Book Banter: The Crown by Colleen Oakes

Title: The Crown, Queen of Hearts Saga #120410977
Author: Colleen Oakes
Genre: Fairy Tale
Length: 222 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From:  Private Collection
Plot Basics: Any good villain has a back story. The Queen of Hearts, or Dinah, is no different. The unwanted offspring of the reigning King, Dinah knows she is unloved and unwanted by any but her mother. But her mother cannot protect her and this tale is just beginning.

Banter Points: I really am fond of re-tellings and Alice in Wonderland is a favorite story of mine to start with. This first entry in the trilogy lays out the groundwork of how the world works, what is the same (and different) than the original Lewis Carroll tale. The Cheshire Cat has been one of my favorite characters since I first saw Disney’s version of this story; he continues to delight in this tale as well.

Dinah is little more than a spoiled brat when the story begins. Why shouldn’t she be? She’s been pampered her whole life, seldom hearing a word that contradicts her desires. It is easy to see her screeching “Off with their heads!” just like in the Disney version.  Unlike the Disney version, I feel sorry for Dinah. It really isn’t her fault, not in whole, that she is such a brat. The King does few favors for her. In fact, his displeasure with her is frequent and evident to anyone paying attention. Thankful for him, the courtiers do not pay close attention at all.

The forces that dictate her life are the extremes of kind and gentle to harsh and alienating. I know that she is going to grow up to the women who will torment Alice, but I’m not exactly sure just when and how she is going to get there. It’s a familiar story line with delightful twists and turns, just like a retelling should be.

I was very impressed that Dinah was brave enough to conduct some of her investigations.  Without giving anything away, the place she visits definitely was terrifying — just like it should be.  It isn’t an easy thing to execute and Oakes pulled it off.

Bummer Points: At a mere 222 page, I felt like the story was just getting started when it ended. Sure, it was a cliff hanger for the next installment in the trilogy, but the story was barely getting started, barely resolved when it ended. It felt more like a transition between parts than a genuine ending.

Stacie’s Recommendation: Interesting, but the whole trilogy needs to be available before a final decision can by justly made.

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