Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.
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 favourite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. 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.
Marissa Meyer has the market cornered when it comes to reinventing pre-existing lores and tales. Her Lunar Chronicles series trailblazed the way for half a decade’s worth of YA fairy tale retelling, its presence is ubiquitous on any retelling list you dig up on the Internet. With Heartless, Meyer cements her status as an ingenious storyteller, breathing new life into iconic characters we thought we knew.
First up, I have to come clear – many I often find that retelling of Alice in Wonderland failed to resonate with me. It’s so difficult to capture the charm of Lewis Caroll’s original work while putting a new spin on a well-loved tale. Fortunately, the writing in Heartless absolutely shined. I could feel the joy and delight the author must have felt with every sentence. Meyer’s proses were especially bold and exuberant in Heartless, especially when compared to her previous works – subtly adapting to the idiosyncrasies of Wonderland. I especially loved Meyer’s take on riddles and word plays in this book, which was an excellent homage to the original materials.
Aside from her ability to capture the spirit of Wonderland, the writing in Heartless is a cut above anything Marissa Meyer has written in the past. Admittedly, I have only read the first two novels of The Lunar Chronicles, but I could see a marked progression in the author’s craft. I was especially taken in by her descriptions of Wonderland and the expansions she made to the pre-existing world. The depictions were arresting and vivid, I could smell every single tart, and see every details of each dress described.
Speaking of tarts, I have to warn you to stock your pantry up with all the pastries you can get your hands on before reading this novel. Catherine, our Queen of Hearts in training, is a talented baker – and her creations will make you drool. I made the mistake of beginning this novel on an empty stomach, and I still sorely regret it. The first few chapters were a veritable treat for the senses. Not only could I experience the beauty of Catherine’s creations, I felt the joy and pride she held in each pastry. It’s not often that we meet a heroine so ambitious and driven by her craft, so this aspect of the novel was an absolute delight.
Where Heartless faltered for me was in the chemistry between its characters, primarily between the two leads: Catherine and Jest. Their romance was understandable, as well as crucial, to the storyline and Catherine’s development. However, despite the page time these two had together, I could never get on board with their connection. I also felt that Catherine’s journey towards darkness was uneven in pacing – with a lot of the development taking place very rapidly towards the end of the novel. As the reader comes into this book well aware of its ending and Catherine’s eventual fate – I felt that more time should have been dedicated to this transformation.
Overall, this was a solid retelling of Alice in Wonderland – although I had some reservations regarding its characters. I would still recommend it to all, especially those who can’t get enough of the fairy tale retelling fever.
Interested to hear the thoughts of other Australian bloggers on Heartless? Check out the rest of the Australian Heartless Blog Tour.
18 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Heartless by Marissa Meyer Book Review”
I am very excited about this one. It is gorgeous and so full of promise! I hope I can make time soon. Love your review ❤
I was super dissapointed with the end of the Lunar Chronicles, but sounds like I should give Ms. Meyer a second chance. Lovely review boo! – Nat x
I have been eyeing this book for a while — the cover is gorgeous! I still haven’t read Meyer yet, but I’m definitely bumping this book up after reading your review. Thanks so much for sharing! (And for the hint about the pastries — winter’s a great time to break my diet, right? :P)
Absolutely excited about this book! 🙂 The graphic you’ve made is so beautiful ❤ :)Pastries! 😀 Going over to check out the previous blog tour spots!
This book is all over Twitter and I’m really curious about it! I hope I can read it soon!
I’m a big fan of fairytale retellings (Kate Forsyth’s are quite good outside of YA), so this one really appeals to me! I too only read the first two books of The Lunar Chronicles but would definitely be keen to see how Meyer’s style has evolved in this novel. Thanks for the lovely review as always Aentee 🙂
I’m so excited to pick this one up! I’ve heard some different viewpoints on this book and I can’t wait to see what I think of it as well – by the way you describe it, I think I’ll love it! Its a shame the romance relationship didn’t work quite well but I’m glad to see you enjoying the other parts of the book! Really great review! 🙂
As a fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, I knew I had to read Heartless, but this has sold me even more! There’s just something about Caroll’s writing that drew me in, and I’m glad that Heartless was a solid retelling of it! ❤
Oh gosh, I looove tarts so lots of baking will definitely make me hungry XD I will have to stock up on tarts prior to reading ^_^ Lovely review! So glad you enjoyed this book!
Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
I’m honestly not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland but I do want to read this one because its Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles is FAAAABULOUS. Great review!
Great Review! Lately, I’ve been hearing great things about this book! I think I really need to give this a shot. 😀
Wonderful review Aentee! You definitely nailed my thoughts of the book, the shuddering romance between Catherine and Jest and the quick pacing later on. I did love the food aspect of it though 🙂
I agree it’s not an easy task to capture the charm of Lewis Caroll’s world. It’s wonderful that Marissa Meyer managed to do so. Sorry to hear you found the romance lacking the chemistry. You are not the first reviewer to mention this. I’m afraid it would be a big issue for me as a romance reader. I still haven’t read Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series. It looks that I probably should start with it rather than with her latest release.
PS. You should never read books dealing with food on an empty stomach. Lol.
Heartless is one the best books I read recently! I am already in love with Ms Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and I just had to give this book a try ASAP and I so was not disappointed. Loved your review!
I loved loved loved Heartless and the recipes just got me drooling. But loved the story just the same. Awesome review!
Did I already leave a comment?
I agree with much of what you said, especially the bit about her journey to darkness being too rapid. That was the main thing that bothered me, too. I wish it had gotten more page time. *le sigh* It still made a strong impression on me, though!