I went through a phase of buying Alice in Wonderland themed stuff last year – I blame it on Irregular Choice doing a collaboration with Disney shortly after we moved to Llandudno, the home of Alice in Wonderland.
I bought multiple books based on the original story by Lewis Carroll, but the one I was most excited about was Heartless by Marissa Meyer.
One of my favourite series from last year was Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, a retelling of classic fairytales set in the future. It was so, so good, and I may reread them soon.
From the blurb:
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.
Lady Catherine Pinkerton is the daughter of a Marquess, and unbeknownst to her, favourite of the benevolent King of Hearts. Cath seems to have a bright future ahead of her as the Queen of Hearts, but alas she is not interested in the crown.
All Cath wants to do is bake cakes, and open her own shop, with her maid and bestfriend Mary Ann.
Unfortunately Cath’s protests to her parents fall on deaf ears, and they railroad her into accepting the King’s attentions.
Enter Jest, the sexy and mysterious new court Jester. Cath is instantly attracted to Jest, but it seens that fate is working against her…
Technically this is an origin story, but it borrows so much from the original story it may as well be a retelling, in my opinion. I got really annoyed with the lack of new ideas in this book.
Its safe to say that we know this will not turn out in Cath’s favour from the outset, as we know that she will become the Queen of Hearts.
Cath really irritated me – she seemed to have no convictions. If she wanted to be a baker she could have been one, she is a grown woman, and could have got a job working for someone else and saved up her money.
It seemed like Cath had the strength to carry out 75% of what she needed to do, enough to look like she was trying, but then folded like a cheap pack of card courtiers. And I’m sorry, but I thought Jest was a pain in the arse…
I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads, because it was mostly enjoyable, if a bit unnecessary as it didn’t really bring anything new to the table, and was entertaining with flashes of wit and whimsy. I was expecting to see more of Cath’s transition from sweet cake maker to evil bitch queen; we got 300 odd pages of flirting with Jest, uhming and ahing over her future, and Hatter’s* nonsense which was practically lifted straight from the original text, and then an abrubt personality change. I think maybe I just expected a lot because of the Lunar Chronicles.
The author included a note in the end explaining her motivation in writing this book, and that it is purely meant to entertain people.
Let me know what you thought of Heartless in the comments below.
*Notice I said Hatter, not Hatta. 😣