ARC Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

3.5/5 Stars
Published by Feiwel and Friends
Published November 8th, 2016

Synopsis: 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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she 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.

Hello friends!! I am so sorry for being so distant and out of touch with my blog recently, but college has gotten super stressful for me, and I felt like I should focus on my studies. With that said, I have finally found a little time between everything for me to try to get back in the swing of things and schedule some posts ahead of time. Without further ado, let's get on with the review!

Marissa Meyer is one of the greatest fairytale retelling writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading from. The Lunar Chronicles is one of the most enjoyable series I've read and sets her writing really high up on my radar. When I heard she was coming out with another fairytale retelling, I was immediately intrigued. After hearing it was a Queen of Hearts retelling, I was completely sold for the story. When I received an ARC of this from ALA, I was beyond thrilled. It was one of the happiest moments for me during that weekend. So getting started, Heartless was definitely a good book. The writing is just as amazing as TLC, just as intriguing and eloquent, but I felt that it was really slow at the beginning. Since this is an origin story, and an origin story that I'm sure not very many people are familiar with, it took a while for Marissa Meyer to set the story and develop the background. That is understandable. However, I was expecting so much more from this book, especially since it is a standalone.

The cast of characters in this book is so fun, diverse, and out of this world whacky. It's everything you could imagine from a retelling of the world of Wonderland. Catherine was a lovely main protagonist. She was interesting to read from, especially with the preconceived notion that the Queen of Hearts is of the most intolerable villains. Catherine is sweet, very much the character of a proper lady, and just a girl with a dream that seems unobtainable. She's honestly a blast to read from, especially when paired with Jest or the Mad Hatter (of course he's in it!). Jest was such a wonderful character. He's quirky and fun, brings adventure to the story, and honestly brings out the best in Cath. She opens up to him in a way you don't see when she's around other characters, which I find to be a wonderful feat. Together, I feel like they would have been able to happily rule Wonderland, but alas, we all know how the Queen of Hearts ends up. In addition to these two characters, the story is accompanied by the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat (my favorite character), who add so much more life to the story and connection to the classic story we all know.

Despite how slow I thought this story was moving, I was so impressed and captivated by the writing. No matter how unexciting the plot had gotten, Marissa Meyer was able to continuously draw me in with her writing - which is, as always, smooth and eloquent. Although I thought the story was dragging on at certain points, I can tell you that when it picks up you'll be absolutely involved in the magic and the adventure. I thought the baking aspects in this book were so much fun to read. It was also inspiring to have a character who was so set on achieving her dreams; that it was never an option to say no or give up. Also, the descriptions of the baked goods throughout this book made me so hungry, I completely wished I was in Wonderland during the duration of this story. Once the story started to pick up and pieces of the puzzle started to fall together, I thought the plot was ingeniously crafted, so you have to stick it out if you start to think "when does this pick up;" I promise it does.

In all, this was another hit produced by the lovely Marissa Meyer. While it was not my favorite, the potential for it to be someone else's favorite book of 2016 is definitely there. Heartless, underneath all its magic and baked delicacies has a moral worth learning. Do what makes you happy; don't take no for an answer. Go out and have the time of your life - learn to love and live, and be at peace with the world even for a moment. Cath was such a good main character. She had all the components of someone who was struggling to challenge the norm, but stay within reason, and that's what made this book so interesting. I will definitely pick Heartless up again at another time, if only just to immerse myself in the scent of lemon tarts and Wonderland courts one more time. I'm sure this is on everyone's TBR this fall and I can tell you that you will not regret picking this up. It is a perfect book for this season and I can't wait to see how you all like Heartless for yourselves.