By: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8th 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print arc
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 am a long time fan of Marissa Meyer and when news of Heartless broke I was instantly in love with the concept and knew I’d have to read it as soon as I could. I love Meyer’s way of reworking fairy tales and I knew that the character of the Queen of Hearts would be in amazingly capable hands.
I went into reading this book expecting it to not end on a happy note because…well I think we all know how the Queen of Hearts becomes. I must admit that I’ve never seen her character as anything more than a villain and never really stopped to thing about what might have made her this way. I love that Heartless introduces us to Cath- the woman before she becomes the Queen of Hearts.
What I didn’t expect was to become so connected to Cath and feel for her so deeply. I loved how layered she was and her love of baking was a perfect touch. Though she seems to have all the great things in life- a title, family and riches- she really only wants to open up a bakery. Because of Cath’s love for sweets the food descriptions in this book were amazing. Her dynamic with the secondary characters was beautifully done and I especially loved her best friend.
The society Cath was raised in was narrow-minded and the constraints put on her were frustrating. I felt that her inability to follow her dreams completely made her motivations and actions believable. The fact that her family forbids to support her and was adamant she go against her own desires to fulfill their idea of what she should do was pretty heartbreaking to read.
Obviously this book takes place in Wonderland and had aspects that link it to Alice in Wonderland. What I love about Meyer’s retellings is that she isn’t overly obvious with how her stories connect with the original tale. I adore the little tidbits that were thrown in and felt it was brilliantly done. Cath’s world might have rigid views on a woman’s place but the world itself was whimsical and I loved seeing characters from the original fairy tale make an appearance.
I don’t think there could be a Meyer book that didn’t include a fantastic romance. I completely felt the chemistry between Jest and Cath and knowing that things could not in any way work out in the end built the tension up. Jest’s character was so wonderfully depicted. Jest’s character was so wonderfully unique.
Heartless was the perfect origin story for the Queen of Hearts and Meyer has forever changed how I’ll view her character from here on out. Though this book had a slower pacing I felt it was a perfect build-up to an incredibly tense story which will leave you honestly wanting more. I really hope that Meyer will venture back into Wonderland.
There are 45 Days Until Heartless
Be sure to catch Marissa Meyer on tour…