Heartless by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: November 8th, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Point of View:3rd Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic
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.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I am so very honoured to be part of the HEARTLESS blog tour. Many thanks to the Raincoast Books team for giving me the opportunity.
Like many people, I hate the Queen of Hearts. But perhaps that is too strong of a word, seeing that she does entertain me. Still, I dislike her tremendously.
Which is why I needed to read this book. I needed to see what made the Queen of Hearts become such a blubbering, humourless, merciless and heartless terror.
The first chapters boggled my mind, before I got used to seeing Catherine Pinkerton being so pliable, understanding and simply GOOD. But you know what, life is different on everyone.
I actually felt compassion for Catherine. All she wants is to pursue her dream of opening a bakery and cooking and baking all days long in company of her lovely maid, Mary Ann.
But her mother has other plans. She wants to make her the Queen of Hearts.
Although this is a slow-paced novel, it’s important to know that Marissa Meyer does not info-dump us. She easily could have, taking lots of time to describe the world, scenes and situations the characters are put in. Instead, she assumes, to a certain degree, that we are already fairly familiar with Wonderland’s elements.
And are we not? Never fear, this is not at all world-building-less. I, for one, am extremely glad for the lack of info-dump. Because, ultimately, this should be about Catherine Pinkerton.
And it is. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s a character-driven novel of a sort, because there are indeed many, many interesting featured characters that make this novel, although the events are also very salient.
This was a treat, it really was. Marissa Meyer’s novels are undeniably magical. I will, however, point out, for your sake and patience, that HEARTLESS takes a while to pick up. Up to that point, it’s still magical, just very slow and seeming to go nowhere exactly plot-wise, because Marissa Meyer is building/presenting her characters.
I thought I’d warn you, so you don’t expect to be thrown into the action right from the start. That’s not how it goes for Catherine Pinkerton. After all, before she was the Queen of Hearts, she was a fairly simple, good-willed girl.
EXCERPT PRESENTING RAVEN
“—LADY HATH STUMBLED on this midnight dreary, with a pallor frightfully pale and weary.” A somber, melodic voice floated through the encompassing darkness.
“Duly noted, my feathered friend,” came a second voice, lighter and quick. “Are you sure we haven’t some sal-volatile in there?”
“I know nothing of your hoped-for salt, though with your plan I find a fault. To keep her from awaking groggy, ’twould be most prudent to make her soggy.”
Something hard thumped on the ground by Cath’s elbow, followed by a quiet slosh of water.
“No, Raven, we are not throwing a bucket of water on her. Keep looking. Haven’t we a ham sandwich? Or some hay? That always worked on the King.”
Rustling, fumbling, clanks and clatters.
A sigh. “You know what? Never mind. We’ll use this.”
The rustle of foliage followed by the snap of a branch. Something soft tickled the tip of Cath’s nose.
She squirmed, turning her head away, and caught the faint perfume of roses.
“Aha, it’s working.”
She wrinkled her nose. Her eyelids squinted open. Darkness and shadows swirled in her vision. Her head felt heavy, her thoughts disoriented.
“Hello,” spoke one of the bleary shadows, sharpening into the court joker. He lifted the soft-petaled rose away from her face. “Are you all right?”
“Nevermore,” said his Raven, who was perched on the edge of a metal bucket.
The Joker cut him a glare. “Don’t be rude.”
“’Tisn’t rude to rebuke an arbitrary greeting, a nonsense question upon first meeting. To be all right implies an impossible phase. We hope for mostly right on the best of our days.”
“Exactly,” said the Joker. “Rude.”
The Raven made an unhappy noise. Spreading his massive wings, he leaped up into the air and settled on a high branch of the rose tree instead.
I hope you enjoy reading HEARTLESS and, if you already did read it, tell me what you thought of it! 🙂
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