Heartless by Marissa Meyer
A Beautiful Backstory to the Queen of Hearts

Title: HeartlessHeartless Cover
Marissa Meyer
Series(?): Standalone
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: November 8th, 2016
Source & Format: Bought on Book Depository, Hardcover
Page Count: 453 
Genre: Fantasy Retelling 

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.

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Heartless was a well-written retelling of the backstory of the Queen of Hearts.

I hate that Heartless is a standalone novel, I wanted so much more from this story. The backstory of the infamous Queen of Hearts, the main villain in Alice in Wonderland was one of trials, tribulations, and terror. It was awesome to see how Cath’s character changed throughout in her negative character arc, seeing an innocent girl turn into the Queen of Hearts. Meyer manages to add her own touch to the story, providing a new perspective on the world of Wonderland and enriching it for new readers to explore.

Also, can I take a minute to discuss the loveliness of its nakedness? IT’S LIKE A CHESSBOARD AND IT’S PERFECT. It’s perhaps one of my favourite naked book designs that I’ve seen so far, I’m happy that publishers are finally adding some flair to the naked covers.

It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.

Cath’s character was not who I expected it to be at first.

Cath’s character is the young Queen of Hearts. I originally thought her character would be something like this:

Queen of Hearts

However, she was full of love, kindness, and dreams. She hopes of opening her own bakery with her best friend, Mary Ann but her mother always seemed to interfere with her plans. I felt that Cath’s dream of opening a bakery gave her a more human feel, from her evil counterpart. Throughout, we see Cath in positions of sweetness and hope but as the novel progresses we find herself slipping away as she begins to mature into the woman that is the Queen of Hearts and I supported mostly everything that she did.

I loved how Meyer was able to present Cath as multi-dimensional and exploring her flaws while using them to pursue her character arc further, turning her into the villain that she needed to become.

The cameos from Wonderland were done so well!

Jest was such a cute and mysterious figure who added flair to the story. His personality was adorable and the adventures he brought to Cath were spectacular and definitely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. One that I’ll include is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties! I was quite surprised with the outstanding portrayal of the tea party in the novel and how well the Mad Hatter was presented as a character, including the backstory to his madness.

But, wouldn’t we all want an invitation to one of the Mad Hatter’s tea parties? In my dream tea party, there would be green tea and coffee with cake along with biscuits, shortbread, and jelly.

Mad Hatter Tea Party

The Cheshire Cat was also a well-written character in Heartless but I’d love to have seen more of him in the novel. We even managed to meet a King of Hearts who was kind, sweet and definitely undeserving of Cath’s attitude towards him in the novel. All the King of Hearts wanted to do was make Cath happy. Even though I understand Cath didn’t want to marry him, she shouldn’t have treated him with such disrespect. Also, Mary Ann, I will feel sorry for Mary Ann always.

The world of Wonderland was both old and new!

I adored reacquainting myself with the world of Wonderland. There were mentions of the Looking Glass, the Vorpal Sword and the foods that change your size. Although you don’t have to read Alice in Wonderland, I’d definitely suggest it for the ideal reading experience. It was so exciting to see the world becoming an intricate part of the plot to Heartless and seeing Meyer’s take on the whimsical Wonderland play out so well.

One of my favourite parts of the world of Wonderland was perhaps the Treacle Well. Although, I don’t think I’d ever want to go there myself because of what happens in the book concerning the Well, haha!

The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.

The story was a glorious cup of tea, but I wished the pacing was faster.

Heartless had a wonderful story, full of laughs, upsets, and twists which are true Wonderland fashion. I made the mistake of reading this in school with people watching my reactions. They were quite auditory. I loved the story, and I’m upset about not having a sequel. Although, the ending makes it understandable of why not.

Also, I’m afraid of eating pumpkins now.

However, with Heartless being a standalone novel, the entire story can only be told in one installment. This resulted in parts being quite slow in pace, especially with building up the start of the novel. Although, once we were past the beginning and into the internal plot, the novel improved immensely.

Overall, the book is deserving of a very wonderful 4/5 stars for its multi-dimensional characters and awesome plot of weirdness. I hope to be invited to a Mad Hatter’s tea party soon!

About the Author

Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.

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Have you read Heartless or Alice in Wonderland? What were your thoughts on the book(s)? If you’ve read both, point out some similarities below! Also, feel free to give a reading suggestion, I’m always looking for new things to read!

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  • freefoodfox.com

    July 13, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Marissa Meyer is just a wonderful writer and I'm so glad she was able to come up with this and write it the way I was expecting it. I'm really looking forward to her future novels, her upcoming releases, and anything she has in mind.

  • Savannah

    June 14, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I had never seen the naked hardback of this book until now and it's stunning! This is one I've been wanting to pick up since I heard it was going to be released but haven't been able to get myself a copy yet.

    • Joel Rochester
      to Savannah

      June 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      There are a few available copies on Book Depository at the moment! I can't wait for you to read it and see your reactions.

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Hey friends! I’m Joel, the main writer here at Fictional Fates. I’m a reader and writer who advocates for more diversity in literature.

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