Marissa Meyer’s most recent release tells the story of the Queen Of Hearts before she became the Queen Of Hearts. Catherine is one of the most desired girls in the Kingdom of Hearts and holds a special place in the King’s heart. But Catherine doesn’t care about any of that, all she wants to do is bake to her heart’s content and open her own little bakery with her best friend Mary Ann.
At a royal ball, Catherine is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal – instead, she meets the mysterious court joker, Jest and things start to change for Catherine starting that very moment. We follow Catherine on various adventures, meet a variety of fun and loveable characters and learn how Catherine becomes the well-known Queen of Hearts.
In the acknowledgments at the end of Heartless Marissa Meyer talks about how she had mentioned to her agenting team that she wished author Gregory Maguire had written the origin story of the Queen Of Hearts to which her foreign rights agent replied ‘Marissa, why don’t you write the story?’. That’s how this story was born and I feel like you can feel Marissa Meyer’s love for the queen’s story throughout the entire novel and I couldn’t be happier to have been introduced to the Queen Of Hearts this way.
Unlike a lot of people, I have never dipped my toes into the world of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland before and didn’t really know any of the characters introduced in Heartless – apart from the Mad Hatter who appeared on Once Upon A Time (played by the oh so lovely Sebastian Stan). I feel like any and all knowledge I have about anything related to Wonderland comes from the tv show.
This is also why I had difficulties picturing some of the characters while I was reading this novel at the beginning. In chapter 3 there is this moment: ‘Cath’s father was entertaining the Four, Seven and Eight of Diamonds.’ and this was the first time we’re introduced to the characters that are cards in this novel and I couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to picture them as actual cards or as humans that had the card symbols painted on them/their clothing in some form. I decided to go with the card thing and ended up being right, as I figured out much later in the book. I wouldn’t blame this on the author or writing, though. This is simply me never having been in this world before.
Another problem with this novel was the insta-love trope that I have gotten quite tired of – as have many of you probably. So when Catherine and Jest meet and fall in love in moments (that’s what it felt like) I was quite annoyed for a little bit, but then I just fell really hard for the two of them and was really looking forward to their scenes together and seeing how things developed from their first meeting onward. And I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.
Marissa Meyer has such a lovely way with words that I am usually unable to put the book down and I find myself turning page after page, chapter after chapter and when I finally look up from my book I realize that it’s already late afternoon and I really need to make dinner.
The biggest problem I had with this book were Catherine’s mother’s constant comments about what Catherine was eating and how much of it. It honestly had me so angry and I feel like it might be triggering for people who have trouble with this kind of thing – so please be aware of this when you decide to pick this book up! And you can tell these comments have been going on for a while and that Catherine believes what her mother tells her (Cath’s mom calls her a walrus multiple times) later on during a different situation when Catherine wonders if she is too heavy to be lifted up.
I feel like Marissa always does really well with her cast of side characters and it was no different in this story. Cheshire our little gossiper of a cat, Hatta (I feel like I need to go back and re-read his scenes with an eye for detail soon) and everyone we meet at the tea party, Peter Peter who was so creepy and last but not least Mary Ann! I really enjoyed reading about her relationship with Catherine and seeing their dynamic play out. I almost forgot about Raven! I couldn’t quite figure out what my feelings about Raven were for the longest time (I feel like I almost automatically like anything to do with ravens since reading The Raven Cycle – even if this is a very different type of thing) and then there is the last third of the book and the ending especially.
Overall, I truly and fully enjoyed this story and Marissa definitely has made me curious about Wonderland and all of its characters. I feel like I should pick up more books set in Wonderland in the near future!
I gave this book a 4-star rating on Goodreads and couldn’t be happier with the first book I read in 2017! I was also trying to actually update my reading progress this time around and you can find all of my updates by clicking here!
Have you read Heartless by Marissa Meyer already? Or are you planning on reading it soon? If you’ve read it, please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!