Book Review: Heartless (Marissa Meyer)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Pages: 464

Release Date: February 9th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, 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’ve mentioned this a few times on my blog before, but I’m a big Alice in Wonderland fan. I’ll read anything remotely to do with it, so when I saw this on NetGalley, I couldn’t pass it up. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Heartless tells the story of Cath, the future Queen of Hearts, although it’s hard to see that at the start. I liked Cath, and that kept me reading as I wondered what the hell could have happened to her to turn her into the Queen of Hearts that we all know. She leads the book perfectly: she’s not interested in marrying the King for power, as her mother is.  No, she wants to open a bakery with Mary Ann, her servant and close friend. This is another thing that I’d never thought of before but makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t she want to bake, it’s in the rhyme, right? The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summer’s day. There loads of these kind of things woven into the book and it shows that Meyer really did her research and it just makes the book.

Cath didn’t want to marry the King, and I can see why, but I have a weird soft spot for him. He’s just so childlike and silly, it made him great to read. No, I wouldn’t want to marry him if I was in her shoes, but to read he was fab. Instead, Cath falls for the Jest, the new Joker; he’s funny and charming and has a mysterious past, all the things you want in a love interest. He shows Cath things in Wonderland she doesn’t get to see as the daughter of a Marquess, including – of course – a tea party with Hatta (who’s not yet mad).

Wonderland is brought to life beautifully, with a lot of characters that you know and love from the original story. My favourite was the turtle: I guessed early on that he’d end up as a mock turtle somehow, but I’ve always wondered how that happened. I also loved the story with Peter Peter. I came across that rhyme in a book with Little Moore recently but somehow didn’t twig he was going to be the Peter from the rhyme. I loved that the little girls who live in the treacle well played an interesting part in the book: it’s another tiny part of Wonderland that Meyer has fleshed out and made her own.

I seriously enjoyed this book and I know I’ll be recommending it to everyone., Wonderland fan or not. There’s enough of the original in here for fans to enjoy but what really makes the book is her own inventions and twists that bring Wonderland to life.