The Heartbreaking Past of a Ruthless Queen | Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: November 8th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, YA
Pages: 453
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—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.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


I was heartbroken to bits the moment I finished this book. No, heartbroken isn't enough to describe how I felt. I felt betrayal, sorrow, fury, and helplessness all rolled into one giant lump of unsorted emotions. No, it was not because the book was disappointing or anything like it, it was the opposite, but not quite.

We all know that this book is going to end in misery, don't we? Since the past of the cold-blooded Queen of Hearts we all know in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll must be one that did not contain happiness or else she would never become the way she was in his story. Still, Marissa Meyer was able to make me fall inside a rabbit hole, fall in love with her ludicrous and idiosyncratic characters, and then shred my heart into millions of pieces by the end of this book.

As you might know all already, Catherine was the future Queen of Hearts and she would inevitably become one no matter what you wished for or dreamt about (totally not a spoiler because we all know that this is the story of the Queen of Hearts' past, yes?). However, all she ever wanted was to open a bakery with her best friend and live a life as a normal and totally sane human being without any harsh expectations or the tight corsets that constantly restrained her from breathing normally. Not only that, she was also expected to marry the loony and clumsy (and totally unattractive) King of Hearts just because her parents wanted her to become Queen.

Then Cath met the new court joker and they went into a secret courtship, which was full of passion, romance, and pleasure. They fell in love with each other yet they knew that they were never meant to be. He was a mere court entertainer and she was going to be proposed by the King.

Cath was a girl full of hopes and dreams. She had passions and determinations to pursue what she wanted but nobody believed in her. They forced her to fit inside this role that they have prepared for her and expected her not to fight for her freedom, which, unfortunately...she didn't, most of the time.

This is a romance story, Y'all. 

Just in case you didn't know. What I didn't expect was that it was an instalove love story. Yep, you heard that right. I was intrigued at first because I was led to believe that there would be slow....burn...romance in this book just like in Marissa Meyer's other books *coughthelunarchroniclescough* but no. It was love at first sight no matter how you see it. At first, it made me skeptical because I loathed instalove with a passion. But then it got better because the writing made up for it. 

The writing made me feel like I was the one being lovestruck instead of reading about someone who was having the symptoms of lovesickness. 

It was just so...painful.  I earnestly felt my heart being torn apart and slammed to the ground whenever Cath and Jest were facing an obstacle (which they were facing quite a lot, honestly). I felt joy and fondness towards the two of them together. I was DYING for them to just TOUCH each other. When they finally kissed, oh man, I was so relieved and happy beyond compare that I felt like I was on drugs. Not only that, I also totally understood how it felt to be in Cath's position where she didn't have anyone supporting her to follow her dreams. It was devastating to know what you're capable of, yet never be able to unleash your full potential. All those talents, dreams, and hopes were crushed slowly and I felt how heartbroken she was. This ability to make my heart ache is something that I always look for in books, and this book succeeded in giving me that.

Besides that, I think this book lacked in some aspects. I remember feeling so bored and oftentimes yelled at Cath because of her stupid decisions. I yelled at other characters too because they were too annoying sometimes, but I guess that's part of their craziness. Also, if you're looking for some in-depth world-building like in the original Alice in Wonderland, sorry, you won't find them here. This book mostly consists of strolls in gardens, parties and balls, and then so many failed marriage proposals. 

The plot was too slow-paced and predictable for me. Like I said, I felt so bored at some points and was wondering when something that actually mattered would finally happen. Two-third of the book was full of Cath trying to avoid the King's marriage proposal and nothing else. The one-third was when something interesting but still slow-paced really happened. It was also VERY predictable. Cath made one stupid stupid stupid decision that I knew she was going to make no matter how hard I screamed for her to stop doing it.

I pondered on giving this book three stars or four stars but then decided on three and a half because of how it made me feel through most of it. It made me feel giddy, in love, heartbroken, devastated, and helpless. But it also made me feel bored at some points and disappointed of the portrayals of the Wonderland. It succeeded in making me understand why an innocent, brilliant, and talented girl could grow into a ruthless, tyrant, and heartless queen. But it failed in building an earlier version of Wonderland that I would love to wander and be lost in for days.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ . 5

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