Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 9, 2017

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!
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Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton 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.

After a long break from reading, well, ANYTHING, Heartless was exactly what I needed to get back into the reading mood. I had read Cinder by Marissa Meyer ages ago, and absolutely loved it too, but unfortunately for some reason never completed the series. I’m glad this one was a standalone novel though, because I could really just dive in without worrying about having to remember plot and character details for the sequel. Anyway,
I love origin stories! I was interested to see how this one was going to be tackled, and Marissa Meyer definitely did not disappoint.


The only other origin story I’ve seen for the Queen of Hearts was briefly in Once Upon a Time, so I was glad that there wouldn’t be other adaptations of the book’s character that influenced my perception. It’s also been a while since I’ve read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, so I was pretty confused when the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen were two different people, but now looking back it makes more sense. It’s because Disney had combined the two characters in their adaptations–the animated film and the Tim Burton films–which is why I found it intriguing to know more about Chess and Hearts, the two different lands presented in the story. While this is a standalone, and as I’ve mentioned previously how I’m thankful for that, I could definitely see this having some sort of spin-off with a tale about the war in Chess and how the Queen of Hearts comes into play with that.


Rather than the characters, I was here for the story. In my opinion the characters could have been a little better–Catherine’s transformation is pretty drastic, and I couldn’t really buy the romance between her and Jest. I loved the supporting characters though; they were all very well thought out. I mean, Mary Ann’s character for instance? Holy moly. I mean, she doesn’t even have too big a role, but I only remembered who she was in the actual book after finishing Heartless, and then the end of her story comes to make sense. It was the attention to detail that completely blew me away, as the author really thought through how these characters start and end up, how their roles alter by the time Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts.


Having finished Heartless, I’m now desperate to finish Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, as I’m sure she skilfully weaves different fairy tales in her other series as she does in this one with Alice in Wonderland, “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” “The Raven,” and other stories. A brilliantly imagined account of a character doomed from the start, Heartless is luscious, dark, and gripping. 



▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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