Ever wonder why the Queen of Hearts is so…heartless?

Lady Catherine Pinkerton is the heiress of Rock Turtle Cove and the apple of the King of Heart’s eye. Cath’s parents would like nothing more for their beautiful daughter than to see her crowned as queen above all other eligible maidens in Hearts – even against Cath’s own wishes. Catherine would like nothing more than to become a bakery, open her own bakery alongside her friend Mary Ann, and bake sweets for the people of Hearts.

During one of the King’s royal balls, Cath meets Jest, the King’s new mysterious court jester. Their relationship is unfamiliar at first as each tries to understand one another. Slowly, over the course of various encounters, they begin to build a romantic relationship, one they must keep hidden at all cost. To make matters worse, the kingdom of Hearts is being terrorized by a deadly Jabberwock and the King seems intent to ignore the threat.

Cath, no longer able to deny her feelings for Jest and wishing to escape Hearts, attempts to flee to Chess, the kingdom Jest was originally from. Things, however, do not go as hoped.

Heartless is Marissa Meyer’s origin story surrounding the infamous Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Already a master at retellings with her Lunar Chronicles series, Meyer crafts a masterful story detailing how seemingly villainous characters did not always start that way. Though a wonderful story full of delightful imaginary, I felt the story a little slow paced for my tastes. I also felt Jest’s backstory wasn’t explored as much as it could be. That might have been on purpose to keep the audience reading from Cath’s point of view in the dark as much as she was. I would like for a story from Jest’s point of view as a companion piece to satisfy my curiosity – even a short novella will do.

Overall, I did enjoy Heartless. I’m not usually one to read and root for the villain, but when an origin story is as well done as this one, I do not mind it so much.

My rating: 3.5/5


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