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.
A couple of years ago, I fell in love with a series called The Lunar Chronicles. When the last book came out at the beginning of last year, fans were already anxiously awaiting a new book by the author. And that new book was Heartless, a story set in the same whimsical world as Alice in Wonderland. The untold story of the horrible Queen of Hearts.
In Heartless we meet Catherine, who wants nothing more than to open a bakery with her best friend. But her parents have other plans for her. They want her to marry the King and become the Queen of Hearts. One night, Catherine meets Jest, the court joker, and falls head over heels in love with him.
I’m going to be honest and say I never really liked Alice in Wonderland. I enjoyed the movies, but I could hardly get through the original story and DNF-ed Through the Looking Glass. When I read the Splintered trilogy, I enjoyed it enough but I couldn’t exactly say I loved it. Still, this book was written by Marissa Meyer, one of my favourite authors of all time, maybe that would help?
Unfortunately, I didn’t love this story either. Sure, it wasn’t a retelling of the AiW story, but it still took place in the same strange world. That wasn’t the main reason I didn’t love this book, though. I thought the first two-thirds of the story were incredibly slow. I hadn’t really expected a lot of action, though the scenes with the Jabberwock were exciting enough, but I had expected more romance.
Yes, I had hoped for more romance in this story, who would have thought? No, but honestly, the summary promised a ‘secret courtship’ between Cath and Jest but literally nothing happened. View Spoiler »They kissed maybe two, three times and not until the last part of the book. Before they were just flirting and most of it was Cath pining for him but reminding herself she was promised to the King. Blegh. « Hide Spoiler The book didn’t get exciting until the last part, where Cath slowly changed from the happy baker into the Queen of Hearts we all know from the original story.
Of course, we all know how the story was going to end, Cath would eventually become the horrible Queen we know from the original story, but I enjoyed seeing how she changed. View Spoiler »I did find it rather predictable, though, I knew pretty early on Jest was going to die and that was what would change Cath into a heartless person. Hadn’t expected it to be quite so literal, but then again it’s Wonderland. « Hide Spoiler
There were probably a dozen references to the original stories in this book, but I caught only a handful of them, and that was partly because of the movies I watched. Still, I enjoyed Marissa’s writing very much, and I did honestly enjoy the story, but yeah I think Wonderland is just not my kind of thing.
In the end, I enjoyed Heartless but I can’t say I loved it as much as I did with basically everything else Marissa has written. I will still pick up any other book she writes, but I’ve just decided I will not be picking up any Alice in Wonderland retellings anymore.