Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Before she became the terror of Wonderland and the famed Queen of Hearts, all Catherine wanted was to open a bakery with her best friend and fall in love. What happens next will thrill you to the bones even as her fate pushes her to become the one thing she isn't.

My Rating for Heartless: 5 Stars and a Recommended Read

Before she became the Queen of Hearts and terrorized Wonderland, all Catherine wanted to do was bake and open a bakery with her best friend. She never anticipated falling in love. But that is a dream her mother tells her is not obtainable. She is for better things, for the unmarried King of Hearts. But when she meets the King’s mysterious court jester, she finds someone she is drawn to, that thrill of attraction and falling in love was never so right. But in a land where magic, madness and monsters lay, Catherine is about to find out that the life she dreams of is not really what fate plans for her.

I have to hand it to the author in creating something so vivid, so magical even as she uses the world that was created for Alice in Wonderland to be the backdrop of HEARTLESS; she creates just enough of a few points to connect the two books but turns it into something wholly its own in the end. With classic lines from Alice such as ‘How is a raven like a writing desk?’, ‘off with their head’ and more, she creates a prequel story that is at turns sweetly romantic, filled with characters that you know and love from the classic story and delivers a lush backdrop of Wonderland to anchor it all. It’s an epic story that will draw you in, consume you and won’t let you go until the very last page is read. This story doesn’t show you just how Catherine became the Queen of Hearts but how the Mad Hatter became mad. It’s a story of a girl who had dreams of her own and finds that though she was determined to reach those dreams, sometimes fate is a fickle thing and life has a way of forcing you to become something else, to dream of something else.

I first got HEARTLESS for my kids from the library but soon fell into the story myself and found myself mesmerized at how the author breathed life into a classic story filled with beloved characters and made them wholly her own. The backdrop of Wonderland is vivid and captures the imagination of the reader right from the beginning. If you are looking for a happy ending kind of story then this is definitely not it. The path to the end of the book is full of twists and turns, scenes that will make you gasp and characters that you tear up over. It’s not for the faint of heart, where you think unicorns and roses will win the day. It’s a gorgeous, well written book that is impressive in it bringing who the characters where before that classic story made them well known and shows how magical, fun, sweet and silly it can  be alongside the darkness that clings to the shadows as well.

Ms. Meyer is a superb storyteller who delivers an epic, heartbreaking story that will leave you in tears in the end because you don’t think the Queen of Hearts can be likable or sympathetic or even enjoyable but in HEARTLESS, the author does just that and does it so well, I forgot I was reading a prequel to the classic story about a character that is so awful in it, you couldn’t help but not like her. All Catherine wanted was a simple life, of work that she loved, of a man who loved her and a life filled with joy & happiness but it wasn’t meant to be. What this author does is so wonderful, so entertaining that I am awestruck by it all even days later after I finished the book. She wrote the perfect bridge to Lewis Carroll’s story and in it delivers a character we can not help but root for, fall in love with and in the end, mourn alongside her as she tries to pick up the pieces of a dream that blew up in her face.

Ms. Meyer has written a story that will thrill you, chill you and steal your heart when you don’t even know it. Her prequel to the Alice in Wonderland story is at turns, sweet, simple, silly and wonderful and then at times dark and shadowy. When the climatic ending comes, even as you know the famed Queen of Hearts is coming, you hold out that she will have a different ending even as it is not meant to be. Fairy tale retellings are a hit or miss with me but in this, in HEARTESS, you will find that Ms. Meyer hit it out of the ballpark and delivers a story so wonderful, you can’t help but want more.

As a new reader to this author, I am finding that HEARTLESS makes me long for more of this author’s work and I am eager to see what else is there to enjoy. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, of multidimensional characters that leap off the pages and a story that at turns thrills you even as it chills your heart, then grab HEARTLESS, settle in and get ready for a wild ride because once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

Available at Amazon



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