Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Synopsis: 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.
About the Author: Marissa Meyer is a fangirl at heart, with a closet full of costumes, a Harry Potter wand on her desk, and a Tuxedo Mask doll hanging from her rear view mirror. Han and Leia are still her OTP. She may or may not be a cyborg.
Genre: fantasy, retelling, YA, romance
More Info: hardcover, 464 pages, published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8, 2016
Cath is not Alice; although, she does live in Wonderland. Catherine is actually in the making of becoming the Queen of Hearts – the “terror of Wonderland.”
Cath’s parents are pushing her to marry the King of Hearts, a sweet, goofy, sweaty, pudgy, and naive man. She wants to marry for love (which is not the sentiment she feels for the king) but she also doesn’t want to disappoint her family.
Then Cath meets Jest, the new royal Joker. He’s pleasing to the eye and stuck in her brain, literally appearing in her dreams. Jest is charming and, as a Joker, tricky. However, the tricks he performs are not only for Court amusement. The problem: he may just lose his heart to a certain Queen in waiting. And she may lose her heart to the mysterious Joker.
Finally, Fate intervenes and brings us the infamous Queen of Hearts.
There was so much more to this book than I originally expected. There was a lot stuffed into this small package. And what a beautiful package it is. (Have you seen the exclusive WHITE COVERS! *swoon*)
I’m still stuck on the romance between Cath and Jest. It’s crucial to the plotline, so it’s clearly important. Also, I feel they have real chemistry; maybe because I found myself falling for Jest’s charisma. Now, this is a standalone novel, so there is limited space to represent every important detail. Although I obviously recognize this literary restraint, I still wish their romance was more developed. Specifically, I felt like I knew everything about Cath. However, when it came to Jest, I didn’t always feel connected and intimate with him. My perceptions of Jest, impacted my view of their relationship; this made their love seem less passionate.
Meyer included all of the main characters, in her own creative fashion. Most of the famous lines and prominent personalities were introduced in her book. I wish I saw (read?) more of Cheshire cat. His sarcasm was on point. Then, when I met Mr. Caterpillar for the first time, all I could imagine was 2010 Tim Burton adaptation with Johnny Depp. I actually heard Alan Rickman’s voice (R.I.P.).
On that note, with previous movie adaptions and the popularity of the original novel, my imaginings were already being influenced. There was sufficient detail in Heartless, but not too overwhelming. With the normal accumulation of description, I could still picture most of the book easily. Again, influenced by movies. It was like a living, personal scene happening right in my own head. The only downfall (although it doubled as a advantage) was my previous, visual bias.
Meyer was liberal with her interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. But, she only made it that much more magically. I dug in with an open mind, so her alterations didn’t bug me too much.
The ending was…. I don’t want to spoil the happenings for those who have not yet read this book so, I’ll do my best to be discreet. Cath’s 1st decision made me cringe. I mean, she knew (and I knew) the outcome, yet she did it anyway. Therefore, the climax wasn’t that surprising but predictable. I understood Cath’s following choices but I didn’t sympathise with them. I felt disconnected with the main character. Whether purposeful or not, that detachment paralleled Cath and made sense. Despite this coincidence, I still felt there should have been more feeling during these scenes. Also, everything seemed pushed into the last section of the book; it seemed slightly rushed. Either way, I still loved the ending…especially the final sentence.
This book is very unconventional, from the setting to the characters to the finale. I think that is why I love this book so much, it’s uniqueness.
My view of the Queen of Hearts has forever changed.
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