By: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Source: ARC from NYCC
Purchase the Book: Amazon
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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she 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. (Goodreads)
I really enjoyed Heartless a lot! Meyer wrote a fantastic and immersive origin story about the Queen of Hearts!
Catherine was a complex and well developed character. I truly felt for her and the situations she found herself caught up in. She dreams of one day opening up a bakery with her best friend. I loved her passion for baking and the care she put into every dessert she made. She's confident and knows that she is a great baker. However, her parents have a much different dream for Catherine's future. They want her to accept the King's marriage proposal. Cath struggles between following her own dreams and pleasing her parents. I could understand why she felt so torn over which decision to make and why at times she felt as though she didn't even have a choice.
Heartless is packed with many interesting side characters. Most were characters that I'm already familiar with from Alice in Wonderland, but it was fun to see them in this story. I also loved seeing all of the different connections that each of these characters shared with Cath. My favorite side character was definitely the Jest though. He was such a fun and mysterious character that I enjoyed getting to know.
The plot was paced fairly well. It took me a bit of time to actually get invested in the story. However, once the story really started moving forward, I couldn't put this book down. The plot was packed with a lot of drama and a bit of romance. I found that the twist was quite predictable as well, but I still enjoyed it. I just really loved the way that Meyer brought together the whole origin of the Queen of Hearts with all of these connecting pieces.
One of my favorite aspects of this book, however, was definitely the setting. I loved the way that Meyer built up the world of Wonderland. I'm a huge Alice in Wonderland fan and I loved that Meyer stayed true to so many aspects of Wonderland while still managing to make it her own at the same time. I truly felt like I was in the Kingdom of Hearts alongside Cath while reading.
Overall, I really enjoyed Heartless a lot! If you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland or a fan of villain origin stories, I definitely recommend picking this one up. It will not disappoint!