Monday, 19 December 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Release Date: 8th November 2016
Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.

I picked up Heartless for a couple of reasons. The first is that I've recently read, and really enjoyed, Cinder, and so knew that I liked Meyer's writing style. The other reason is that I've read a couple of great reviews from bloggers that I trust, and that always propels a book to the top of my to-read list! 

However, it is worth noting that I am completely indifferent about Alice in Wonderland, I've read both the books, at some point at least, I don't remember exactly when. And have nothing against it, I just don't love it, if that makes sense. This is despite two things (1) the city I spent the first 11 years of my life in had some pretty amazing Alice in Wonderland carvings in the Cathedral (Click here for the google image search! ) and Lewis Carrol having a home there. (2) for the Brownie Guide 100 Years celebration we through an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party, I even dressed up as the Cheshire Cat! 

So baring in mind that I'm not Alice's biggest fan, Heartless had some overcoming to do. However, so many times during the story I just couldn't help but think how fantastically Meyer managed to capture Wonderland. I felt that she managed to tell her own story, at the same time as remaining faithful to the original, and that feels like no mean feat!

Now, Catherine. I knew from the start that Meyer said she wasn't going to change the ending, which made me want to dislike Catherine (aka the future Queen of Hearts) from the start. However, she is just so likable. Sure, she made some bad choices, but she made some good ones too. And Meyer did a good job of bringing her to the point where she is the Queen of Hearts we all know and loathe. Oh, on that note, the last words of the book; absolute perfection. I'd hoped that's what they were going to be, and was pleased to see I was right! 

Catherine and Jest's relationship was sweet, and kind of tragic. You know it's going to end badly, and yet from almost the moment they meet, you can feel yourself wanting it to end differently, and wanting their story to be the true one. It was actually quite difficult to read the final chapters, because tragic really is the way you'd have to describe it. 

The cast of side characters was brilliant too, with Heartless explaining how a lot of them, even minor ones like the pepper incident in one of the Alice books, came to be. I liked that this served as more than just Catherine's story. 

This was a good read, and I suspect that if I loved Alice in Wonderland then I'd be giving it 5 stars, so it's not really Heartless' fault that it hasn't got that!