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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she 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.
Rating: 3 Stars
Book Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8th 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m not sure Heartless was my favorite of Meyer’s writing. While I ADORED The Lunar Chronicles and had high expectations for Heartless, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I should also mention, this is a standalone which I did not know going into it.
o The Alice in Wonderland references: It’s so hard for me to go into a book that’s a spinoff/retelling of Alice in Wonderland without any bias. Add the fact that the book is written by one of my favorite authors and the bias just doubled. What was great about Heartless wasn’t just the bits of the book that included parts of the original Alice in Wonderland (ie the mad hatter, jabberwock, or great tea parties). It was HOW Meyer incorporated these old characters and original storyline into her own story. It didn’t feel like reading Alice in Wonderland, it felt like it’s own story but with a bit of Wonderland dust sprinkled on it
Not So Favorite Bits:
o There was one reoccurring aspect of Heartless that I found bothersome. Even though it wasn’t her fault that she was raised a Lady and as such, her parents had certain expectations for her (especially her mother), Cath didn’t do a great job of rebelling against them at first. There’s a specific scene where Hatta tells Cath he has no time for “spineless creatures” and that he doesn’t trust her because she was leading Jest on while also allowing herself to be courted by the King. During the scene Cath is dumbfounded because she can’t believe he said that to her and all the while I was thinking HELLO. The Hatta is completely right! The entire first half of the book Cath was so worried about what her mom would say/think/do it drove me crazy. I do understand that was part of Cath’s personality and that she was timid about standing up to her parents, but at some point I wanted to see her show some backbone and stop dragging Jest along because I agreed 100% with Hatta. Cath was so worried about the King courting her and spends all this time complaining about it, but she did little to help herself by leading him on (as well as Jest) instead of just telling him she wasn’t interested. She should never have allowed things with the King to get as far as they did unless she was interested in him. And even if she did, then she needed to stop complaining and deal with the consequences of her actions. Because she only had herself to blame.
o The ending: Honestly, I am not a fan whatsoever of the ending and it is what brought my original rating of this book from a 3.5 to a 3. The ending would have been fine HAD it been part of a series. After finding out that this was a standalone from Meyer herself, whom I tweeted immediately after finishing Heartless, the ending was completely ruined for me.
All in all, I liked the worldbuilding and the retelling aspect of Heartless, but there were more cons than pros for me reading this. If you can deal with a less than perfect ending though (I confess, I’m on the happy ending bandwagon all the way) I think you’ll fare better with this book than me. Anyone already read an ARC of Heartless? If so, what did you think of the ending?