Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
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.
Oh, how excited I was when I heard that Marissa Meyer was coming out with a new book. I adore her Lunar Chronicles, so I was certain I would love whatever she wrote. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed with Heartless. The writing was still just as lovely as her other books, but the story, characters, and world fell completely flat for me.
The characters were…fine. I didn’t really hate them, but I didn’t care for them at all. Cath and Jest had some major instalove going on that completely turned me off from both of them as characters and from their relationship. Cath’s parents were absolutely ridiculous. They pushed their daughter towards a marriage that they knew she would be unhappy in. Then, once Cath had completely changed for the worst, they were suddenly concerned about her happiness. A little too late, folks. Honestly, the only character I really liked was the King, and I’m pretty sure he’s the one character you aren’t supposed to like. Oh well.
The one thing that bothered me the most about Heartless was the world. I literally felt like I was reading a book set in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. It was such a disappointment because I know what kind of retellings Marissa Meyer is capable of. But with Heartless, it felt like she just plopped her story into a world that already existed. The white rabbit was really a white rabbit who was concerned with the time, the caterpillar was an actual caterpillar smoking hookah. They even played croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos. I kept hoping that she would make SOMETHING about the world unique, but it never happened. And that bothered me a lot. I found it interesting that Meyer even mentioned in her Author’s Note that she was “abusing the work” of multiple authors with Heartless. That’s really what it felt like to me – taking something that has already been written and trying to pass it off as something new.
Ultimately, the writing really saved this book for me. It is the only reason that I gave it 2.5 stars. I didn’t like the characters, I really didn’t like the world, and I thought the plot wasn’t anything special either. I will still read whatever Marissa Meyer writes because I know what she can create. But unfortunately, Heartless was a total miss for me.
When you are let down by a beloved author…..
…..blame it on the books.