Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Heartless by Marissa Meyer.
Heartless is a captivating tale of love, loss and friendship. It follows the life of a young girl named Catherine, who falls in love with the wrong boy, with devastating consequences for them both. Meyer does a truly marvelous job of providing a fresh spin on Wonderland and offering readers a first time look at who the Queen of Hearts used to be.
The romance in Heartless was, quite frankly, to die for. Catherine and Jest’s attraction was absolutely undeniable, and the chemistry between them was incredibly organic and natural… I’m sure you’ll agree that in some books the couples are forced together ‘to improve the plot’ but this certainly wasn’t the case here; I found myself rooting for them to be together despite all the overwhelming odds stacked against them. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic.
Obviously Catherine and Jest were the main focus of the book, and I felt this was a very wise decision on Meyer’s part. The scenes between them were simply too adorable not to love (take the Tea Party, for example, or the moments after Catherine’s injury) and I found myself longing for my very own Jest. I mean, can you blame me?
The tension between the two also mustn’t be ignored. With the king’s infatuation with Catherine, Catherine’s impossible family and Jest’s job for the aforementioned king, they certainly had their fair share of obstacles to overcome. As the book went on I found myself feeling more and more sorry for poor Jest and the impossible situation he was forced into.
Of course, the beloved characters from Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland also made an appearance, which I truly loved. The most prominent example is, of course, the Cheshire Cat, Catherine’s cheeky and gossipy companion, although we also get reintroduced to numerous other characters in the previously mentioned Tea Party scene, for instance the Hatter, who becomes one of the main characters. I found Meyer’s take on his madness really interesting and the fact that we got to see some of his bizarre hats was just another bonus!
Despite this, there were also a fair few new characters, the main ones being Catherine’s seemingly well-meaning parents (who didn’t really care about what would actually make their daughter happy) and her maid and friend, Mary Ann. I loved Catherine and Mary Ann’s friendship, particularly their shared dream of opening up a bakery together, which was a major part of the book (at least in the first half), and she seemed to be the only one who slightly understood what Catherine wanted.
I also loved the mystery of the jabberwock (a mythical creature which emerges again, terrorising the kingdom), which added suspense to the plot and provided an opportunity for Catherine to prove herself and her strength. Meyer really exemplified how brave and determined girls can be, and I loved that Catherine was the one to step up to challenge rather than one of the men, which can sometimes be the case in more traditional and outdated books.
I know I mentioned earlier how much I pitied poor Jest, but I haven’t really touched upon how much some of Catherine’s actions annoyed me. The fact that she led both the king and Jest on certainly didn’t sit well with me, especially when she knew she wasn’t in love with the king. There were definitely points where I wanted to throw the book across the room and scream at her to “Just dump the king, already!” but deep down I knew that the overwhelming pressure from her family (which is, of course, to be expected from the time) would’ve made that near impossible… I’d like to think I’d have the courage to follow my heart, but of course I don’t truly know what I’d do in her situation.
Overall, I would recommend Heartless to anyone looking for a beautiful retelling of a timeless classic, and, of course, anyone with a passion for fantasy. This book was truly a masterpiece and I don’t think I’m ever going to stop singing its praises (even if the ending did destroy me…).
I hope you enjoyed this review!