Published November 8, 2016
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.I think we can all agree that Heartless is one of the most highly anticipated books of 2016 - after The Lunar Chronicles, so many of us were excited to see what Marissa Meyer would create next. I'll be honest, I've never read Alice in Wonderland, but I knew enough of the story to make me want to read this book and also to understand most of the references to the original text.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath 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. - from Goodreads
Cath may be nobility, but she has no desire to marry the King - she'd rather open a bakery with her best friend, Mary Ann. But when a new court joker appears in Hearts, Cath's world is turned upside-down. I loved the large cast of characters and how each has their own distinct personality, especially those characters that break the mold - a maid with a mind for business, a spineless king who doesn't have it in him to be a strong leader.
Meyer does a great job bringing Wonderland to life, by including all the details and characters that fans will know and love. I loved the touches of magic and whimsy throughout the book, although some things could have been explained more (like Cath's dreams that became realities). I also liked the idea of fate, since we all know who Cath becomes, and it was interesting to see the twists and turns of how she got there (although I did question some of her decisions near the end of the book).
However, something was missing for me. The book didn't feel fresh; it didn't have that spark I was looking for. I think I was kind of spoiled by The Lunar Chronicles, which were fantastic modern re-tellings, and I wrongly expected that Heartless would be similar in tone and writing style.