Review: Heartless

February 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 9th February 2017 (UK)
Genres: YA Fantasy, Retellings
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, 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 unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath 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.

I was rather late to The Lunar Chronicles series, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait for its final book, Winter. When I finished the series I was gutted, I craved more of Marissa Meyer’s writing. So when it was announced that Meyer was writing a new book, Heartless, well, I’ve been counting down the months to publication!

Heartless is the reimagined story of The Queen of Hearts of Alice In Wonderland fame. We all know the terror of The Queen of Hearts – but how did she become that person? Heartless tells the story of a cake loving, warm hearted, love-seeking young lady, Cath, who will one day become the terrifying  Queen of Hearts.

I must admit that I’m not the biggest Wonderland fan. I mean I know the stories but it has been a long time since I last entered that world. Nevertheless, from the outset, I could appreciate Meyer’s retelling of this story – the small details that ‘nod’ to the original and make you smile!

I actually think this story was handled beautifully: from the stunning descriptions, to the plot itself. I found Cath to be a very likeable character – which obviously surprised me as the Queen of Hearts is terrifying! She’s the daughter of a Marque & Marquess, whose mother is driven by her desire for Cath to marry the King. Cath, however, wants no such thing. She is a fantastic baker, the best in Hearts, and she and her friend Mary Ann (also her maid) want nothing more than to open their own bakery.

But the King has taken a shine to Cath and her sweet treats, and seems determined to win her hand. There’s no way she could be Queen and a baker. There’s also no chance her parents will let their only daughter disgrace them. And then there’s the Court Joker, Jest. He adds a whole other level to Cath’s complicated life.

Meyer incorporates the characters you’d expect in this tale, obviously with her own twist. It’s clever, it’s creative and, as ever from Meyer, it is beautifully written.

I loved her building of the Kingdom of Hearts, the talking animals and strange sights that we associate with Wonderland.

I did have a few issues with this book, but on the whole, I very much enjoyed it. Naturally, I kept comparing this in my mind to The Lunar Chronicles but that isn’t fair. This is a totally different story and one that Meyer tells beautifully.

Fair warning though – this book will make you crave cake!