Published by Feiwel & Friendson November 8th 2016
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
Marissa Meyer is a talented story teller. It’s hard to image the transformation of sweet Catherine, who is looking to fall in love and start her own bakery with her best friend, become the short-tempered, wild Queen of Hearts we all know. Meyer’s retellings are so popular because she knows how to balance old with new.
The Wonderland setting remains just as wonderful and whimsical as Carroll’s, readers will easily find themselves in this world (even if they are not familiar with the original source material). Meyer easily executes the dialogue, the old characters (with some new spice) and even the romance. Even for me, who tends to not enjoy the romance or relationship aspect of a majority of young adult literature! Meyer definitely plays into certain tropes (Jest’s secret, the semi-love triangle) but works to them to her advantage.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this story was the transformation of Catherine to Queen of Hearts. In the end I wanted things to work out in Catherine’s favor, but fate was unavoidable (or perhaps it was, had she been a bit more selfish). When you know the ultimate ending to a story it’s hard to image the beginning, but Meyer had me wishing things weren’t so inevitable.
Overall, Meyer’s Heartless is magnificent. She gets the balance just right.