Book: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8th 2016
Genre: fairytale retelling
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Other books by this author I reviewed
The Lunar Chronicles
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.
‘It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.’
One of the most anticipated releases of 2016 as it is written by the author of The Lunar Chronicles. While I feel this is a very solid book, I was somewhat disappointed by it. It was unsurprising. It is the prequel to Alice in Wonderland. A sort of retelling of the back story of the Queen of Hearts. How did the Queen of Hearts become the way she did? If that sounds familiar it is because it is a similar aspect as Fairest, The Lunar Chronicles prequel novella, had. There is a difference of about 200+ pages between the two books, Heartless being the longest. Yet I feel that the backstory to Queen Levana as a villain was better achieved than it was in Heartless with the Queen of Hearts.
The change from our Catherine and Queen of Hearts to be from the good Catherine we meet on the first page to the ‘of with your head’ Queen of Hearts we see at the end of the book isn’t as subtle as I would have liked it to be. The change is a bit of a harsh one in the last quarter. I suppose this might be as the space of time this takes place in isn’t quite as long where it could have been subtle. And a lot of it was pushed into the last bit.
Regardless I do think this is all together a solid book. The descriptions of the world of Heart is great. And I also quite loved the descriptions of all the baked goodies that Catherine makes. I could picture them. Almost taste them.
As for the characters, beyond the not so subtleness of the change, Catherine was overall a good developed character. I liked her to a certain point. Well enough in any case not to be annoyed by her. But I think the real gem of the story was Cheshire. What, did you think I would say Jest? No, Cheshire. The few times he appeared he was the mysterious but always accurately commenting cat that I remember from what I have seen of him in the movies (because I have yet to read the original book, I know).
While Jest and Raven were certainly interesting I felt that they could have done with some more deepening. There was still so much unknown about them I felt and he was clearly going to be the catalyst to Catherine’s change. That was clear from the first page he was on. I guess in that it was predictable. But he couldn’t move away from just that role in my eyes.
Hatta was interesting in this book, but I couldn’t help but keep thinking of Johnny Depp as he kept saying love at the end of sentences. Did anyone else have that?