Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book Review - Heatless 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.

When I first heard about this release months ago, my face lit up.  My grin matched Cheshire the cat's toothiest, and my eyes glinted like the Mad Hatter at one of his fantastic tea parties.  Every one of my childhood Wonderland-inspired fantasies danced in my mind.  Hands itching to get ahold Heartless as soon as possible, I pre-ordered it and waited with bated breath to finally, finally have this treasure in my life.

The idea of a prequel starring none other than the execution-happy Queen Of Hearts back when she was nothing but a hopeless romantic piqued my interest in a big way.  I am a sucker for villains with depth.  To get to follow Cath and see just how she went from the relatively happy daughter of a Marquess with dreams of opening a bakery to Mrs. "Off with his head!" herself was a pleasure, a rare bookish treat.  One I would highly recommend to any fan of Wonderland, fan of villainous backstories, or fan of just a really good book.

When we first meet Lady Catherine Pinkerton, she is baking lemon tarts for the King.  Her enthusiasm for crafting the most delightful of confections is instantly contagious, and it's difficult to reconcile the passionate young baker with the Evil Queen we know she is to become.  When she first meets Jest at a party, having just escaped the King's unwanted proposal with a well-timed distraction, it's easy to fall for his charms right along with her.  Especially when he takes her to a tea party hosted by a certain maker of marvelous hats.  Even knowing the inevitable outcome, I was still hoping against hope for a happy ending for these two.

What I love most about Heartless is how gradual and believable Cath's transition really is.  Before long, we start seeing small nuggets of her self-centered nature.  Even while people are being hurt - often directly though unintentionally because of her - she spares no more than a few moments' sympathy and remorse before going right back to daydreaming about her elusive future with Jest and the even more elusive bakery with her maid, Mary Ann.  For the most part, those self-centered moments are easy to ignore, easy to chalk up to her nobility and circumstance.  A few times, however, you just want to shake some sense and compassion into her, and these rare instances do a fantastic job of showing readers how she could ever go from a young woman in love to a bitter, wrathful Queen.  Her whirlwind romance with Jest even amid the King's courting - attention which Cath deserately does not want, but which she fears to discourage - is delightful and whimsical, at least in the first half of the novel.  While it admittedly drags a bit toward the middle, the writing never feels forced or rushed, and I appreciate that greatly.

Heartless' last quarter, though, is where it truly shines.  Things go from whimsical with a splash of danger to dangerous with a splash of creepy.  New Wonderland creatures are introduced.  The tone steadily darkens.  We witness firsthand how a slightly self-centered but overall harmless girl becomes an evil Queen, and almost can't fault her for it.  The novel's very last line is so perfect and fitting, it sent chills up my spine.

After reading and adoring Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, and now having had the same satisfying experience with her stand alone Heartless, I'm in awe at the creativity of her writing.  Meyer manages to take established, beloved fairy tales and make them her own.  She makes us feel for characters we never would have thought to sympathize with.  She crafts unique stories within age-old worlds, and gives her readers a breathless whirlwind of an adventure with each and every new book.  It's safe to say I'll be buying whatever she releases in the coming years.

4 of 5 Stars


  1. Ive yet to read the Lunar Chronicles, but I really want to give this one a try. Its been years since I read anything by Marissa Meyer. Great review.

    1. Lunar Chronicles is seriously so good. I was a bit skeptical of the idea of a cyborg Cinderella. It could have gone so wrong. But Meyer didn't disappoint.


  2. Wonderful review! I keep meaning to finally get around to reading Meyer, but I keep getting sidetracked with other books :) I'll definitely make her a priority for 2017.

    1. She's probably the best at writing retellings that I've read so far. I can't wait to see what you think of her! :D

  3. I've not read any book my Marissa Meyer! *goes hides in a corner* The Lunar Chronicles along with Heartless are on top of my TBR for 2017. I personally love retellings and so I think i'll enjoy her books :) Great review and beautiful blog!


    1. That just means you still get to experience her books for the first time lol.

      Thanks, Uma! :D


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