- Page Count: 464
- Release Date: November 8, 2016
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
I was really looking forward to this one but feel very… underwhelmed right now. I didn’t necessarily dislike anything about this book, but I didn’t particularly like or connect with very much either.
The story follows Alice in Wonderland really well (like with the difference between the Red Queen and Queen of Hearts) and includes familiar figures like the Cheshire cat, the Jabberwock, and the mad Hatta and his tea party crew. Catherine is the eventual Queen of Hearts and is passionate about opening a bakery at the beginning of the story. Her controlling mother wants her to marry the King, but Cath is interested in Jest, the mysterious joker with his own motives.
It WAS a pretty clever storyline that took Cath from a kind girl to a heartless queen screaming “off with his head.” I admired many of the fun twists, especially with Peter Peter the pumpkin eater and his wife. But the pacing was slow and I thought the story as a whole was just rather… bland. The one part I did love was how Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was worked into the story with the Raven saying lines like “nevermore” and other quotes!
I think the story just adhered a little too closely to the original material for me and I wanted to see something a bit more creative, like with Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes or The Lunar Chronicles.
I was trying to keep this story separate from Marissa Meyer’s previous series and not put any unfair expectations on Heartless, so my love for TLC neither raised my rating of this book or made me disappointed by comparison. They’re very different stories and I still think Marissa Meyer is queen of retellings even if this particular book wasn’t totally my cup of tea!