Blog Tour-Review of Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartless

Heartless
By: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8th 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print arc
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:
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.

Final Thoughts:
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…

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Review of Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
By: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you!!

Rating:
star

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles so there will be possible spoilers for the first two books. If you’ve not read this series check out my review of Cinder.

Summary (via Goodreads):Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair – or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Thoughts:
This review will be shorter and less eloquent due to my intense love of this series and inability to form coherent and concise thoughts in regards to it. To me, each book Meyer publishes continue to improve upon the last. I felt that Cress continued in this tradition with the addition of wonderful, unique characters and continuation of the development of the past.

Meyer excels at writing group dynamics and is able to give each individual an unique voice that plays off the other characters. I find this to be the aspect of her writing and books I am impressed with the most. For one person to be capable of creating such brilliant banter is truly remarkable.

As you probably know Cress is a retelling of the classic Rapunzel. I absolutely adored that our Rapunzel, named Cress, was not stuck in a tower without doors but an orbiting satellite. I felt that Meyer was able to give her a true sense of naiveté without making her dumb (for lack of a better word). She is a damsel in distress but she is so very much more and is capable of admirable fetes, such as her computer skills. I adored her fangirling over Thorne and her awkward interactions with the rest of the crew. Because of her self doubt, awkwardness and sweet nature she quickly cemented herself as my favorite of the series.

The story’s pacing continues to be fast and Meyer’s writing is detailed and absorbing. Her action scenes are beautifully orchestrated as well as her ability to create realistic characters that are impossible not to relate to as well as empathize with.

Final Thoughts:
I love Marissa Meyer’s story telling and ability to weave elements of classic fairy tales with science fiction. Each book in the series builds beautifully and seamlessly on its predecessor. I know that Winter, the last in the series, will be the strongest yet and I am as heartbroken as I am excited that only one book remains.

Extras:
Review of Cinder
Review of Scarlet
Interview with Marissa Meyer

Interview with Marissa Meyer and Cress Teaser

Marissa Meyer the author of Cinder and Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles, one of my very favorite series, is here on the blog today.  In the Lunar Chronicles Marissa melds a classic fairy tale with a futuristic world. The second book in the series, Scarlet released last month (February 5th).

Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer

Hi Marissa, thank you for answering my questions.
Thank you for having me!

What encouraged your interest in fairy tales and old myths?
It probably started when I was taken to see “The Little Mermaid” in theaters when I was five years old. I absolutely loved it! Not too long after that, I was given a little book of fairy tales. The first story in that book was “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen, which I read eagerly, only to discover it was nothing at all like the movie! It’s an incredibly sad and tragic tale, and my little five-year-old heart was devastated. But it also started this fascination with all things fairy tales and this idea that Disney was hiding something from us. I wanted to learn more and more about the lesser-known tales, and that curiosity continues to this day.

What inspired you to place the settings of Cinder and Scarlet in New Beijing and France? 
I chose China for Cinder because many scholars believe the original Cinderella story comes to us from 9th-century China and that first story, called “Ye Xian,” eventually made its way to Europe through some of the trade routes. Also, there’s a theory that the idea of the slipper fitting the smallest foot was a direct result of the Chinese tradition of foot binding. So I chose that setting for my futuristic retelling as a means of paying homage to that original tale.

When trying to choose a setting for Scarlet, I wanted a place that had a history of werewolves and werewolf stories—although the people in my futuristic world aren’t superstitious about such monsters, I liked the idea of a very old fear being replaced by a new, very real fear. So when I saw a documentary about a series of killings that happened in 18th-century France, and at the time were believed to be the act of a real werewolf, I felt that worked perfectly for a way to tie the mythology together with my own werewolf-like characters.

The Lunar Chronicles will be four books total, Cress and Winter being the last two. Can you give us details of each?
The books are being released a year apart, so Cress will be out early 2014 and Winter in early 2015. Cress is based on Rapunzel, but instead of being stuck in a tower, Cress is a computer hacker stuck in a satellite orbiting Earth, being forced to spy on the Earthen leaders for Queen Levana. Winter is based on Snow White, and Princess Winter is Queen Levana’s stepdaughter. But Winter, not wanting to be like the cruel queen, has made the decision to never use her glamour—which means her sanity is slowly dissolving.

At the Scarlet signing event I attended when asked how the title Cress corresponds to Rapunzel you said that Rapunzel and Cress are both types of lettuce but you didn’t have time to elaborate…can you now?
Cress I took from “watercress,” and yes, rapunzel and watercress are both types of lettuce. The story of Rapunzel begins when a poor man’s pregnant wife is having mad pregnancy cravings for rapunzel, but it only grows in the witch’s garden. The husband sneaks into the garden to steal some but the witch catches him and they strike a deal—he can have the rapunzel for his wife, but he must give her the child when she’s born. So when he has a little baby girl, he gives her to the witch and the witch names her Rapunzel after the lettuce she was traded for.

