Page Count: 453
Published On: November 8, 2016
Published By: Feiwel and Friends
Genre(s): YA, fantasy, retelling, romance
Source: personally purchased
My Rating: 3 stars
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 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.
I've been such a fan of Marissa Meyer for years, but this story did not live up to my hopes. I bought this book a long time ago, knowing that because it was Marissa Meyer that I would enjoy it. While the book was entertaining and interesting, I was just bored and sick of the main character by the end of it.
Though this was a really fascinating retelling and back story to the Queen of Hearts, I felt like the amount of buildup toward her eventual end was really slow. Sometimes getting through this book felt like a dredge through a muddy pond. The book started out so nicely -- from the bizarre introduction to the world of Hearts to the immense amounts of baking that Cath partook in. However, once you got into the book it was as if the madness and bizarre-ness of the world of Wonderland were completely thrown out the window. Granted, a lot of the events that occurred were bizarre and the characters were wildly strange, but they just weren't what I would expect of the characters of Wonderland. I wish that it had been more consistent.
The plot was also not the best. The majority of the plot was just Cath whining about what she didn't want to do. She didn't do much of anything. She was just obnoxiously whiney. I felt like she refused to stand up for herself when it meant the most, she constantly ignored the advice of others and did whatever she wanted even though it was obvious that she wasn't the best at making decisions. Actually, she never really made many decisions. Not the decisions that counted. She also was just really dumb and wouldn't support herself until she had the help of a dude. I felt like the book really lacked the feminism that Meyer had frequently shown in her other works.
When it comes to Marissa Meyer, I know that I can count on her to create a really dimensional and romantic relationship bloom from the most annoying characters. This was not the case in Heartless. While I really liked Jest's character. I wish the book had been a dual perspective between Jest and Cath (though I know why MM didn't use that technique). Their relationship was just a bit too annoying for me. She really just gave us the reasons to ship the two characters, I felt like it wasn't shown enough to actually make me connected to their relationship or feelings. Just not my cup of tea.
Overall, the book was underwhelming and kind of boring. I didn't like the main character, the romance was bleh, and there should have been more feminism, stabbing, and more murder from the Jabberwocky. There was hardly any plot to make it worth it to me. Though I didn't like the bits that tend to make or break the book, I really did enjoy the magic, the side characters (Hatta, Cheshire, and more), the world of Chess, the Jabberwocky conflict, and the baking. I wish that I had loved this book, but I just didn't click with it. I know so many adore this book. I definitely would have loved it more in 2016 when it first came out.
I have a review for Marissa Meyer's other series, The Lunar Chronicles. It's absolutely one of my favorite series.
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~
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