Dinah learned from an unknown source that broke into her room into the middle of the night that the king, her own father, planned to have her accused of the death of her dear hatter brother Charles, and she escapes on a not-so trusty or noble yet killing-machine-guaranteed steed named Morte, and she is now the most wanted one in Wonderland. Having never been out of the region she was destined to reign over after her woeful father, she and Morte are trying to survive a dangerously unknown land before their supplies are depleted and find the Spades that the Hearts like Dinah have always been at war with.
There's honestly not much to say about the first half that I haven't written about in prior reviews. Oakes does a decent job of showing someone who, while mistreated was well fed, is now starving and desperate. It reminded me a little bit of The Storm by Virginia Bergin. And I grew to appreciate the horse Morte, giving him the time that Queen of Hearts didn't have for him to become a sympathetic beast.
I also enjoyed a scene where Corrann and Dinah have to navigate a cave of creepy crawlies and pitch-blackness. Think a cave of probably silverfish, cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, eugh. We don't know because it's in the dark.
Something original that happens in this sprint to meet the enemy is this leader is not forgiving of murder attempts and is still kind of brutal towards Dinah because of something she almost did. And because of that scene being a little dismal and not to my taste, plus the promise to kill another major character, I actually wasn't sure if I was going to recommend this book, but there ends up being enough for it to pull through.
This second instalment pales compared to its predecessor due to some trite plot devices and a lack of characters from the first outing, especially since this is a very short series, but you still feel like you're in the same Wonderland that brought all the horrors before, and the ending replenishes most of its flaws and has a different way of putting a cliffhanger. The last book, War of the Cards, has just come out. I'll read it, but maybe not till next year. I've got other things a little bit bigger to read.