After the really interesting retelling that book one was, I was super excited to pick up the next book in this series. While it was good, not a lot happened and as a result, I think it suffered a bit from second-book sydrome.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes.

The story picks up where it left off. Dinah had fled Wonderland after being accused by her father, the king, of murdering her beloved brother, Charles, in cold blood. Armed with few resources and Morte, her father's lethal Hornhoov, she sets off into the Twisted Wood. She soon meets Sir Gorrann, a Spade tracker who agrees to help her and leads her to the doorstep of Wonderland's most prominent enemy, the Yurkei. Soon Dinah finds herself with some unlikely allies and, before deciding to wage a war, has to come to terms with some major revelations in her life.

I really wanted to enjoy this book! I loved the first one, but I think because we kind used up the Alice in Wonderland references/characters in the first book, this story became less of a retelling and more of an addition to the retelling. This idea in and of its self isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think it led to a bit of a lull in the action. For probably the first third, Dinah just walks around. She does some thinking, but she doesn't do much more than wander. Then Gorrann shows up and things start to happen. But there's a good chunk of time when nothing is happening.

When things do start happening, I felt like they were smaller details that weren't needed. A lot of the action just seemed like it was needed to advance the plot and set things up for book three, classic second-book syndrome. By the end of this book, we are barely closer to war than we were when it started.

I did like, however, how Oakes set up the groundwork for Dinah becoming the stereotypical, off-with-your-head, Queen of Hearts. She has spurned by her father, cast as a rebel to be hunted, and seen as a murderer of the one person she loved most. There is also a development with the romance that I won't get into but let's just say that it does nothing to cool her temper. So I appreciated that element. We see a darker side to Dinah that we hadn't previously. I think it will be very useful when the story progresses and she (likely) becomes this evil Queen, however, I'm not sure I agree with the whole woman scorned = evil tyrant setup.

I also liked the romance, or I suppose, lack thereof, in this book. Wardley is Dinah's love interest and not really a part of this book, so we didn't see much romance. I was really worried when Gorrann was introduced, that he would be part of a love triangle or something but then the description came that he had served her father for thirty years - and I knew he couldn't be a love interest. I kept looking to see if another love interest would be introduced, but there never was one. I found this really fascinating, both in terms of the story and in terms of what I have come to expect in the books I read.

Overall, despite its few flaws, I did still enjoy this book and am still planning on picking up the third and final book in this series.