to be providing the setting for a fair few recent fantasy novels. Given the title of this series and Colleen's statement that "this is the story of the Princess who becomes a villain", it is quite clear that Princess Dinah will over time evolve into the Queen of Hearts of the Alice stories. Of course, Dinah is the name of the original Alice's beloved kitten so quite an ironic name for the future Queen of Hearts.
I came to this novel without high expectations yet was intrigued enough by the premise and attracted by the beautiful cover art. So I initially borrowed it via the Amazon Kindle lending library, which like any library is a good way to test read new authors and series. I found that I enjoyed it and as it was low priced I bought it on completion. It is rather a short novel and I felt that it could easily have been longer. Dinah certainly started off an entitled brat though as the story progressed she learnt some hard lessons, especially in the closing pages.
The big question was whether I felt engaged enough in the characters and story to want to read the next book in the 'saga'. The answer was that I certainly do.