Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read Queen of Hearts last summer and was really enamored with it, being that it was basically Alice in Wonderland meets Game of Thrones, but in a smaller form. While I very eagerly awaited Blood of Wonderland - and with a title like that, how could I not? - I think maybe this book got a little too GRRM-like for its own good in a way. Not because it was long - it wasn't. Not because it killed my faves off - it didn't. But more because it felt less like this was about Dinah and more like it was about Daenerys Targaryen, winding up outside her home kingdom and allying with a distant tribe of dark-skinned warrior-type people who have a certain...uncivilized reputation back home. To be fair, though, Dinah's very quick to learn that the bad stereotypes about the Yurkei (who, to me and others, read like Native Americans) are wrong, and that their society is pretty harmonious and prosperous. But she wants to rise up and take down her evil father, and to do that, she's going to need the Yurkei. Thus she forms a very tenuous alliance.
I imagine there would be those who find this book problematic because of the aforementioned Yurkei storyline, which does take up most of the book - which means that it has surprisingly little to do with Wonderland, and also the "blood" in the title is surprisingly absent as well. (Though, in truth, the title refers to a big twist that isn't entirely impossible to foresee. No spoilers, however.)
I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as its predecessor, but I suspect it's merely a lower-quality bridge book between Queen of Hearts and the forthcoming finale, War of the Cards, for which Oakes promises more bloody awesomeness (though at this point I think I've learned to take her promises with a grain of salt.) I was, however, able to speed through the whole thing in less than an hour, so Oakes, for all the faults she put into this book, hasn't lost her addictive streak, not by a long shot.
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