Author: Marissa Meyer
Date Started: November 21
Date Finished: November 25
Format: Hardcover from my own shelf
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.
I won’t lie, this book was one of my top five most anticipated reads for this year. Marissa Meyer and Wonderland? I was sold even before I knew what it really was going to be about. As the details of it came out, I was really excited for it. I always wondered how the Queen of Hearts became the Queen of Hearts. But I might have gotten too excited for it. The first sign should have been when I saw the reviews on Goodreads, there were a lot of negative reviews. But when have I ever listened to these people? I plowed ahead.
And wished that I had stayed away from this particular rabbit hole. In some respects, I wish that Heartless had been the first of a series, maybe if it had been Meyer would have had more time to really flesh out her world of Wonderland and the characters that played in it. But because it wasn’t a series and is a standalone, there was a lot of rushed out details and backstories. And within the first fifty pages, you get thrown almost everything that Wonderland has to offer. The King of Hearts – who should have been the real court joker, if we’re being honest – and his court of stuck up, pretenders and some of them aren’t even human. The Knave of Hearts who has it in for Catherine, but there really isn’t a reason why. The Jabberwock. The game of croquet – flamingoes and hedgehogs included.
Catherine’s parents are a trip. Catherine’s mother reminds me a lot of Cora from Once Upon a Time, where she is forcing her daughter into a marriage that she doesn’t want. Her father, on the other hand…well, he’s actually quite confusing. He seems to be very bashful and naive, but when things start getting interesting and where Catherine needs a reliable shoulder, he turns into a domineering father. As for our heroine herself…well… *rubs temples* At first I really admired her, she likes to bake and wants to open up her own bakery with the help of her best friend – her maid Mary Ann – because she doesn’t want to meet her mother’s high standards. But then…well, she becomes very annoying very quickly. She bakes a lot – which made me hungry for sweets – she tries to avoid the King so he won’t propose and falls into the arms of the court joker – Jest. And then really it becomes all about him. Don’t get me wrong, Jest did have his appeal, but she jumped into the relationship way too soon.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Okay, if I’m so disappointed with this book, why is it getting a three-star rating? Well, because I have read worse this year, and maybe if my expectations weren’t so high I might have actually enjoyed this, but alas. It was almost too much like Maleficient for my liking. Only we don’t get to see Catherine redeemed. We get to see her fester in her revenge.
Bookshelf worthy? I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but make like the White Rabbit and hop very far away.