Book Review: Heartless

Heartless
Author:
Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: 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 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.


FYI: while I try not to say spoilers out right, this review could be viewed as mildly spoilery.

Heartless is a beautifully written origin story for the Queen of Hearts. Knowing what we know of the Queen of Hearts, we can surmise that this doesn’t end well. While I was anticipating some good heartbreak, I found myself oddly unfeeling at the tragic plot twist. But that disappointment in not shedding a tear (I like it when books make me cry), did not overshadow the brilliant and often scrumptious writing.

Cath is a nobleman’s daughter with dreams of opening her own bakery with her maid and friend, Mary Ann. Cath is…not my favorite character. At least not until the end when she evolves into the Queen of Hearts (don’t @ me, that isn’t a spoiler). Cath is wishy-washy and reminds me of those rich girls whose lives are just so terrible, even though they have all the money and boys in the world. I don’t know what it says about me that I only liked her when she became a full on, hardcore B. I will say that she does have a lot of terrible people in her life *glares in the general direction of Cath’s parents*, but homegirl just needed to grow up, drop that toxicity, and do what she needed to do to make herself happy. Also, maybe heed creepy prophecies given by creepy little girls.

Just as Cath is about to get betrothed the wimpy King of Hearts, she meets Jest and suddenly she wants more than just a bakery in her life. Jest is mysterious and snarky and all things I love in a book boyfriend. His backstory is really interesting and I love what we find out about his life. And while I really liked him, I just didn’t feel much for him. His courtship with Cath was tortured, which I love, but Cath’s inability to make a damn decision for herself kinda killed it for me, so I was never able to get fully invested in their relationship.

I absolutely loved all the side characters. Heck, I was more emotionally impacted by a early death of a side character than I was for the big tragic twist. Hatta is sheer perfection. His descent into madness and the reveal of his hidden feelings were the hardest thing for me. I was endlessly fascinated by the different creatures and characters of Hearts, from the flamingo croquet mallets to the cards. Everything was so perfectly whimsical.

Even through all my disconnects with Cath and the tragic plot twists, I will say that the writing in this book was stellar. I am fully surprised that I didn’t gain weight while reading this because I constantly wanted to eat desserts every time Cath baked. I don’t know much about Lewis Carroll’s original story of Wonderland, but I’ve gathered from other readers that this novel was respective of, but built more on, the original Wonderland. Based on Meyer’s writing in Heartless, I am now even more excited about starting her Lunar Chronicles series.

Heartless is a damn fine book and I can see why so many of my friends recommended it to me when I asked for tragic book recommendations. But looking back, I was walking myself straight into the trap of hype. I think because I guessed how things would end, I never let myself get too invested in the romance, and that left me feeling…well, heartless.

I buddy read this with the awesome Sabreena @ Books and Prosecco, who also posted her review of Heartless today. Her reviews are always amazing and well written, so I recommend checking it out!

Beat the Backlist 2019

I have spoken many times about the amount of unread books I own. Frankly, the number of unread books I own is shameful. Enter Beat the Backlist, hosted by NovelKnight. Go check out her blog for all the official info about the challenge, but I’ll sum it up for you…

Basically, read your damn (pre-2019) books!

Me to me…

So, without further ado or abuse of gif posting ability, here is the beginning of my Beat the Backlist TBR for 2019:

  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • The Seven Realms and Shatter Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The final three books in the Jackaby Series by William Ritter
  • The Confectioner’s Coup and The Confectioner’s Truth by Claire Luana
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series by Brian Stavely
  • Hunting Prince Dracula and Escape from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
  • Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
  • Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

That’s just the beginning, mind you. On January 1st I will be taking an inventory of my current owned books and making a full blown list of books I plan to read in 2019. I really need to get my ratio of read to unread books in better shape. I will be setting my Goodreads challenge to 100, so I am aiming high next year.

Anyone else doing the Beat the Backlist challenge? And if yes, are you participating in the Hogwarts Houses? And if yes, what house are you in? Just wrapping up with a few rapid fire questions…

Happy New Year’s Eve eve! Cheers to many hours of reading in the new year!