Heartless By: Marissa Meyer
Book Review By: Laura the Book Enthusiast
Why is a raven like a writing desk? The answer can be found not only in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland, but in Marissa Meyer’s, Heartless.
Cath is the daughter of nobles, who long for their daughter to marry the King of Hearts; Catherine, however, has other ideas. Cath dreams of owning her own bakery with her maid and dear friend, Maryanne. She is even willing to use her own dowry for her aspirations. Cath’s fears of never achieving her dream are only heightened as her parents continue to push her toward marriage with the king. One night at the king’s ball, she met the court jester, an event which, unbeknownst to her, would trigger a series of events that would seal her fate. One would never think pumpkins would cause so much trouble, but as this is a spoiler free review, I will refrain from mentioning the role they play in the plot of Meyer’s novel. Allow me to just say, after reading Heartless, you will never look at pumpkins the same way again.
When I opened to the first chapter of Heartless, I was pleased to see Meyer placed us right in the middle of our protagonist’s heart, the kitchen. Yes, Cath was baking. There is an air of excitement on these pages, one that continues throughout the novel. It’s hard to imagine that the Queen of Hearts once had stars in her eyes; a girl who once believed in “six impossible things before breakfast”. I found myself rooting for her, and wanting her to succeed. She was not to have her fate be that of a heartless queen obsessed with beheadings, no! I could imagine her living happily ever after with the man she loves, and working with her best friend in their very own bakery. Alas, fate can be cruel. Hope can be a dreadful thing if one already knows the outcome, and Meyer does a wonderful job inspiring hope in a hopeless situation. This idea is well illustrated with a profound statement made by, of all characters, the Cheshire Cat. “But, hoping, is how the impossible can be possible after all.” Words of wisdom from a feline.
The characterizations are unique, fun, and somewhat stereotypical. Don’t get me wrong, personality stereotypes are hallmark to storytelling, because it enables us to categorize characters, and pinpoint who is who in the plot. In Heartless, we have the dreamer, the brain, the fool, the trickster, the brooder, the eccentric, and the list goes on and on. Points for those who can identify who is who in this narrative. With so many interesting characters, it’s hard to choose my favorite. If I had to choose one, I would have to say, Jest. There is more to his character that meets the eye. We, the readers, get to see what’s beneath the jester hat. The hat is quite symbolic, at least to me. The hat holds many secrets, and so does Jest.
I recommend this novel to anyone who loves fairytales, or a different vision of an old fairytale, watching a villain’s journey from good to evil, or someone who simply wants to escape the real world and enter Wonderland. Or perhaps you would like to know why the Queen of Hearts hates white roses, who the White Rabbit’s maid is, or why the hatter went mad. Do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of Heartless at your local library or bookstore. You will just lose your head.
I may be writing a spoiler infused review of Heartless below this post. I will be sure to warn off anyone who has not read the novel, and does not wish to be spoiled. Thanks to everyone who reads and follows my blog. This means a lot for a newbie!