I’d like to invite you to a tea party that you won’t forget and by tea party, I mean a book with tea and cake at the side. Heartless by Marissa Meyer is an origin story of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts.
In this story, she is Cath, a noble with a passion for baking and dreams of running her own bakery. But her parents won’t have none of that and keep throwing her into the King of Hearts’ arms. She meets Jest, the new and mysterious court joker, and finds herself falling for him. Now she has to choose her dreams or accept the dreams of others. It’s not a merry Wonderland.
I enjoyed this book. I love Cath’s journey to the dark side. It’s satisfyingly gradual and heartwrenching. The book explores her inner struggle against her insecure self and her parents. Her standing up to them pulled my heart strings and she does try to not back down. She wants her bakery and her other dreams to come true.
The book had a slow start but the food was the thing that anchored me during those first few pages – and also made me hungry.
The romance between Cath and Jest is a slow burn and intensifies the sexual tension between them. I felt that the book didn’t go into much of his backstory. I mean he’s from another land (at war) and that’s a reason why he’s in Hearts – I want to know more.
Some characters from the original classic appear. We get to see the White Rabbit, the Turtle, the Caterpillar, and Mad Hatter and understand why he’s the way he is – it’s sad and I wish that there was some solution to his fate and also a different side to the other characters because they’re the same as in the original.
The Jabberwock is an interesting character and I wish that they had a much bigger role, not lurking around or just appear in major scenes. I felt they were quite flat and not exactly threatening. In fact, the Three Sisters came off as the villains of the story.
Meyer manages to fuse traditional fantasy and the weirdness of Wonderland well. The only things that would’ve made it better are if some parts like Jest’s backstory were expanded, the story and characters diverted more away from the original, and yes, more cakes.
This has been part of the (Australian) Heartless blog tour. Please follow us participating bloggers throughout the month and December 🙂
Question to discuss: Do you believe that villains have a backstory? Should we take their side if we read about it?