Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Retellings
Pages: 464 Format: ARC Source: BEA
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.
I acquired this ARC from the publisher at Book Expo America. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.
Marissa Meyer is back at it again with an all new standalone retelling in Heartless! In Wonderland, Catherine is favored by the King of Hearts but she would rather be baking and starting her own business. Her focus has never been on love but the arrival of a mysterious joker leaves hers questioning everything she’s known. Filled with a whimsical world, gut wrenching story, and intriguing characters, Meyer’s writing never fails to impress.
Meyer’s uncanny ability to twist minutiae and bring her own bright eye to a story fit perfectly for this Queen of Hearts prequel. Her writing has just gotten better and better and her spin on Wonderland was excellent. There’s plenty of vibrancy and detail that drips from every page and I was drooling with every baked goods description. The nods to the source material flowed seamlessly into the narrative and Meyer truly honored Lewis Carroll’s work.
The characters were all quite delightful but I didn’t fall in love with them nearly as much as those in The Lunar Chronicles. Catherine is passionate and driven, wanting to start her own business. She struggles with her parents expectations and a society that expects little from her. Jest was perfect; a mysterious stranger, charming and kind. Man, did I fall hard for him. I also loved the appearances of Cheshire, Hatta, the White Rabbit, and all the rest.
The only real thing I struggled with in this book was knowing the outcome. It’s a prequel/retelling for the Queen of Hearts so the narrative is leading to a known endgame. While the buildup was excellent and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way, I still knew what eventual fate was in store. I was still emotionally invested but not as much as I should have been. There were still tears though.
Overall I really really enjoyed the Wonderland adventure Marissa Meyer took me on in Heartless. Catherine and Jest’s story was full of palpable emotion and Meyer’s writing was as exquisite as ever. The only difficulty was knowing the outcome from the beginning. With that being said, Heartless will still enchant readers young and old from start to finish. Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy and fairy tales.
So are you ready to be swept up in another Marissa Meyer story? Are you a fan of Wonderland and it’s myriad cast of characters? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!