Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: November 8th 2016
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.
“My heart is yours.”
Heartless is a delightfully dark and sweet Alice in Wonderland retelling that drags you down the rabbit hole and into a wonderful and twisted adventure. It is a tale from the POV of the Queen of Hearts before she wanted off with people’s heads, and it is just as magical and whimsical as one would think.
Marissa Meyer is the Queen of Retellings, as we’ve already seen with her Lunar Chronicles series. She has a way with words that grip you and don’t let go, her writing beautiful and engaging, and this time it is no different. There are a lot of nods to the original Alice in Wonderland in this novel, but Meyer still creates a world entirely unique and fantastical, and gives new life to old characters we’ve come to know and love.
Catherine, our main character, starts the novel with one wish: opening a bakery and making the best pastries in Hearts. But as the story progresses and challenges arise, she finds herself getting further and further away from her goal. Her character development doesn’t necessarily go in the direction we want it to, but it is fascinating reading about her and the choices she makes that lead her to become who she was always meant to be.
As the blurb promises, Heartless has a some romance sprinkled through it. Jest, the court joker, pulls at Cath’s heart strings in a way no one else does. The romance between them is sweet and forbidden, and the way it unfolds makes my heart hurt.
The narrative flows very well throughout most of the book, although around the halfway mark things drag a little. It takes some time and a lot of complaining before the story and the characters get moving again, and the action picks up. One of the twists the book relies on also turns out to be very predictable, which takes the fun out of it a little.
In the end, Heartless is everything it should be: fun, magical, twisted and, at times, absolute nonsense! Fans of Alice in Wonderland and fairytale retellings should definitely pick this up, as well as Marissa Meyer fans. This is an adventure you don’t want to miss.