Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless  tells the story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Catherine is the king’s  favourite, but she would much rather open her own bakery than become Queen of Hearts. when she meets Jest, the new court joker, at a ball where she is supposed to receive the king’s marriage proposal, Cath falls in love. Against her parents’ will she decides to start to choose her own fate. But in Wonderland fate has its own ideas.


I’ve never been  a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, and so I didn’t expect too much from this book. The story seemed fairly straighforward, after all it is obvious that there is no happy end. What I didn’t expect was getting drawn into the love story as much as I did.

You see, I love stories about characters who try to be themselves, and it was heartbreaking to see Cath become hopeful just to have all of that destroyed in the blink of an eye. In fact, the characters are the strongest suit of this book. The plot isn’t all that great in my opinions, there is few to no surprises, and most things were so easy to guess in advance that I had figured out most plot twists early on. But the characters are great, and reall drew me in. Even though I knew there would be no happy ending for the two of them I found myself hoping that somehow Cath and Jest might still end up with their happily ever after.

It’s been a long time since I even tried reading Alice in Wonderland, so I can’t say how close to the original the Wonderland Meyer creates is. However, in general I felt that she wrote a great world that feels at least somewhat like the world I remember from being read the story in my childhood. The main elements and characters are all there, from Cath herself to the Mad Hatter, and it’s just about as crazy as it always seemed to me.

But despite how lovable the characters were and how interesting the world was, I think that Heartless could have done better. It is overall lacking something, and in regard to diversity it does too little too late. Of course one might argue that it’s sticking to the original in that, but it’s a retelling for a reason, and I would have loved if Meyer had done more with the world and her characters. My inital rating on Goodreads was 4 stars, but after sleeping on it a few nights, I think that was too generous.

Rating: ★★★ 1/2☆☆ (3 1/2 Stars)

Additional Information

Publication Date: 8 November 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Page Count: 453
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
ISBN: 9781250044655


Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite 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.



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