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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer did it again! Heartless is brilliant! I love how Meyer re-imagines these worlds I grew up loving and end up loving all over again. I definitely had a book hangover when I finished The Lunar Chronicles, and I wish there was going to be more to Heartless, but I'll take what I can get!

(Source: Kelsey Darling)
A Brief Review

Heartless is the story of what happened before Alice fell through the rabbit hole. Lady Catherine Pinkerton, or Cath, is our leading lady who dreams of being a baker, but ends up in a courtship with the King, who is sort of a bumbling fool but loves the delicious treats Cath brings him. During the Black and White Ball, the kings new court joker, Jest, makes his debut appearance and awes the crowd and captures the attention of Cath. When Cath fears the King is about to announce their engagement, which she did not know of, Cath fleas the party and runs right into Jest. The chemistry between the two is electrifying. Cath leaves the ball feeling as if she if floating on air. However, after she has left, the rest of the party goers are attacked by the Jabberwock, a beast that hasn't been seen in many lifetimes.

(Source: Google Images)
Through different encounters, Jest and Cath fall for each other, however, he becomes very insistent that she must marry the King, even though he tells her how jealous he is when it comes to the courtship between Cath and the King. Throughout the story, we meet a lot of Wonderland's well known characters. The hookah-smoking Caterpillar is a cobbler; the White Rabbit is the trumpeter for the King; and the Mad Hatter, Hatta, isn't mad yet, but still loves his tea parties. Through their adventures, we learn about the Land of Hearts, the Land of Chess, and everything peculiar in between.

But of course, there is conflict. Cath's resistance to marry the King causes strain in the relationship with her parents; Cath feels that Jest is hiding more than he's letting on; the Jabberwock is attacking more and more people; and Cath's dreams of being a baker and living her life with Jest are becoming more and more unlikely.

We're All Mad Here, Myself Included

  • Alice in Wonderland is one of my all-time favorite books and movies. I probably quote it more than what is acceptable. But I love the detail and story and characters and stars, I would kill to go to Wonderland. Marissa Meyer does a brilliant job of bringing all of my loves into the before story. If it's possible, I might even love everything more now.
(Source: Giphy)
  • The Wonderland references are endless: six impossible things before breakfast; how is a raven like a writing desk; we're all mad here; who are you. And just the little details. 
"As it so happens, Mr. Jest, I've sometimes come to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." (p. 59)
  • Can Jest be a real person? And Hatta. I kinda need them in my life...or bed; I'll take either. 

(Source: Giphy)
  • Another literary love of mine is referenced heavily through the book: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. Meyer is a woman after my own heart.
"Good eve, fair lady, your forgiveness we implore, to come so brashly tapping, tapping at your chamber door." (p. 142)
  • The ending devastated me. I had completely forgotten that this is what happened before Alice and why the Queen loves saying "Off with their head!" I kept hoping against hope that everything would work out, that there would be some way to make it right. But I was wrong.
"It was a new day in Hearts, and she was the Queen.
'Off with his head.'" (p. 449)

This book and I are having a serious love/hate relationship. Meyer's writing skill is off the charts. I'm sure she could write a manual for a refrigerator and I'd devour every word and be left wanting more. But you see, that's the hate part; I am left wanting more.

(Source: Giphy)
I think The Lunar Chronicles spoiled me. Everyone I loved lived. Heartless is a different story. One might even think Marissa is a little heartless after what she puts the reader through: a whirlwind romance that is shattered as quickly as it fell together. And I saw it coming; the reader would have to be really bad at context clues to not see it coming. 

"One to be a murderer, the other to be martyred,
One to be a monarch, the other to go mad." (p.372)

But it's Wonderland, and I wanted to believe it would be different. Despite that, I would read it again and again; and I will continue to read the works of Marissa Meyer and fall in love with jokers and princes and convicts on the run.

Rating: 10/10
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling

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