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Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Source: Publisher Provided
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I received this book/movie for free from the above-listed publisher/studio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book/movie or the content of my review.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she 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.
I remember when I first picked up Cinder and thought, what is this? A newly minted fairytale re-telling that holds up on its own? WOW! It was new and refreshing. Well, I just had that same feeling when I finished the last page of Heartless . Most of us know the queen from the Disney cartoon or from the different movies and TV series that have brought the fairytale to us in a visual format. But, Marissa does the same thing with words. Her writing is so lovely and her characterizations are so beautifully written with nods to the original Lewis Carroll’s characters that you feel like you might know them already.
The entire world is presented to us so very visually that you do feel like you’re watching a movie unfold in front of your eyes. I loved that Cath was a baker, who wanted to please her parents. I loved that the setting was a Regency London and that magic realism played a part in the story. The idea of people dreaming things to life is so fantastical and such a tribute to the original Alice stories. Marissa indulges us with lush description of costumes and delicious treats. In fact, the way the world was presented worked for me because it was whimsical, layered and beautifully described.
But, what really worked for me was the characters. I know this is of no surprise to you who’ve read my reviews before. I am a very character driven reader, and I love nothing more than a villain’s back story. Why was the Red Queen so evil? Did she ever love anyone? These questions are all answered in Heartless. Cath is a character who wants to against the expected norms, but in society at that time, women’s roles were strictly defined. Ultimately, the choices Cath makes begin to define her into the character we all recognize.
Marissa has done a wonderful job bringing Cath to life. There’s an inevitable melancholy in knowing how the character will turn out. The last 75 pages were tension-filled and featured some of Marissa’s best writing to date. I love that Heartless is a standalone, but at the same time, I’m a little sad that it is. I know, I know, I’m the first one to usually claim series fatigue. But in this case, I want to see more of Marissa’s world.
Heartless is released on November 8th. This is one book you should add to your TBR immediately. And for those of us who are huge fans of The Lunar Chronicles, this will be a delightful departure from that world and into another world of Marissa’s creation. Pick up a lemon pastry, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this re-imagining of a familiar tale.