Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Thanks to N.Y. Comic Con/BookCon for giving away copies on the low! What I mean by that is the Macmillan team was not promoting these ARCs, they were only promoting via Twitter a Heartless t-shirt with the password “Jabberwockie”. I had sent Lilly @ Lair Of Books a screenshot of the tweet since they were giving out the shirts on the day I couldn’t go. Thanks to her husband for filling in for me because he got me all the copies for the day I didn’t attend lol. When Lilly sent me a photo of herself holding the t-shirt with the book I was so ecstatic!!! We were not expecting that at all. So of course my bookish bestie and I decided to buddy read Heartless and we loooooooved it. Our schedules for that buddy read week was pretty over the top but we indulged and would talk about it any chance we could. I’m so happy I got to experience this book with her because it’s actually one of my favorites of 2016.
On to the Review:
If you don’t know, this is a Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland retelling. It’s more like prequel where we learn as to why the Queen of Hearts turns into this heartless mean person. I want to thank Marissa Meyer for taking a leap into writing this story, it was rich in all aspects which I will get too and I devoured all of it. I feel like Lewis Carroll (creator of Alice in Wonderland) would be proud to read this book.
Plot: Honestly there’s not much plot to go off by, this is a very character driven book. Lady Catherine Pinkerton, daughter of Marquess and Marchioness Pinkerton of Rock Turtle Cove, lives a very well comfortable life. Catherine is in love with baking. She wants to open a bakery shop with her friend/maid Mary-Ann but her parents, more so her mother, has other plans. The King of Hearts is an eligible bachelor and her mother definitely wants Catherine to be the Queen. The Marchioness thinks her dreams of opening up a bakery isn’t up to par for a Lady who should be the Queen.
Catherine obeys her parents every command even when she doesn’t want to and she ends up going to a ball. A ball in which her mother very well wants the King to propose to her daughter and Catherine does not want any of it. She doesn’t like the King at all. At this ball she meets the court joker, Jest, and she feels an attraction and things unravel from there. But with Jest, monsters crawling about, Cath’s parents, and other weirdness going on, how will the two survive?
I have to say that I personally didn’t feel like this was a instalove situation, it was more like a slow burn in my opinion.
“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”
The writing was phenomenal! I have only read Cinder and Scarlet but I have to say that Marissa Meyer is Queen of Retellings! She definitely knows how to give you a good retelling and a shocker of a plot twist. I definitely did not know what to expect while reading Heartless. She took the world created by Lewis Carroll and gave us the same mad Wonderland we know. It was rich with color, riddles, and personalities.
Characters: I was very happy that Marissa Meyer included some characters from the original Alice in Wonderland story. We get to see Cheshire the Cat, White Rabbit, and Mad Hatta (before he was mad). Cheshire was the same sarcastic personality filled cat. Hatta played an important role in this book which kind of surprised me. I totally was not expecting for Hatta to play the role he did. I do not want to get into because of spoilers.
We also meet Mary-Ann as I previously mentioned that she is Cath’s maid/friend and they both want to open up a bakery shop. However, Mary-Ann although she supports Cath, she also feels like opening up a bakery is a farfetched dream. Which causes a little conflict between their friendship.
The King of Hearts who isn’t swoon worthy at all. I mean you can ask Lilly how many times I texted her rolling my eyes at the King. NOT because he is mean, he is the sweetest person ever but he was way too naive. While a monster was roaming the land of Hearts, the King wasn’t taking care of the problem. He just wanted to forget everything was happening, throw a Ball so the people of Hearts would also forget and keep everyone happy. I had a lot of problems with his character.
Jester the Court Joker who was actual swoon worthy and deserved all the love. He was hilarious, witty, smart, and very very charming. I loved his character so much and I enjoyed all the goodness he gave to Catherine. He definitely brought out the light in her. He was caring and meant well. Jest was also with a friend, Raven. Raven was an actual Raven who spoke in rhymes. Marissa Meyer was inspired by The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe for his character. And Raven made this story more unique.
I have a lot of thoughts towards this book. Although this a YA Fantasy Retelling about a girl who turns into this heartless mean queen, I couldn’t help relating it to real life and real people. Catherine is just this normal girl with ambitions and dreams, she just wants to become this person she’s imagined for herself but people, the ones she love, shatter all those dreams.
When I got into this book, I remember texting Lilly “I have a feeling that this book is going to break my heart” because when you start it, you get to know this girl who’s happy. She doesn’t want to be under her parents demands, she wants to experience real LOVE with someone and not marry the King for the benefit of it. Plus she wants to bake, building a bakery would make her the happiest girl in the world.
But I’ve seen this situation play out in real life where people crush you and make you into someone unrecognizable. And circumstances shape you. That’s what happened to Catherine, the Queen of Hearts.
I highly recommend this book.
(Created by me)
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