Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mini-Reviews--Alice in Wonderland-Inspired Sequels Edition: Red Queen by Christina Henry & Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

Since I've been delaying some of my ARC reviews so that I can post them a little bit closer to their delayed publications, I decided to do another themed mini-review post today. Today's is all about some sequels in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-inspired series!

Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice, #2)Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry
Publication: July 12th, 2016
Paperback. 291 pages.

About Red Queen:
"The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found. 

Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King. 

The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen..."

Red Queen is the second book in The Chronicles of Alice duology, sequel to Alice (and there is a now a book of short stories out called Looking Glass!). I adore this series so much and it is one of my favorite Alice-inspired stories. It's brutally dark at times and Alice and all the other characters are put through so many trials, but it's also a truly beautiful story that s well worth the read.

What I liked: Everything! Henry's writing is beautiful and she manages to effortlessly convey an atmosphere of darkness and unease, but that is also incredibly imaginative and full of new ideas to explore. Her characters are one of my favorite parts of this story, as they are as well-done as her writing is and are so well drawn that I feel easily connected to them. As much as I love Alice, I have such a big heart and love for Hatcher as well and I find him to be such an incredibly fascinating and well-written character. I also continue to love the small details that make this world so detailed and connected to Lewis Carroll's original stories of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass--and as a huge fan of the originals, I love how much she combines old and new ideas and details.

What I didn't like: Nothing? I even went and read through some less positive reviews to see if any of the things other people didn't like are things maybe I forgot I had issues with, but nope, I respectfully disagreed with just about all of them! :)

Overall, Red Queen gets a five stars from me! I highly, highly recommend this series if you enjoy any Alice-inspired tales with a darker twist, though do be forewarned that some very heavy topics are involved, so if you struggle with those kind of topics be aware of that going into them.

Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga, #2)Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga #2) by Colleen Oakes
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Hardcover. 336 pages.

About Blood of Wonderland:
"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."

I have been thoroughly enjoying Oakes' Queen of Hearts Saga and I ended up loving this sequel as much as I loved the first book!

What I liked: Oakes' Wonderland-inspired world is full of imagination and has so many delightful nods to the original stories, but the story is wholly her own. Dinah is a really exciting character to follow and I've enjoyed getting to know her and watching her grow in so many vastly different ways as she learns how to survive and uncovers many dark secrets about her and those around her. I think Oakes displays great character development in all of the characters in addition to Dinah, and I also love Dinah's stunning and blood-thirsty horse, Morte. I also enjoyed exploring new settings, such as the Twisted Wood with its stunning descriptions, and getting a chance to learn more about the world and its inhabitants outside of where we visited in the first book.

What I didn't like: As a personal peeve, I found Sir Gorrann written dialect of 'yeh' instead of 'you' and such very distracting to read. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the book enough to lower the rating, but I found it a little annoying. The only thing that made me a little disappointed has to do with a huge spoiler near the end of the book, but it has to do with something that seems as though it's going to become a huge motivation for Dinah's future actions--I haven't read the third book so I can't say for sure, but I was just a bit disappointed that the thing that happened... well, was what it was. I realize how vague all of that is, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.

Overall, I've also given Blood of Wonderland five stars! What can I say? These are both great Alice-inspired tales and absolutely pass my tests!


  1. I need to go back and read Red Queen, I'm sort of mad at myself that I haven't read it yet!

  2. I haven't had the best luck with Wonderland retellings, but I do want to read more Christina Henry!