Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 342 pages
Setting: the capital of Wonderland, soon after the events of Blood of Wonderland
Summary: Short version: Dinah is crowned Queen, although it is not without heartbreak
Long version: Dinah is slowly leading her combined army of Yurkei and Spades on the capitol. She has a plan to get inside the walls and confront the King that minimizes bloodshed. The King refuses to surrender. Dinah is able to beat him in a duel, just barely. She takes command of the Kingdom and sets about making changes with the help of her advisers. She pardons Vittiore, to the delight of the people of Wonderland. However, shen she catches Wardley (her true love) and Vittiore sleeping together, her rage pushes her to chop off Vittiore’s head. Wardley will never forgive her for that action. Dinah also realizes the Cheshire killed her brother, Charles, in the hopes that she would gain power.
Final thoughts: A solid conclusion to the series. I must admit I was a bit confused when Dinah was crowned Queen and we still had half the book to go. I thought the point of the book was for Dinah to win the battle against the King, but obviously Oakes wasn’t done with Dinah’s story. I just wasn’t sure where she was going next. First, we had to have Dinah succumb to her black rage and kill impestuously. She already had enough problems with Wardley. She was infatuated and Wardley wasn’t. Now we learned why – his heart was given over to Vittiore. And Dinah kills Vittiore. Good luck convincing Wardley to be your King now. She did it eventually, though, since we see them together with kids in the epilogue.
The second plot Oakes needed to tie up was how awful Cheshire was. Cheshire wanted Dinah to give in to the black rage and hold tightly onto power. Instead, she tried to govern from a place of love. That doesn’t stop her from killing Cheshire when he admits to his guilt. It does mean she tries to keep the rage bottled up.
One of my favorite things about the book and the whole series was seeing all the touchpoints to Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Oakes even gives that an origin story.
Title comes from: The first half of the book is a big battle, fought by the four Cards
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #36 for 2019, and an O in my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge
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