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.
I hadn’t read any of Marissa Meyer’s previous novels, but when I heard about Heartless, I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy. But fairytale-retellings are a bit hit-or-miss for me. Whether I love them or I hate them, I find that enjoying the original fairytale or not doesn’t really influence my relationship with this new piece of art presented in front of me. While I knew a bit about the land of Alice in Wonderland and the Queen of Hearts, Heartless was still a refreshing, unique take on the stories we’ve all grown up hearing about. While I felt that there were some issues with pacing at times, ultimately Heartless is a beautiful book about baking, the importance of having dreams, and falling in love.
Do you ever think that sometimes what one loves most can be one’s hamartia? For example, I love cake, but if I ate too much and ate only cake, it could lead to my death, right? I felt like that principle definitely applied in Heartless. One of the things I loved most about this novel was the baking scenes and the talk of delicious desserts and opening a bakery. Needless to say, Heartless is a book you have to read with a snack beside you. But unfortunately, this aspect of Heartless that I initially adored came to become something that I found frustrating and thought to slow the pace. I found myself hoping that sometime soon Cath would stop talking about her wishes for a bakery because that was the only think she could seem to think about and talk about for the first hundred pages or so. I think that if perhaps her thoughts on baking and the bakery were more spread out and intertwined between more action, I wouldn’t have gotten sick of the sugary goodness that is Heartless quite so quickly.
In saying that, I really enjoyed the ending because I felt as though everything fell into place and I loved the amount of action that occurred. To me, the spectacular ending made dragging my eyes through the endless pages about baking bearable. Towards the end of Heartless, I found that I couldn’t take my eyes from the pages and I felt like there was not enough pages for everything to conclude nicely. I thoroughly enjoyed what Heartless had in store for me and I definitely think I’ll be picking up Meyer’s other series, The Lunar Chronicles, soon. I’ve had a taste of her irresistible writing and I won’t be able to stop thinking about it until I’ve had more. Her writing and the meticulous, entrancing world she weaved was utterly addictive and I can’t wait to see what The Lunar Chronicles is like.
To me, it was also the more minor characters and smaller aspects of Heartless that contributed to what ended up being a really enjoyable, intriguing novel. My favourite character would have to be Cheshire — I’ve always been a fan of that strange floating cat from Alice in Wonderland and I loved getting to know him in a different way in Heartless. Can I steal him? Please? The scenes with the Joker were also a highlight and while I didn’t particularly like him at first, he definitely grew on me and I loved the exchanges between him and Cath. I also just adored the atmosphere of the dinner parties and feasts and other events and I really felt as though I was in the room with Cath, smelling her scrumptious delicacies and feeling the beautiful fabric of her clothes. Meyer’s poignant, compelling writing style drew me into this world and wrapped me up in a bundle of warmth and intrigue with just the right amount of madness and danger. If you’re looking to be whisked away into a magical world for a few hours, Heartless is the perfect book to do so with.
Overall, while I felt that Heartless dragged a little in places, the world-building was phenomenal, the writing was beautiful and the characters were unique and interesting, which all contributed to making Meyer’s latest novel one that won’t be forgotten. If you’re a fan of retellings or are just looking for a fantasy book that’s a little different from the rest, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Heartless. Just remember to have a snack with you, because all the talk of baking and mouth-watering desserts is bound to make you hungry!
Have you had the chance to read Heartless yet? Are you a fan of retellings? What are some other retellings you enjoy? Do you like The Lunar Chronicles? What’s your favourite fairytale? What’s a fairytale you haven’t seen a retelling about but you’d love? Let me know!
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!
Check out some of the other blogs participating in the Heartless blog tour!