Published by Feiwel & Friends on 2016-11-08
Length: 453 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: Beat the Backlist 2019
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. 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 an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Marissa Meyer‘s Heartless wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was just as good as I’d hoped. I loved The Lunar Chronicles, so when I first heard that Meyer was writing a book about the Queen of Hearts I was excited. Excited and intrigued. Intrigued because I’ve read other books about the Queen of Hearts and didn’t like them, yet Meyer’s cyborg Cinderella convinced me she could write anything. Heartless tells the story of a young woman with her own dreams who is forced into a role she doesn’t want.
Catherine is a baker, the best in the kingdom of Hearts if you ask her, but also the daughter of the Marquess of Rock Turtle Cove. As his daughter, being a baker is out of reach. Instead she is forced into a role she doesn’t want, being courted by the king. I felt sorry for Cath. She is a dreamer, headstrong, and knows exactly what she wants in life. Yet she can’t have any of it. She can’t even choose who to love.
Enter the mysterious new court joker, Jest. I know I was supposed to love him like Cath does, but I couldn’t. He was manipulative, and I never felt I could truly trust him as Cath does. Instead I doubted everything he said and did in the book, thinking it was to push Cath along towards the king.
The plot of the story is pretty simple. Cath doesn’t want to be queen, she wants to live her life as she sees fit. Yet fate intervenes (or Jest….I strongly suspect him). While the plot – and Jest – are underwhelming, I love how Marissa Meyer interweaved Carroll’s classic with her own version of Wonderland. I was delighted to see the whimsy and creatures of Wonderland in a Victorian setting. It made for an interesting read.
Overall I really enjoyed Heartless. Cath and her situation are heartbreaking, and I found myself feeling for the off-with-their-heads queen. I could suddenly put myself in her shoes and empathize with her. If you enjoy the original and love Meyer’s writing, I highly recommend you grab a copy to read.