So, Heartless is the Red Queen’s (from Alice In Wonderland) back story. It’s what she did before Alice fell through the rabbit hole and how she got to be the mad monarch we all know and fear. Catherine (the Red Queen) is a young girl who loves baking and is a favourite of the king, who is looking for a wife. Then she meets Jest, the enigmatic court jester and starts seeing him secretly while her parents try their hardest to throw her into the path of the king.
I enjoyed Heartless. It had good bits, and plenty of them. And the good bits reminded me of what I love about Meyers’ writing. It doesn’t exactly have bad bits either, but there were points where, like with Winter, I felt it dragged a bit. The pace would slow right down and I’d start to drift a bit.
Although Alice In Wonderland is a great book, I’m not super fangirly over it. However it was really cool to see what Meyer had done with the back stories of all the characters in Wonderland, not just the Red Queen. For a book based on someone else’s work, it had an awful lot of imagination.
And I liked Catherine. She was fun, although was possibly a bit too obedient. And I had problems with the baking. Because seriously, we had the Lunar Chronicles where the girls were all about their STEM subjects and saving the world and suddenly we appear to be in the 1950s because now we have an MC who aspires to baking pretty cakes and is seemingly incapable of saying to her parents, ‘No, I don’t want to marry the king, because he’s an idiot.’ The baking thing annoyed me less than the lack of gumption did, by the way.
And - please don’t flame me - I had problems with Jest. More specifically I had problems with his hat. I just can’t get behind a love interest that wanders around looking like a ninja with a festival hat on his head. Jangly bells equal a big no-no in my book and it took the shine off what could otherwise have been a heart-thumping romance.
Terrible hat notwithstanding, I did like the romance between Catherine and Jest. It was paced well and had enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. And the denouement was good. I mean, anyone who knows the story of Alice In Wonderland knows she ends up married to the king, but you’re still left guessing to the end as to exactly what happens with her and Jest.
So, this was a good book all in all, but if the pacing had been a bit tighter and the hat - oh my god, the hat, the hat, the hat - hadn’t existed, it would have been outstanding.