By Marissa Meyer.
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.
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The Story :
Heartless tells us the story of Queen of Hearts before Alice visited Wonderland. Catherine is a normal young girl of a Marquess, but with the only dream of opening her own bakery some day. She loves baking and sharing it with others. But as a daughter of the Marquess, her parents want to see her married to the king of the kingdom, The King of Hearts. On the night, she was supposed to impress the king at a ball enough for him to propose to her to marry him, Cath witnesses the performance of the new court Joker and realizes he is the guy she had had dreams about which ended with lemon and white rose trees growing in her room from her dream! Cath panics when the king is about to make the announcement and runs from the ballroom but faints due to her tightly cinched dress, only to be rescued by the Joker, Jest. After that incident, Cath begins to think more about Jest which reaches its peak when Jest takes her out for a tea party by dropping by her window at night. Here the other main characters of the story are introduced: Hatta the Hatter and Haigha the Hare. After the tea party Jest and Cath start a secret courtship while the King declares a courtship with Cath! Also, the town of Wonderland is also terrorized by continued attacks of the Jabberwock.
After reading the Lunar Chronicles earlier this year by the same author, I was desperately waiting for Heartless to come out, having fallen in love with Ms. Meyer’s writing style. Heartless is a take on the classic story of Alice in Wonderland, but focusing on the Queen of Hearts. It gives a back story on why the Queen is cold-hearted person and what circumstances made her so. Though the book starts with a nice light story with pies and tarts involved it soon gets a dark edge to it. I loved the whole baker aspects and I actually sat down and searched the different recipes mentioned in the book, like macaroons! (yum) I started sympathizing with Cath, wishing she would get the man she loved and not be forced into a marriage with the King, but I knew for the story to connect to the Alice in Wonderland story, it couldn’t end well.
Though the end is pretty sad, the story is so well written that I got completed engrossed in it and couldn’t stay from the book till the very end. The darkness in the story, which starts pretty late in the book encouraged me to go on reading than putting me off since I think it made the story more real. I loved the way the author brought the right meaning to the Queen of Hearts most common line, “Off with his head”.
I think the story did have some unnecessary elaborate focus on the whole courtship between the King of Hearts and Cath which was neither interesting nor I felt was connecting at times. I would have liked some more stolen moments between Cath and Jest, instead.
I Think Marissa Meyer is now becoming awesome in the fairy telling retelling and this was one solid retelling, in my opinion. This is one good read for those who enjoy fairy tales.