For my giveaway for Scarlet on the blog, I asked people to share which fairy tale they would love to see take place in the future. People submitted great suggestions; the two most common were Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan. I can totally see the Beast being one of Queen Levana’s army. I was curious have you ever added other fairy tale characters in as side characters? 
I love the story of Beauty and the Beast and actually feel that Scarlet shares a lot of similarities with that tale (in addition to Little Red Riding Hood, naturally). It’s a great archetype! I’ve also heard from readers who feel that Cinder makes use of some elements of Pinocchio, too. In my original plans for the series, I’d wanted to use “Puss in Boots,” and had planned for it to be the fifth and final book of the Chronicles. But as I began figuring out how to tie all the tales together, that story no longer fit with where I was taking the series, so I eventually had to cut it. I think there might still be a mention of a “robotic talking cat” somewhere in the books though…

Do you have any plans for novellas, possibly one from Queen Levana’s POV?
Actually—yes! I would love to one day tell Levana’s story, how she became queen and why she’s so vain and wicked. There are no official plans for writing it, but I hope it’ll happen someday.

When writing a villain like Levana do you find aspects of her you like even though she’s evil? 
Absolutely. Because I know Levana’s history, I actually have a great deal of sympathy for her. All of her cruelty and ambition really stems from a desire to be loved and accepted by people who never did love or accept her, and eventually she was driven to control people the way she does in order to get that sort of companionship. It’s a tragic story.

If you could pick to be any one of your characters which would you choose? Why?
Probably Cress. I have a strange envy for Rapunzel characters in general. I sometimes daydream about being stuck in a tower (or satellite!) with nothing but my laptop and an enormous stack of books. Oh, all the reading time!

Is there a book you wish you had written or character you created?
I adore the Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter. I’m a sucker for spy stories like James Bond and Jason Bourne and I wish I’d had the idea for write about a school for spies first. But I’m glad she’s written them so I can read and enjoy them!

You’ve said that you are inspired by the show Firefly by Joss Whedon; who is your favorite character in the series? 
Argh, I really couldn’t choose! That’s the great thing about Firefly—all of the characters are phenomenal. They’re each unique and three-dimensional, with their own strengths and weaknesses, motivations and flaws. I love them all, and I really love how they interact with each other throughout the series. I hope people will say the same thing about my crew of misfits as the series goes on.

I’ve got to give a shout out to Firefly—it’s one of the best shows ever created! It has the feel of the old animes Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star to me.  
Cheers to that! I loved both those animes too. <3 

If you’re not eager for the next installment of the Lunar Chronicles (even after reading that the next character is based on Rapunzel)  here’s a teaser for CRESS:

She bit her tongue against a reminder of all she’d done for Her Majesty during her imprisonment. Designing countless spy systems for keeping watch on the Earthen Union and its leaders, jamming satellite signals so that countless soldiers and operatives could slip down to Earth undetected… it made no difference. Sybil cared only about Cress’s failures, and not finding Linh Cinder was Cress’s biggest failure to date.

Read more:
Cinder Review
Scarlet Review
Marissa Meyer signing event

Marissa Meyer Signing

  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer the author of the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet came to Blue Willow Bookshop last night to speak and sign books. Marissa is an excellent speaker and I loved hearing her talk about how she became inspired to write the Lunar Chronicles. She said she was in that in-between stage of wakefulness and sleep; she got this vision of Cinderella running down the stairs at midnight and tripping. As she lay sprawled at the bottom of the stairs instead of a glass slipper laying on the steps she saw a metal foot. She had previously written a fairy tale set in the future for a writing contest so taking Cinderella to the future and making her a cyborg just felt right. This idea blossomed and Cinder was created.

 

It is apparent that Marissa Meyer has done a lot of research into fairy tales and how they originated and changed over the years. If you’ve not looked into the original Grimm Fairy Tales you really should, its as intriguing as it is disturbing. We also got to hear a small amount about the next two books in the Lunar Chronicles: Cress and Winter. Cress will introduce a new character based on the Rapunzel fairytale and Winter will be Snow White. The new characters will join the cast we are already familiar with and love. I can’t wait to see where this series is going because Scarlet was even better than Cinder to me. The more characters Marissa creates and adds the main story arc the more you can really see her skills as a writer and story teller.

Some of the questions asked by the audience included how the cover art was picked and what role Marissa had in it. As with almost all of published writers she didn’t get to have any influence into the cover art but she loves it and can’t wait to see the next two covers. She also explained where the names for her main characters originated, Cinder–obvious from Cinderella, Scarlet- scarlet meaning red, Cress-she said this is an interesting aspect of the older telling of Rapunzel. She didn’t get to explain it fully because of time constraints but she did say that Rapunzel and Cress are both types of lettuce and this is part of the original fairy tale. My interest is piqued, I will be researching this today. Winter- Snow White, winter and snow.

The last little tidbit we were left with was a teaser…a magician may or may not be part of the next character cast for her next series.

 

Check out my reviews for Cinder and Scarlet

Sign up to win a signed copy of Scarlet

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Reviews and Book Signing for February 10-16th

For this next week February 10-16th I’ll be featuring reviews for Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi and Everbound by Brodi Ashton. I have read so many outstanding reviews for Unravel Me I just have to buy it this weekend and put it at the top of my TBR pile. I’ll also be attending Marissa Meyer’s signing at Blue Willow Book Shop this Tuesday evening. I can’t wait to get Cinder and Scarlet signed. I’ll also announce my next book giveaway.

Unravel MeEverbound