Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult / Teens / Retelling / Romance
Book hangovers are the worst! I finished Heartless by Marissa Meyer the other day and I’m still trying to process everything. The characters, the world-building, the plot, everything. I originally bought this because the cover is gorgeous underneath the book jacket. It is by far the best cover I have ever seen on a book!! I mean, just check out the black and red checkerboard with a crown for the king on the front. The same pattern appears on the back, but instead of a crown for the king, it’s a joker’s hat.
This is my first Marissa Meyer novel so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is a prequel rather than a retelling of the famous story of Alice in Wonderland. The main character also happens to be one of the most awful and hated villains of all time: The Queen of Hearts. With that being said, Marissa Meyer blew me away. My appreciation for a classic grew. Seriously, if there were to be a prequel for Alice in Wonderland explaining who the Queen of Hearts was and how she became her, this would be it! It’s fantastic!
About the Book:
(Taken from the back of the book)
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
Cath is an easy girl to become friends with. She was kind, sweet, caring, and just simply wanted to be a baker and open her own shop alongside her maid, Margaret. I found myself feeling compassionate for her. She wants to marry for love, but her mother insists that she marry the king.
Now the king is a bubbling fool. For example, while the Jabberwock is busy terrorizing the people of Hearts, he would rather have a tea party and carry on like nothing is happening. He’s clingy, needy, and quite annoying. I sympathize with Cath for not wanting to marry him. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure why he even wanted to marry her. All we know that he likes about her is her baking. Well, I guess they say that food is the way to a man’s heart. Hehe.
Then there’s is the joker, who just happens to be named Jest. This was cheesy and cute. Cath and Jest have a serious case of insta-love which is typically annoying and not something I enjoy reading books. However, I thought the romance was cute and sweet. Jest is mysterious, charming, and magical. I wish I could tell you more about him, but I’m afraid that I’m going to accidentally let out a spoiler.
Even though this takes place in Hearts, it’s very Wonderland. We see glimpses from the original by Lewis Carroll which was really neat. I haven’t actually read the novel, but I have watched the Disney animation and many other film adaptations. I was impressed with this one because I usually don’t like many retellings for this story. There are also glimpses relating to the Tim Burton film adaptations which I thought was really interesting. This is a really hard world to combine and establish but somehow Marissa Meyer managed to do just that. We also see pieces of the “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe show up a lot. I loved that Raven represented this.
Now back to Wonderland. It was very Wonderland. The Chesire Cat, The Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit. They were all there playing very important roles in the story. It was brilliant!
Then there’s the writing. This is definitely geared for middle grade and young adults for the writing is very fairytale like and swoon-worthy. It was perfect for this tale. The descriptions were brilliant. I felt like I was actually there in this fantasy world experiencing everything that the characters were experiencing. It was exciting getting to go to one of the Mad Hatter’s tea parties! Oh and the food. Don’t even get me started. The descriptions of the food will have you craving a taste. Now, there are some flaws that the author could have fixed to make the story flow better, but overall, it was enjoyable.
The characters are far from perfect. Cath, in particular, makes some really bad decisions that will make you wonder if she’s stupid. Since we already know the ending of this story this won’t be much of a spoiler. I didn’t want to see her become the Queen of Hearts! That was the hardest part for me. This book is an emotional rollercoaster.
I could go on and on telling you about how brilliant this book is, but then we’d be here all day and you’d never read the book. This book is brilliant.
Highly recommended for anyone and everyone!
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About Marissa Meyer
Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.