Review – Heartless, Marissa Meyer

Goodreads summary:


Now here is a book for which there has been a lot of hype. I think I was getting advertisements for it from about November until I finally succumbed and bought the damned thing.

There has also been a lot of buzz surrounding this book, wondering if it has truly lived up to the hype. I love an evil origin story, I have a soft spot for Alice in Wonderland, and I really enjoyed Cinder when I read it however many moons ago (I will get to the other two books in the Lunar Chronicles at some point I promise) so all in all I was feeling fairly interested to see how Meyer’s latest book turned out.

If you want to read my initial thoughts on what this might  have been I suggest you check out my Want-to-Read Wednesdays post about it. But lets see how right/wrong I was.

A lot of the criticism from people has been the familiar pitfall of ‘insta-love’ in the book which people argue is unrealistic or pointless. Which I agree it often is in YA fantasy (or YA in general). However, in my humble opinion, to complain about the romance plot being fantastical in this particular book would be a bit like complaining about getting eaten by a lion when you went to ‘being eaten by a lion’ camp (I’m not saying my analogies are perfect) because at the end of the day it’s right there on the cover.

Before she was the QUEEN of HEARTS she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

The cover is also covered with shiny hearts and the ‘A’ in Heartless is an upside-down heart. Were we ever going to get anything more than love as a motivator for this origin story? I will agree that everything happens very quickly, but I think that adds to the general sense of how young Catherine (or Cath) is, often when adults read YA books we forget what it is like to ‘fall in love’ when you’re fifteen or sixteen and sometimes it is that chaotic, unrealistic and fantastical. So I could probably pick apart the entire love story, but I’m not going to.

I have read/watched/listened to Alice in Wonderland many a time and I think Meyer really did do her homework as far as characters are concerned. The host of standards were there of course, The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, The White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat, but there were also some additions which aren’t always remembered (largely due to the fact that they aren’t as prominent in the Disney film) including Mary Ann and The Mock Turtle. As a wonderland lover this added to my experience as I thought that Meyer’s way of winding these characters into the story was really effective.

One thing that I think could have been done better was the lack of whimsy. What really sticks out about Carroll’s original is that it could easily be the ravings of one as mad as the Hatter himself. It isn’t often that I find myself wanting a book to make less sense, but I felt like Meyer’s world had a bit too much logic, or explanations behind everything where some things in Carroll’s world simply are the (topsy-turvey) way they are because that is the essence of Wonderland.

In summation: I enjoyed reading this book, I think it would be even better were I a little younger (and perhaps a little less jaded) but the characters were well put together, the plot was engaging and didn’t lag at any point and who doesn’t love a story that largely revolves around baking?

My rating: 4 stars

Have you read Heartless? Do you agree/disagree with anything I’ve said? Let’s talk about this!

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