You don’t often see negative reviews on my blog. In fact, I think this is the first or second one! (Except for those on Goodreads, of course). Heartless just really wasn’t my thing at all. The book is absolutely stunning on the outside – both with and without the dust jacket! – but the inside, unfortunately, isn’t. Luckily, it’s rare that I read books that I don’t 100% enjoy, but it happens sometimes. I got the book in a Celebrate Books Box last year and I finally got around to read it. Read more about my thoughts in this spoiler free review.
“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don’t you know?”
I don’t really know where to begin. Usually there’s something or some aspect that I loved or really disliked, but there’s just… Nothing. Heartless was just nothing special for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t all that good, either. During the first part, I wasn’t in the right mindset. I was so confused by all the crazy Alice in Wonderland things. Which doesn’t really make sense because it is an Alice in Wonderland prequel – of sorts – and I knew it. Everything just felt too weird. In the end this is actually one of the things that I liked about the book. Marissa has the ability to make weird normal and to make normal weird. In that aspect it was done wonderfully.
I did not like Catherine one bit. Her mother was worse, actually, but let’s talk about Cath for a minute. I really liked her for wanting to start a bakery, I loved it. The baking actually made me hungry and want to bake stuff! But after than it’s just one disaster after another. I’m not sure what her age was, but honestly she had every right to stand up to her mother but she didn’t. Ugh. Then there’s The Mother. (With capitals! She’s really something). I actually hated her more than I hated Umbridge in Harry Potter. Yes, for real! I don’t have the words to describe how horrible she is. Marrying her off to a idiot king who’s fifteen years older than her!? Also, what kind of king is actually so dumb he doesn’t put any effort in protecting his kingdom?! Character-wise I think the book could’ve done a lot better, if I’m honest.
As for Jest, I had such high hopes for him. I absolutely loved his crazy entrance and his side-kick Raven. But that’s all there is to him. There’s nothing special about him and his behaviour pisses me off. SO BAD. My level off pissed off-ness for him is nothing compared to what I feel towards Mary Ann, though. Again: I liked her character in the beginning. Not that much, but just enough to be interested in her. Then she literally turns into the worst traitorous friend ever. asdfghjkl!!!
I’m sorry, this review is turning into a rant. There’s some bits that I did like. The baking/food talk was covered pretty much all throughout the book, it was consistent. It made me hungry and want to bake and I sort of expected it to be a thing that was present in the beginning only, but it wasn’t! There’s also some hilarious scenes than genuinely made me giggle a bit (when I wasn’t bored out of my mind). Also, their way of playing croquet is worth mentioning. (Just like Chesire creating havoc, ha!) I really liked all the bits I knew from Alice in Wonderland, but that’s also kind of where it ends.
This book wasn’t for me. But I can see why other people could love it! If you love Alice in Wonderland, it’s definitely worth checking out. I was mostly just bored by the story and only pushed through because I wanted to now how it ended! If it wasn’t so different from Alice Through the Looking Glass movie, it actually could’ve been a really wonderful prequel movie, I think! I feel as if the weirdness would just do some much better on screen than on paper.
The #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller that Gregory Maguire (Wicked and After Alice) calls “full of heart.”
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Have you read Heartless? Did you like the book?
* This post contains affiliate links. More info in my Affiliate Disclaimer.