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Heartless Hardcover – November 8, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The author's best fantasy yet. In her inspired reimagining of Lewis Carroll's inimitable adventures in Wonderland, Meyer has explored the world that existed before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. All Lady Catherine wants to do is open her own bakery with the help of her maid. She has no wish to wear beautiful dresses or go to balls, and she certainly has no desire whatsoever to marry the good-natured, bumbling, childlike king. But that seems to be her fate until she meets the king's handsome and mysterious new joker, Jest. Although his mission is to steal Lady Catherine's heart and take it to the White Queen, who would use it to overcome the enemies of her realm, he falls in love with her instead. Employing all the best aspects of Carroll's book—the White Rabbit, croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos, suits of cards, and the Jabberwocky—Meyer has woven all the elements of darkness and light, fate and free will, and love and hatred into an unforgettable story of the evolution of the Red Queen from a young girl who dreamed of true love and freedom to a madwoman best remembered for the phrase Off with his head. VERDICT If you only read one fractured fairy tale this year, make it Heartless. A must-have title.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
#1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller!
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller!
"In Heartless, the nonsense that is Wonderland gets a reverential makeover, full of heart and its own idiosyncratic character."--Gregory Maguire, WICKED and AFTER ALICE
“What Gregory Maguire did for the Wicked Witch, Meyer does for Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts, tracing her arc from a teen with dreams of owning a bakery into a murderous madwoman.”―People magazine
"The author’s best fantasy yet. ...Meyer has woven all the elements of darkness and light, fate and free will, and love and hatred into an unforgettable story of the evolution of the Red Queen from a young girl who dreamed of true love and freedom to a madwoman best remembered for the phrase 'Off with his head.' If you only read one fractured fairy tale this year, make it Heartless. A must-have title.--School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series:
#1 New York Times Bestselling Series
USA Today Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
“A mash-up of fairy tales and science fiction . . . a crossbetween Cinderella, The Terminator,and Star Wars.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Prince Charming among the cyborgs.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Terrific.” ―LosAngeles Times
“A binge-reading treat.” ―MTV
“Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre.” ―The Seattle Times
“Epic . . . Breathtaking.” ―Teen Vogue
“Utterly thrilling.” ―PublishersWeekly
“Wonderfully addictive.” ―Buzzfeed
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Top Customer Reviews
Marissa Meyer describes everything so well that I believe that I am in Hearts myself. Or that I just have watched the movie Heartless because it was so vivid in my imagination because she describes everything so well.
You also have all the normal characters of from Alice in Wonderland like the White Rabbit, The mad hatter, the Cheshire cat and the caterpillar. This story doesn't just so how the Queen of Hearts became the way she is but also how the Mad hatter became mad. There are scenes pulled out of Alice in Wonderland but are different to fit this book. Like the croquet with the hedgehogs and the flamingos.
At the end of the story, you feel bad for all the characters even the loopy King of Hearts. Even though I know how it is going to end. That Catherine will become the Queen of Hearts, I find myself hoping and hoping that the ending would end differently. That Catherine will get her happy ending. But this story is all about how Catherine became the Queen of Hearts, and it is not a happy story.
Let me just start by saying: read this NOW ! You won't regret it, even if you aren't the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland. Marissa Meyer crafts an ingenious, fantastic story that takes you on a whirlwind adventure. You honestly never want to stop reading!! This was the first book I have read by Ms. Meye, but it certainly won't be my last. I have been meaning to check out her other novels, but Heartless is giving me the push I need to jump right into those others stories. There is a lot to love about this story, but warning...it'll make you pretty hungry for some baked goods while reading.
While I can't compare to previous books she has written, Marissa Meyer has achieved an excellently balanced story that is full of action, forbidden love, and that wonderfully weird essence of Wonderland. The beauty in this story is that you really don't need to enjoy the original story. You might say that's odd because why would you want to read a story set in the world of Alice when you dislike the original story? Well, let's put it this way...do you like strong characters, a unique plot, and a love for the slightly weird/nonsensical things in life? Then you're going to enjoy this novel! Obviously, there are ties to Wonderland and you never truly forget the setting while reading, but it is an incredibly original idea that just makes you lose yourself in the story.
“But hoping," he said, "is how the impossible can be possible after all.”
Catherine, our MC and resident baker, just wants to open her own bakery and live out her dreams. But that's a no go when she has to be the future bride to the King of Hearts. The one thing I loved about Cath is her characterization throughout the story. Ms. Meyer did an excellent job at this and made the book be fueled by Cath's anger and frustration at not being able to love who she wants to AND not being able to achieve her dreams. Her frustration is palpable, and the pages are filled to the brim with tension. I loved watching Cath descend into that fierce and ferocious woman we know as the Queen of Hearts, and honestly, I would entirely believe that this is her backstory.
“The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.”
We have the requisite love interest...and boy did I fall for him! Every time he left, I was desperate for more scenes of him and Cath together. There was a interesting twist that I definitely didn't see coming with his character and his companion, and that just made the story even better for me. Some favorites are still in the story as well: the Cheshire Cat, the Jabberwock, the Mad Hatter, etc. It's important to note that every character has a very special role to play.
I would highly recommend checking out this novel if you have the chance because it is not one to miss! I was a little hesitant going in because stories that incorporate Alice in Wonderland can be pretty hit or miss for me, but Marissa Meyer did a phenomenal job and really won me over within a couple pages of her magnificent storytelling. With riddles, excitement, and treats that will leave your mouth watering, this book has it all and is a definite must read of 2017! And in the spirit of a Wonderlandian novel, I'll leave you with this:
“Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
Happy reading :)
We all know who the Queen of Hearts is but we don't know how she became the tyrant she is within Wonderland or her motivations. If you've read Meyer's Fairest, you know how well she writes villain's backstories and this is no exception.
Catherine is a sweet, sweet-creating girl who has big aspirations of opening her own bakery someday. That day is not today, unfortunately, because her parents aspire to improve their station by marrying their daughter off to the king. Of course, Cath does not want to marry the king, not only because he has little backbone or substance but because she is in love with someone else. Jest, the court joker whom you will fall in love with just as she does.
Heartless is not an Alice in Wonderland retelling but rather inspired by the characters and world prior to Alice arriving. They all have their own backstory to tell and Meyer gives it to them, much to all of our delight. This book gets very dark at times, which I appreciate. The story of a girl going from sweet and inspired to a monarch who deals with disappointment by death is not going to be fluffy. Characters such as Cheshire provide just enough comic relief to get you through the end.
Oh, and you'll never think of turtles the same way again.
The narrator in the audiobook will be familiar to those who listened to the Lunar Chronicles. While it's clear she has a range of characterizations she can provide, I found her portrayal that mirrors the animated movies to be distracting and uninspired. I nearly gave up listening due to the high-pitched, incredibly loud portrayal of the White Rabbit. I recommend reading the book versus listening (plus it's beautiful!).