Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Heartless




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

Pages: 464

 

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.

Favorite Bits:
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?

 

18 comments:

  1. Bummer! I'm sorry you didn't like it more. I LOVED Heartless. For me the ending was on of the most brilliant bits because, really, we know that's where the story is headed - this is the origin story of the Queen. And because Meyer did such a good job with the story, we dare to hope it's headed elsewhere. And I liked that Cath was so stuck - I thought it showed the kind of person she was. She didn't want to hurt/disappoint anyone, even if it meant her own unhappiness, she was so good hearted. So she was struggling with a way to have both. Obviously it ends tragically, but I don't think that would have been so poignant if she had been less concerned about trying to keep everyone happy. But that's how it worked for me :)

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    1. I heard the same thing from many people! I am a big believer of happy endings though and I live in an unrealistic reality where everything should end as I picture it (I know, crazy but true). So anytime a book has a slightly unpredictable ending (ahem Heartless) it rubs me the wrong way.
      I am glad you loved it though! one of my good blogging friends loved it as well and kept arguing with me about how the ending was actually fitting and perfect for the Red Queen. I still wasn't budging though on how mad I was! LOL.
      Maybe I'll try reading it again Berls sometime down the road and find I like it better because I already know the ending. and then I might be able to appreciate the storyline more, because you're right, it does do a great job of setting up the origin story of the Queen.
      Thanks for reading my review!

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  2. I was under the impression that Heartless was apart of the Lunar Chronicles... is that not true? I still haven't read Cinder so I try to avoid all posts about any of Meyer's books.

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    1. Hi Lauren! And no it's definitely not. Although I heard someone say that as well a while back. It's essentially a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, specifically the Red Queen's story. I guess Meyer said she might do more standalone retellings like Heartless going forward. Whether that's true or not, I'm not sure. But i know that she isn't continuing this one as a series which is a huge let down for me.
      I can't wait till you read Cinder! Even if you didn't continue on with the series I think you'll enjoy the way she retells Cinderella's story with Cinder in book 1. it's my favorite in the series!:)

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  3. I'm sorry this one wasn't all you were hoping it'd be, Emily. It's disappointing when you go into a book like this, with the re-telling and a favorite author, with high expectations and are let down. It does sound interesting the way Meyer incorporated Alice in Wonderland though. It seems maybe that balanced the bad? Hopefully Meyer will redeem herself to you with her next release. *fingers crossed* :)

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    1. Thanks Brandee! and yes, that's what I'm hoping. I didn't necessarily hate this book, i just didn't love it like i hoped. Funny thing: Meyer is actually coming to a bookstore near me this month and it's for Heartless. I want to go meet her and get all of my books from the Lunar Chronicles signed! but that means having to buy a copy of Heartless in order to go! LOL. i might just do it and use it for a giveaway in order to meet her.

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  4. I didn't know this was a standalone, I just assumed this was part of a series. Oops. I love the cover, but sorry to hear this one was just okay. And bummer about the ending. :( The Wonderland bits and how she incorporated them sound like the highlight of this one. Nice review.

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    1. I did too initially, so I was bummed to hear it was a standalone. And the cover is what drew me in MONTHS ago when I first heard about it and the fact that I already loved Meyers writing. Oh well, can't win them all i suppose!
      Thanks Greg for taking the time to read my review!

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  5. Oh man I am sorry this wasn't better for you. I assumed it was part of a series as well so it is good to know it is standalone now. I can't wait to read this and see what I think about the ending now! Great review!

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    1. Thanks Grace! I hope it works out better for you than it did for me!

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  6. I loved this one! I knew it was a standalone, and I had a feeling about the ending. The thing is, it's a prequel to Alice in Wonderland... anyone who is remotely familiar with the story (I've not read it but know of the general idea of it) knows of the Queen of Hearts... there was no room for a Certain Thing in Alice in Wonderland. So Heartless needed to end the way it did. And while my heart broke, I loved it. Meyer wrote it well! Exactly how we expect the Queen of Hearts to be transformed into, well, the Queen of Hearts. Not a happy ending, but a very well-written one.

    Anyway! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one. But I'm glad you read it!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Yeah I guess the more I think about it since reading it, the more it makes sense. But i'm such a hopeless romantic sometimes that i can't help it!
      Thanks for reading my review Alyssa!

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  7. I enjoyed this one. I didn't love it like I did The Lunar Chronicles, though. I'm not really into Alice in Wonderland, so I was hesitant going in. I think if I was more of a fan and new more of the story/characters I would have enjoyed this more. But I thought the characters were wonderful and I liked the ending. You knew it was going to turn out bad, and I loved that about it.

    I do think there was a whole lot of not much going on through a lot of the book. It needed more action for my liking. I'm glad it's a standalone, I'm ready for her next series to come along already.

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    1. I thought the same thing but I wasn't sure if it was just me or not! I felt like some scenes really dragged on and it felt like very little plot and just a lot of standing around and talking! it was so bizarre! it didn't necessarily bore me, but when i finished the book I was like "what the heck even happened in the book?"
      Thanks for reading my review Sam!

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  8. Oh dear, sorry this one wasn't a hit for you. It's always a little disappointing when a favorite author rites one that just doesn't seem to match up to the ones we loved. Just reading your review it sounds like Cath wasn't very likable. Her being so totally concerned about what her mother would say... that would get old fast and I would have wanted to see more growth in her long before the second half of the book.

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    1. It's funny, because everyone is so appalled I didn't like it because the ending is fitting for the Red Queen's story. And the more I think about it, it really is but I'm such a big believer in happy endings that I had a hard time with this one! After hearing what everyone else had to say about it though, I might give it another shot soon and see if my thoughts change now that I have some new perspectives. Especially because I'll have a copy of it! I want to meet Marisa Meyers SO badly and she's coming to IL in early Novemeber for an event for Heartless. I can get all my books signed (the lunar chronicles) by her, but it'll mean buying my ticket "copy" of the book in order to get in. Maybe i'll just do a giveaway?

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  9. I have this an will be curious to see where I fall on the scale. Like you I adored the Lunar Chronicles. I do love that this is standalone. I am just not wanting to commit to trilogies at the moment :)

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    1. I hope you like it Kimba! And I have the same problem these days, I don't have the time to commit to anything more than a duology.

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