The start of a new year really means I should catch up on my book reviews that I have left unfinished from 2016 (the list is down to two). There was so much hype over Heartless on instagram I just had to pick it up. I enjoyed another book written by Marissa Myers and the idea of a book that gives insight into why the Red Queen is so ‘Heartless’ (I am so sorry) in Alice in Wonderland.
Author: Marissa Myer
Date published: November 8th 2016
Page Count: 464
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite 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.
Marissa Myer takes classic fairytale ‘villain’ the Red Queen and gives her a heartbreaking backstory in this wonderfully written book. I enjoyed this unique interpretation of the land of Hearts and the exploration of both the world and its people. Meyer writes in a way where extraordinary and unexplained occurrences are seamlessly woven into the story and feel common place.
Cath is a likeable character and everyone can relate to some aspect of her character, or her struggles. She has a dream, to open a bakery and sell her goods to the people of Hearts, which her parents disapprove of. Instead, she is to marry the King and become the queen, a future Cath has no desire of living. When she meets the mysterious new court Jester at a royal ball, the chance that she may be able to pursue her dream and find true love becomes a possible reality. Her transformation into the cruel Red Queen we all know from Alice in Wonderland culminates from a variety of events throughout the book, however I will touch on this later.
The only pitfall of Heartless is that it takes a long time to see any progress in the plot and it is just a little but too long. At times it gets repetitive in setting up some plot points-that Cath does not want to marry the king, that Cath’s parents disapprove of her dream. If it was more concise and moved through these often tedious moments a little quicker, the flow of the exciting and important scenes would not be broken.
The ending is heartbreaking, and even though i expected Jest’s fate from the beginning of the book and it is foretold in a prophecy during the book, the emotion behind it was definitley not dampened and the final battle scene towards the conclusion of the book was impactful. The transition of the young and hopeful Cath into the Queen of Hearts is well done and blends wonderfully into the Queen of Hearts from the Alice in Wonderland books.
‘Heartless’ is a story of romance, magic, and inevitable heartbreak. It is a well written ‘addition’ to the stories of Lewis Carroll and Marissa Myer stays true to the essence of Wonderland, but adds her own flair and interpretation to these well known characters and places.