Heartless | book review

The Details

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: n/a
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 449
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Original Publication Date: 2016
Genre(s): Young adult, Fantasy, Retelling

baby shower

The Cover


So my cover is an exclusive cover from OwlCrate, and I have to say I like it better than the original. The sleek white background is gorgeous and the red and black accents tie it all together. I love the font, too. Underneath the dust jacket is a crazy checkered design that, though I’m not a fan of, is perfect considering the story. What I don’t like is that the book title is vertical along the spine…

The Synopsis

Catherine Pinkerton is envied by every young lady in Hearts — she’s a beautiful girl of nobility who’s sought-after by the King. She should be happy, and yet she’s anything but. All she’s ever wanted in life is to open a bakery of her own and sell her delicious treats to all of Hearts. But that’s no life for a Queen, and it seems Catherine is destined to become one. As the King tries to wriggle his way into her heart, Catherine begins having strange dreams about a boy with black hair and amber eyes, a boy who makes impossible things possible. Catherine begins to fall in love, and it’s not with the King…

The Plot

Have you ever started reading a book and had just knowyou weren’t going to like it? Everyone has their preferred genres. I, personally, am not big on fantasy, and even less a fan of retellings. In fact, when I received Heartless in my OwlCrate last year, I was pretty disappointed. I knew I had to read it, but I also knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’m happy to say I was positively wrong.

Heartless tells the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In Alice, the Queen is nasty, cruel, and heartless — but why is she so? Melissa Meyer decided to give us the answer in her fantastic novel. It’s a bit of a hefty read, but it’s worth it in the end. It’s slow-going at first, but once you really get started, it’s hard to put down. Heartless is told in third-person following Lady Catherine, a young lady in Hearts. Though the King pursues her, she only has eyes for Jest, and this forbidden romance leads her down a dark path. But it seems she was always destined to walk this path.

It’s very hard to read a book like this because you know how it ends. You know Lady Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts because she’s quite insufferable in Alice as such. But you’re sitting there reading and you don’t want her to become the Queen. It’s very frustrating. Like watching a horror movie knowing the pretty blonde is going to die as soon as she opens the door. You don’t want to watch, but you watch anyway.

The Characters

It’s hard to like Lady Catherine. On one hand, she’s in an unfortunate situation and you have so much sympathy for her. But on the other hand, she makes silly mistakes and you know how she’s going to end up. Dramatic irony at its finest. I did find myself sympathizing with her, even at the end, there.

It was fun to see so many characters from Alice making appearances — the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, Hatta, Haigha… But I have to say, Jest stole the show. Jest is such a dreamboat. Seriously, I know this is Wonderland and all, but books give us highly unrealistic expectations of boys. This is one romance you won’t want to stop reading about.

The Writing

Everybody has read Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. Well, everyone except me. I don’t know, like I said, fairytale retellings don’t really appeal to me. After Heartless, though, I may change my mind — the writing was really good. I’ve seen reviews praising this novel’s improvement compared to The Lunar Chronicles, and I’ve read some stating the opposite. Nevertheless, I think Meyer has a knack for YA writing, for romance, and for retellings. For such a dark novel, I would have liked a little more of an emotional connection–I felt a little disconnected from the story and the characters–but other than that, I did enjoy the writing and the novel itself. In fact, I really liked the sameness between this and Alice. The characters’ voices were perfect, the mood was just right… It was a very believable origin story. I’m gad I read something out of my comfort zone, I’m glad I enjoyed it, and I’m glad OwlCrate gives me the opportunity to read books I wouldn’t otherwise give a second glance.

My Rating


Favorite Quote(s)

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

“Fascinating, isn’t it, how often heroic and foolish turn out to be one and the same.”

“But hoping is how the impossible can be possible after all.”

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