Thursday 9 February 2017

Review on Heartless

All Catherine Pinkerton wants is to open her own bakery with her best friend, Mary Anne. However, Catherine is the daughter of the Marquess, and soon discovers the King of Hearts is planning to propose to her. Hen she leaves the King's ball early, she runs into Jest, the court joker. Cath soon develops feelings for Jest, and with the help of Hatta and Raven, Cath decides she must leave Hearts forever. However, the once mythical Jabberwock is terrorising Hearts, putting her friends in danger. Cath must make a difficult choice, but will it be the right one? 

 I have always adored Alice in Wonderland, so I was excited when I found out what Heartless was all about. Rather than following Alice, this story takes place long before Alice arrived in Wonderland, when the ruthless Queen of Hearts was just a teenager. Not a lot is known about the Queen of Hearts from Carroll's work, so I loved seeing Marissa Meyer's interpretation of what she was like before she became Alice's antagonist.

We all know how the Queen of Hearts' story ends, but ho did it begin? Well according to Marissa Meyer, it started with a sweet girl named Catherine Pinkerton who wanted to open a bakery. I initially loved Cath, and a part of me hoped she would get her bakery, marry Jest and live happily ever after. But of course, we already know Cath's fate, so I was apprehensive right from the start! Knowing something bad was going to happen to change Cath's whole personality but having no idea what that would be created a brilliantly suspenseful atmosphere, and I was constantly anticipating the moment something would trigger that changing point.

Wonderland is one of my favourite fictional worlds, and I loved Marissa's interpretation of it. Although it wasn't quite as weird and wacky as Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, it still felt magical. I loved Cath's interactions with her surroundings, and I loved how some recognisable things were thrown in, such as the rabbit hole and playing croquet. I also loved how things from both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass were both incorporated into the one story.

One of the things that I loved most about this book were the characters! I loved seeing the characters we all know and love from Carroll's work, which included The Hatter, the March Hare, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle and the Jabberwock. The interpretation of these characters was fantastic, and it was very believable that they would eventually become the characters who help Alice on her adventures. However I was a little confused over the characters who weren't from Carroll's works, such as Peter Peter and Raven, who seemed to be the same raven as the one in Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem.

Along with the characters who we have already come to know, there was also a few original characters, the main one being Jest, the court joker. I adored Jest from the start, and my initial reaction was that he seemed to be a little like an anime character, which only made me love him more. I loved Jest's physical description, and I was easily able to create a mental picture of what he looked like. I initially found him witty and funny, as a joker should be, but I was a little disappointed that this didn't end up being a fundamental personality trait. Although we find out that there is a lot more to Jest than being a joker, he is appointed as the court joker by the King, and although his tricks are quite impressive, I didn't find him to be very funny overall.

Although I loved Jest as a character, the one thing that I wasn't too bothered about was the romance between him and Cath. In hindsight, I realise why their romance was crucial to the plot, but as it developed, I didn't think they had enough chemistry to make me care too much. I felt as if their relationship was too cheesy, and a little cliché, especially with Cath having seen Jest in a dream before meeting him, and sneaking out her window in the middle of the night to be with him. I feel as if “forbidden love” is overdone, and Cath's initial reaction to Jest was a little too close to instalove.

One thing that I was a little disappointed in was that the characters never travelled to Chess, the land that Jest, Raven and Hatta are from. There is talk of a war that has been going on for years, which Jest never really elaborated on. I would have loved if they had actually entered Chess, even if it was very briefly.

I found the first three quarters of the book to be a little slow, as it focused on Cath's romance with Jest, her courtship with the King of Hearts, and her dream of opening a bakery. I wasn't finding it as wonderful and magical as I was hoping it would be. Although I enjoyed the story-line involving the Jabberwock, I still felt as if this story-line was a little overdone, particularly with the Tim Burton movie having already covered this. I would probably be giving the book three stars if it wasn't for the last 100 pages, which I loved! I adored the plot twists, as they were completely unexpected, and was shocked over what triggered Cath's change. I felt as if the majority of the book lacked action, but I practically raced through the last 100 pages, and wished I was able to enjoy the whole book that much, as it would easily have earned a five star rating if that had been the case!

Although I found it to be a little too slow, I still really enjoyed this book. As was expected, the book did not have a happy ending, and I think that it may have managed to shatter my own heart! This was overall a very clever and well thought out origin story, and I loved how it gave explanations for the small things, including where the White Rabbit got his pocket watch, and why the white roses are painted red. I think any Lewis Carroll fan would enjoy this book!

Heartless is now available to purchase!

   | Amazon Book Depository 


  1. Great review! I've just received this book for review, so I can't wait to start it! I love retellings, and despite the mixed reviews, I'm excited to start it :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

    1. Thank you!! It was just a little too slow for me but I couldn't put it down for the last 100 pages so it was difficult for me to rate this one. Looking forward to seeing what you think! 😬😬