Format: Hardcover, 449 pages
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings
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.
Author Marissa Meyer, best known for her Lunar Chronicles series, takes on one of the more iconic villains of all time. The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Before she became the monarch who is best known for saying, "Off with their heads!" Lady Catherine Pinkerton dreamed of being the best baker in the Kingdom of Hearts. Catherine was so good at baking, that she caught the eye of the King of Hearts as well as others such as the Knave of Hearts. Catherine also had a curious ability to dream about something, and have it appear in real life.
There have been numerous recreations that have featured Alice, Cheshire, the Mad Hatter, and others. Meyer does a brilliant job of leading Lady Catherine from wannabe baker, into the Queen who turned her Kingdom upside down. You really have to feel the emotions that Meyer puts her character through. She's basically has her heart set on pushing ahead with her best friend Mary Ann in opening a bakery. One could say that life throws you curveballs more times than it gives you breaks. Cath's curveball just happened to be her parents who pushed her into a loveless marriage to the King of Hearts.
Cath has her own romantic interest in Jest, the Court Joker who brings a whole new side to her character. She has her own hopes and dreams. Even after being forced into wearing a bright red dress to a black and white ball, Cath would rather not have anything to do with her parents attempts at pushing her into marriage. From a wild tea party with Jest, to an unforgivable twist that will break readers hearts to pieces, Cath slowly realizes that things cannot be the way she wants them to be. Cath's relationship with her parents is one that I wouldn't want to wish on anyone.
All villains have a back story. They don't just come out of the womb ready to behead everyone who sneezes the wrong way. I believe that all good stories are the ones that search for reasons why good people turn towards the darkness. Most of us know the story of Anakin Skywalker who later became Darth Vader. We can even add Disney's Maleficent, who was good, until she was pushed to her breaking point and became a villain. Alice in Wonderland has been a cult classic for generations because of Alice's confrontation with the Queen of Hearts.
In closing, Heartless is a story that will keep readers entertained from the first page until the story comes to a breath taking conclusion. Meyer's definitely has her own world building and style when it comes to retellings.