I thought I could get away with reviews that avoided spoilers, and that I could be content. I was wrong. I’m so excited about it, I might end up having to write another review without having to avoid spoilers.
I’m also trying a new structure for my reviews, so this may look a bit different than normal. Anyway, here is:
"Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — 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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she 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."
“Her mother sneered. ‘Then you are a fool.’”
“‘Good. I’ve become rather fond of fools.’”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless
From the synopsis, I expected Heartless to be a love story. I’m not a fan of love stories. But, I am a huge fan of anything Wonderland, so I still decided to give it a try. After reading it, I don’t think I would even call it a love story, although a lot of the story is based around Catherine’s relationships with both the King of Hearts and Jest.
The novel starts with Cath baking lemon tarts, very fitting for an introduction to the Queen of Hearts. That’s Cath’s passion - not only does she love to bake, but her dream is to open up a bakery that would serve only the best treats in all of Hearts. Baking and business ownership, however, is not something that is fitting for the daughter of a Marquess. Nor for the future Queen of Hearts, although Cath is the only one who doesn’t seem to realize that’s what her future holds.
The lemon tarts are important for more than just her baking, though. Dreams in Hearts, it seems, give birth to things in reality, and as such, dreams are rare occurrences. Cath has several dreams throughout the book, and each time, she wakes up to a plant growing around her bed. The first is after her dream about a boy with lemon-colored eyes, and she wakes to find a lemon tree.
She brings these tarts to the King - it seems she often brings her treats to him. It might possibly be part of the reason why he’s so taken with her, as he’s always asking what kind of delicacy she’s bringing to him next. Cath also isn’t expecting that the King is wanting to propose to her, and when the realization finally hits her, it’s too late to do anything but hope for a distraction.
Right into the new court joker’s arms.
The court joker who has the same yellow eyes she saw in her dream.
And so begins the story of the girl who doesn’t want to marry the King, but doesn’t want to disappoint her parents either. The girl who wants to open a bakery, but knows she wouldn’t have the funds without her parents’ approval. The girl who’s fallen in love, but knows announcing it would break the King’s heart.
It’s not a love story. It’s the story of a passionate young girl who becomes the Queen of Hearts we all know and fear. And it’s heartbreaking.
Because no matter how much I sympathized with and love Cath, there’s no avoiding that she becomes the “infamous Queen of Hearts”, just as the summary claims. Throughout most of the book, I think it’s easy to forget. As the end draws closer, I begun to believe Cath wouldn’t really become the Queen of Hearts.
Writing Quality ❤❤❤❤♡
I had read Marissa Meyer’s other books, or at least I started to. I’d begun The Lunar Chronicles, and enjoyed Cinder, but just couldn’t get through Scarlet and never finished the rest of the series. They’re not bad, but you can see so much improvement between The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless. I wouldn’t say that Meyer’s style has changed, but her writing is so much more refined.
Character Development ❤❤❤❤❤
This is one of the biggest reasons I find Heartless so compelling. From beginning to end, Cath is changing. She becomes more passionate (about more than just her hobby) and learns to stand up for herself more and more. The transformation from her character at the beginning and her character at the end is not just ever-evolving, this evolution is based on the circumstances and events surrounding her. Every change in her personality and goals has a reason. The main character isn’t the only one with good character development, however. Many of them change as the story progresses. Hatta, for example, starts as whimsical and mysterious - the host of the Mad Tea Party. As the story progresses, Cath sees more of Hatta, and his background unfolds to reveal more. But the circumstances also change who he is from there on out, ever-changing until the end.
“Couldn’t Put It Down”-ness ❤❤❤❤♡
Read dates: April 27 to May 1.
Heartless quickly drew me in, and it was really hard to put it down to take care of normal life. I was constantly reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Cath and how she was going to achieve her dream of owning a bakery and how she was going to find a way to end up with Jest instead of the King. There were a few slow moments for me - where I skimmed pages to get back to what I wanted to read. These were far and few between, though they were there.
As it’s a spin-off story, Heartless isn’t completely original. However, I highly respect Meyer’s references and usage of the original Wonderland characters. The White Rabbit and his service to the King. Hatta and his mess of tea party guests, including the March Hare and the Dormouse. Even the Red Queen and White Queen and their war are mentioned, even though it’s in a world away from Hearts. But what I love best about Heartless being a Wonderland book is that it’s not just an origin story of the Queen of Hearts. It’s a girl who you would have never picked out of the crowd to become the cruel and heartless Queen. I’d read Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes, and while a good book, the main character is a bit of what you’d expect from the future Queen. Cruel. Cold. Uncaring for anyone but herself. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Meyer’s take on the character is very different from what you would expect, and it gives Heartless it’s own charm.
Overall Rating ❤❤❤❤♡
Keep on reading,
Interested in Heartless? Buy it at Amazon!
Looking for Something?
Don't Miss a Review!