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.
Author: Marissa Meyer
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
No. of Pages: 464 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings, Magic, High Fantasy, Fairy Tales
I think it’s needless to say that Marissa Meyer, for quite some time now, has been one of my most favorite authors. She writes amazing stories, and I’ll definitely read whatever she writes. And I was so fortunate to get the chance to read Heartless a bit earlier all thanks to my good friend Louisse Ang from The Soul Sisters, for being so generous and lending me her copy. The Gods know how much I love you, Lou! Anyway, here’s my review!
From page one, the writing style was absolutely remarkable. Marissa Meyer’s take on writing with tones of Victorian England’s societal norms was satisfying in every way, and the fact that this is a retelling, or rather a prequel to the Alice in Wonderland story, just makes this fact all the more delightful. The dialogues were written wonderfully, and the way the story was told is flawless, in my opinion. The writing, alone, made this a beautiful take on a classic story.
The characters were written quite impressively, making them similar, and yet entirely distinct from the original cast of Alice in Wonderland. From the actual main character, The Queen of Hearts, to the Mad Hatter, Marissa Meyer, obviously, had it all figured out since the beginning. She gave classic characters her own twist, and I am so pleased to have witnessed such an amazing attempt to recreate, and quite possibly, improve the cast. Their individual development is also really commendable, and was something I actually expected from this book, seeing that it’s a work from the one and only queen of retellings.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but Catherine Pinkerton, to me, was a very interesting character from start to finish. She had this passive and easily manipulated personality during the first half of the book, and she turned into a passionate, driven, and hands-down vindictive woman afterwards. Some readers / bloggers I know didn’t like this at all, but I am, no doubt, a fan of it. This character development showed me how far and tiring the journey was for her to become the infamous Queen of Hearts, and I just can’t help but feel her pain, and remind me of my own, making me reminisce on a personal and very difficult time.
Now that we’re on the subject of characters, I wanted to point out how much I loathed some of them. The King and his utter disregard for the state of his kingdom was horrible. The Marquess and Marchioness (a.k.a. our main character’s parents) and their way of ignoring their daughter’s happiness was unbelievable. These characters weren’t declared to be the villains, but they might as well be for their actions, or lack thereof, all contributed to make Catherine be as vengeful as she truly is in the original story. I can’t help but feel Cath’s anger, and develop an attachment to her because of these side characters. Meyer’s talent in making her readers grow attachments and feelings for her characters is definitely unscathed.
On a more negative note though, I was a little disappointed to find that the Kingdom of Hearts, to me, was a little underdeveloped. I know Marissa Meyer’s full potential in creating and developing worlds and atmospheres, and discovering that this book didn’t have as much of it as I wanted, or probably needed, disheartened me quite a bit. It would have been an even better prequel if she worked on it a bit more. That was the Meyer touch for me, and I just know that it could’ve been a lot better if the settings just hit the right notes. There were loads of areas to develop: The Looking Glass, the Maze, even Hearts itself.
“Heartless is an amazing attempt in trying to give The Queen of Hearts a lot more depth into her character. With a writing style that is flawless as it is poignant, and a cast of interesting but familiar characters, Marissa Meyer’s newest book is certainly one worth reading, especially for those who is simply a fan of the original Alice in Wonderland story. It definitely won’t disappoint. “
Characters – 4.50
Plot – 4.00
Writing Style – 5.00
Pacing – 4.00
Ending – 5.00
TOTAL – 4 Stars
“A laugh like that is richer than gold to a man of my position. I’ll make it my life’s work to hear that sound again. Every day, if it pleases you. No—twice a day, and at least once before breakfast. A royal joker must set the highest of expectations.”
“Some say it is better to have eaten and lost than never to have eaten at all.”
“I don’t mean to argue, Mama, but a crown doesn’t really do much of anything. Just sits on one head, quite useless. Oh, I suppose it sparkles.”
“I don’t want to be the Queen! I want… I don’t know. If I ever get married, I want there to be romance, and passion. I want to fall in love.”
“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something just because it frightens you.”
“Fascinating, isn’t it, how often heroic and foolish turn out to be one and the same.
“I must warn you, my dearest Catherine, that such an endeavor to capture attention could lead to lifelong arrogance and vanity. It is much wiser to let your inner beauty shine through a drab gown than to attempt to conceal it with physical accoutrements.” – Margaret Mearle
“Unwarranted optimism is unwise for one who wishes to eschew disappointment.” – Margaret Mearle
“You dance your lobster quadrille, and I’ll juggle some clams, and we’ll both pretend to be hidden away in a secret sea cave, where we don’t have to think about courtships or royal missions or anything but ourselves.” – Jest
“Sometimes, your heart is the only thing worth listening to.” – Catherine Pinkerton
“The easiest way to steal something is for it to be given willingly.”
About the Author:
Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.