Marissa Meyer's Heartless Blog Tour! Review & Excerpt

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Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 464
Source: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
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Overall: 5 STARS

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland―the infamous Queen of Hearts―she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. 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 an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I am struggling to find the words to describe my love for Marissa Meyer's Heartless. Magical and passionate. Wondrously absurd and delightful. Heartbreaking and tragic. A gorgeous fantasy that feels both familiar and new. Heartless is a prequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that I never knew I absolutely needed in my life.

I've read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a few times, but it is one of those classic tales that's never really connected to me. Alice was annoying. And the dialogue always seemed to go around in circles. It was kind of maddening. But I've always remembered the infamous Queen of Hearts, who terrified her subjects and loved to cry, "Off with their heads!" And with Heartless, we finally get her origin story.

Before she became the Queen of Hearts, Lady Catherine Pinkerton was simply a girl who loved to bake and dreamed of touching the hearts of everyone in her kingdom with her lovely confections. Tarts, cupcakes, pastries and cakes―Catherine loved to bake all kinds of mouthwatering desserts. And one day, she hoped to open a bakery with her best friend Mary Ann. But even when you're the daughter of a wealthy marquess, there are limits to your freedom.

The unmarried King of Hearts, forever jovial but certainly not very bright, has recently begun to favour Catherine as his intended bride. If Catherine had been any other girl, she'd be happy to receive the attentions of the king, but she's never wanted to be queen. As her overbearing mother pushes her to accept the king, Catherine instead finds herself drawn more and more to Jest, the new court Joker. Handsome and mysterious, Jest can make the impossible happen with his endless magical gifts. And he makes Catherine laugh.

But we all know how this story will end... and it won't be with a happily ever after. Catherine is destined to become the Queen of Hearts, after all. And it was with this thought in mind that I absolutely dreaded reading the final half of the book. What would be Catherine's breaking point? How did a girl filled with such wonderful dreams become so... heartless?

Marissa Meyer's Heartless is an unforgettable prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that may just break your heart. But before we start crying, you'll fall in love with the whimsy and magic that is Wonderland and its very odd inhabitants. You'll recognize Cheshire and the Mad Hatter and the court made up of playing cards. And we can't be in Wonderland without some kind of tea party. Yet for all its familiarity and nods to the classic, Heartless very much still has that Marissa Meyer touch I loved in her Lunar Chronicles series.

I may not love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but I sure loved Heartless. 


     Behind a counter, Mr. Caterpillar, the cobbler, was perched on a stool and smoking from a large hookah. He blinked sleepily at Cath and Mary Ann as they made their way through the mess. A pair of leather-soled boots sat on the counter in front of him, and though he seemed more interested in the pipe than the shoes, Cath busied herself by giving the space a closer inspection, not wanting to interrupt his work.
     In her mind, she cleared away the cobbler’s shop from this dingy little space. She imagined the walls painted in candy stripes of cream and turquoise, and the window hung with breezy peach-sorbet curtains. Three small cafe tables waited by the entrance, each with a sprig of yellow posies in a milk-glass vase. The stained and musty carpet was replaced with waxed marble tiles, and the cobbler’s old wooden counter would be exchanged for a glass case overflowing with cakes and gingerbreads, pies and strudels and chocolate-filled croissants. The back wall would be hung with baskets, each stuffed with fresh-baked bread. She saw herself behind the case, wearing a pink-checkered apron still dusted with that morning’s flour. She was filling a jar with biscotti while Mary Ann, in matching yellow checkers, wrapped up a dozen shortbread cookies in a lime-green box.

     Cath took in a long breath, then promptly started choking on the hookah smoke that filled her lungs, when she had been expecting spices and the chocolate and the steaming, yeasty buns. She covered her mouth, trying to muffle the coughing fit as well as she could, and turned back to the cobbler.

     He was staring at her and Mary Ann. He had not touched the boots on the counter, though coming closer she could see that he was wearing an assortment of shoes himself—all different styles of boots and slippers taking up his many small feet.

     “Who,” he said lazily, “are you?”

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