Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Published November 8, 2016 by Macmillan Australia
RRP AUD $18.99
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.
GOOD LORD THAT WAS BRILLIANT. In fact, so brilliant, I needed someone to talk to after I finished it and ended up bombarding my friend with messages about it for more than an hour (thanks!!).
I had super high expectations before starting the book, since I read the Lunar Chronicles also by Marissa Meyer and it was phenomenal, definitely one of my favourites. Heartless did not disappoint. It broke my heart in the best way possible. Before I begin, I must admit that I haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, but I am very, ahem, familiar (meaning I used to watch the movie at least once a week when I was young) with the Classic Disney Alice in Wonderland as well as the 2010 Tim Burton film of the same name, and I enjoyed Marissa’s subtle references to the familiar story.
I knew it was a prequel and Heartless definitely did the beloved tale justice. Partway into the book, I became worried for the characters, since everyone knows how horrible the Queen of Hearts is and I was so curious to find out Marissa’s take on why she is how she is. I told myself I was mentally prepared for a dark and heartbreaking ending, but how wrong I was.
I absolutely loved the world Marissa created, it felt so magical! Real items sprouting from dreams, cuckoo clocks that actually fall asleep and magical court jesters? Sign me up! Another thing I loved about the story was how the setting had quite a Victorian feel to it, and the magical aspects were blended in so flawlessly, nothing felt odd or out of place.
The book was paced well enough, although the beginning moved much slower than the last 100 or so pages, although I was fine with that, since I took the time to get to know the characters and the lands. During the last part, I literally could not put the book down, much to the annoyance of those around me (sorry!), I was so emotionally invested in the book, and it felt as if I was there, watching the events unfold in front of me. The ending though, my heart still hurts, but I suppose that’s the whole point of how the Queen of Hearts became who she is known as now.
Marissa always creates the best characters. The character development was exceptional, I was able to empathise with the characters and truly felt the emotions and hardship when they did. Lady Catherine started off as a sweet, honourable daughter of a Marquess who compromised her own happiness for that of her family and others. Even though she’s a favourite of the king, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious court joker, Jest. Oh Jest. Such a jewel of a character. Throughout the book, I could feel her becoming braver, stronger and more independent, and after the major plot event, I felt the raw emotions she did and it broke my heart. The classic characters of the Mad Hatter (Hatta), the March Hare (Haigha) and the Cheshire Cat fit in flawlessly and really helped build the magical feel of the book.
MAKE SURE YOU DON’T READ THIS BOOK WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY!! Because Cath loves to bake, the descriptions of the food are drool-inducingly good. The delicacies Cath made definitely made me get up and get snacks while I was reading, haha.
All in all, another brilliant read from Marissa Meyer and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those who aren’t afraid of a deliciously dark tale. Hopefully we’ll get another book set in the same universe!
TL;DR: SO GOOD, EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT, BROUGHT ME OUT OF A READING SLUMP
TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST EVERY TIME I THINK ABOUT THIS BOOK I WANT TO SCREAM. IN A GOOD WAY OF COURSE.
THIS MAY BE MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2016
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Meyer is the New York Times‐bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and three demanding cats. 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.