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Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Length: 453 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: OwlCrate (Purchased)

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 Thoughts: 
Heartless is the story of Catherine, daughter of a Marques and Marchioness, who loves to bake and has caught the eye (or stomach) of the King of Hearts. But her heart soon finds itself in the hands of the new court joker, Jest, with his bell adorned hat, quick wit, and his knack for the impossible. Knowing that the king will propose to her, Catherine struggles between her duty, her dreams, and a newly kindled fire in her heart. We all know who the Red Queen is, but in Heartless we get to know who she was. 

This was tragic and heartbreaking but such a good read. 

A few years ago I wasn't overly thrilled by the idea of retellings but then I gave Cinder a try and really enjoyed it so of course I would need to read an Alice in Wonderland retelling by the same author. Heartless has been one of my most anticipated books of the second half of 2016 so I was super thrilled to get it in the November Wonderland themed OwlCrate with the exclusive cover. (It is gorgeous, by the way!)

Heartless isn't so much a retelling of Alice in Wonderland as it is a spin off  or origin story about the Queen of Hearts but it takes place in Wonderland and has all those wonderfully quirky and kooky things that we all fell in love with. The Mad Hatter, Cheshire, and more. Meyer also included a couple of other well known favorites such as the raven from Edgar Allan Poe's 'Nevermore' and Peter Peter, Pumpkin Eater from Mother Goose nursery rhymes. These, of course, feel very out of place at first but they grow with the story and become a major part of it in Heartless. 

One of the reasons why I cannot give this a full 5 stars is because of the very slow build. For most of the story I felt like there was not much happening besides Catherine's inner turmoil. And then the ending felt so very rushed. I think if it had been drawn out a bit more and actually described instead of rushed through, it would have broken my heart a bit more, yes, but I would have felt more of what the main character was going through. 

There are many things to love about Heartless, from the characters, to the nostalgic setting, to the quick and tragic romance. I quickly fell in love with Cath and Jest and hoped for the best outcome for them but we already know (or have a pretty good idea) how this story ends. 

If you've ever wondered how the Queen of Hearts ended up so shrewd and heartless, this is the perfect retelling to read. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

This post first appeared on Lazy Day Literature, please read the originial post: here

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Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer


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