Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“A heart, once stolen, can never be taken back.”
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. 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 a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. – Excerpt from Goodreads.
My heart has been ripped out of my chest and stomped on. You are a cruel woman, Marissa Meyer!
When I first heard about this book I had no idea how to feel. I’m one of those crazy, hardcore fans of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Yep, I have a few dozen different editions of these books and even collect merchandise – even my clock is Wonderland. You probably are getting the picture. I heard that Marisa Meyer’s went into writing this book for the Wonderland fans, she wanted to impress them. She knew they’d be her toughest critics and she is right. I’m probably most Wonderland retelling’s worst nightmare because I’m very bias and will pick everything apart. Despite the fact that I’d be hard on any type of Wonderland book, I still found myself giving this one five stars.
The idea of a Red Queen origin story appealed to me though and I personally love the character. I know a lot of people hate her because she’s hot headed and unreasonable but that’s what makes a great villain. I really enjoyed Catherine, as the future Queen of Hearts. I thought she was sweet, endearing and intelligent. The only issues I really had with her is that she didn’t stand up for herself very often and she doesn’t really kick any ass until much later in the story. This story is basically a baker’s or foodie’s dream. Catherine happens to bake the best desserts in all of Wonderland and it is her ultimate dream to one day own her own shop with her best friend and maid, Mary Anne. Marissa Meyer’s goes into great detail, maybe too great at times, about all the delicious sounding desserts. Each and every one of them sound mouth-watering, so I suggest you have some snacks near by or you might drive yourself mad.
Our romantic interest, Jest was to die for, very swoon-worthy. I was certainly shipping Catherine and Jest by the end of this book. He isn’t your typical, bland leading male that we see in some YA novels. Jest was had mad charisma, was funny and his tender moments could make you fall in love with the him with along with Catherine. I don’t want to give away too much of this character because it’s much more fun to watch his storyline unfold.
The appearances of the Cheshire Cat were also a welcome sight for me. He was very reminiscent of the one from the original story but his humor is more dead-pan and sarcastic. I didn’t really get The King of Hearts and why he wanted to marry Catherine. I guess because he loved eating her tarts? That is nowhere near as dirty as it came out! His character was whiny, frustrating and cowardly. I guess that stays pretty true to the character though as well. The side character that most won my heart was Hatta. What a bitchy little man! I loved it. He was always out to give Catherine a hard time and had a very sharp sense of humor. I won’t go into any of his motivations for his actions but it all adds up by the end and I found him one of the most interesting to learn about. I would buy a novella on this character in a heart beat.
I loved that Marissa Meyer took the time to build the world and characters. Heartless didn’t exactly break any new ground when describing the world but it was still nice to read about. The greatest part of this book for me was they storyline with the Jabberwocky. I didn’t know where it was going at first and if the author was just throwing a threat but not going to do anything special with it -luckily she did. It’s a fun mystery to unravel and was definitely the highlight for me. By the end of this book, you will need a large box of tissue. Your heart will break right along with Catherine’s.
This book isn’t going to be for everyone. The writing is slow and doesn’t pick up until probably three quarters in, so if you need something fact-paced this book isn’t going to work for you at all.Heartlessalso has a high element of whimsy that may be off-putting for some. I think the novel is a love it or hate it kind of thing.
Marisa Meyers is really stepping up to be one of my favorite YA authors. I find her stuff really creative and different from a lot of what we see today. I highly recommend this story if you don’t mind a very slow-burning novel, with fun characters, a great romance and a little mystery to solve.