by Marissa Meyer
First sentence: “Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some kissing. And it’s length might turn some readers off. It’ll be in the YA (grades 6-8) section of the bookstore.
All Cath wants to do is bake amazing sweets. It’s something she’s good at, it’s something she enjoys, it’s what makes her happy. She has dreams of opening up a bakery, of selling her goods to everyone in the Kingdom of Hearts. But she’s the daughter of the Marquis of Rock Turtle Cove, and her business partner is her maid, and she’s attracted the attention of the King, and, well, it just isn’t Done.
And then she meets Jest. Dark, brooding, handsome, and the court joker. Not someone she should be paying attention to. And yet, she’s attracted to everything about him. His sense of whimsy, his magic. It’s all… impossible.
And because this is Wonderland, fate has something else entirely in mind for Cath.
This book is to Alice in Wonderland as Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz. Its the backstory of not only the Queen of Hearts, but many of the characters in Alice. In fact, the better you know Alice in Wonderland, the more fun Heartless is. It’s clever the way Meyer weaves in the original story (and Through the Looking Glass as well!) and gives us a wholly new story as well. I liked Cath as a character, I liked that she had a dream and a plan to have a happy life. And yet, she wants to please those people she cares about. And she gets put into an increasingly tight situation. Which leads to heartbreak and some less than ideal choices.
I found it fascinating. I enjoyed the way Meyer played with the original. I liked the chemistry between Cath and Jest. Where it kind of fell apart was the dark ending. It had to be that way — it’s the backstory about the Queen of Hearts, after all — but it kind of came out of left field for me. That said, it wasn’t enough to completely throw my enjoyment of the book. It was a good story, complete, and one that is definitely is worth spending time on.