Read on: 04/01/2017
Rating: ★★★★ 4.4/5
Release Date: 09/02/2017 (UK)
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
*I got this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
“The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.”
Cath is the daughter of a Marquess in the magical land of Wonderland. A passionate baker, Cath is rather surprised to hear of the King’s intention to propose to her at the Royal Ball. Distressed, she runs from the palace, before King has the opportunity to do so, and comes across the royal Joker, who had intrigued her during his performance earlier that night. After the unexpected meeting, Cath returns home and wakes up the next day to the news of a Jabberwock attack moments after she’d ran from the palace. Heartless is the story of the Queen of Hearts before she became mad and hungry for revenge.
My knowledge of the world of Alice in Wonderland was not much before I read Alice by Christina Henry and Heartless, which probably contributed to my confusion as to who was Lady Pinkerton. Although I was thoroughly enjoying the story, there was something at the back of my mind preventing me from thinking this was a great retelling. It was my own fault that I was slow to connect the dots when the hints were there staring me in the face. As soon as I realised Cath was indeed the Queen of Hearts, everything made much more sense to me and I was able to enjoy the rest of the book peacefully.
Cath is definitely a complex character, very three-dimensional, but I do have one comment about her shift in character. It didn’t feel fluid at first, I felt that it was very sudden and could have been managed better. Other than that, the only other thing I can say is that the recurring repetition of how Cath was more than the other girls did annoy me.
I quite liked Jest and the idea that he came to Hearts to get the heart of the Queen. The irony of how things unfolded was quite painful to deal with as the story progressed. I have no idea if Jest even existed in the original story but he was one of my favourite characters in the book.
I found it odd that the Caterpillar had such an insignificant role in the story. Having watched the animated Disney movie and the live action directed by Tim Burton, the Caterpillar seemed to have a stronger role in the story than it did in Heartless. I can’t say it bothered me a lot, as I’m as big a fan of the original story, but I did notice that detail.
Heartless might be disappointing to those who love Caroll’s work very dearly, as retellings usually are, but to someone who hasn’t, myself included, it was quite enjoyable and engaging. Yet again, Marissa Meyer made us care and even relate to a villainous character and even root for her.