Backstory stories are just so wonderful. Backstory stories about evil characters? Magnificent.

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 9
Subject Rating: PG (moderate peril and death)
Source: Raincoast Books for review

Description from Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. 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 a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

What I Thought:

I LOVE a good backstory. I always look at horrible characters and think, what happened to you that made you this way? (I’m looking at you, Umbridge.)

So when I saw that the fabulous Marissa Meyer had written a backstory for the Queen of Hearts, that homicidal manic we all know and hate, I knew I had to read it. What on earth happened to that poor woman to make her so insane?

It’s especially tragic when you start the book and meet Cath, who is so sweet and just dreams of opening her own bakery. Like, I knew I was in for it because something BAD would have to happen for her to turn so evil.

I know some people have been frustrated with Cath’s reluctance to disobey her family’s wishes, but I actually found it quite realistic. It always bothers me when protagonists in a book say, “POO TO YOU FAMILY I’M DITCHING YOU FOR THIS DUDE I JUST MET TWO CHAPTERS AGO IT’S TRUE LOVE.” I mean, her parents raised her and have taken care of her since she was a baby, they did everything for her and it takes a little more than a couple of sideways glances for most people to turn their backs on all of that.

The Wonderland references were great, and without giving away too many spoilers, we get to meet the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, the King, the croquet flamingos, the card soldiers, and MORE. We see character transformations galore.

Meyer’s writing is, as usual, super addictive. I may or may not have read this book in about two days.(Hint: I may have.)

The romance is so sweet, and I love that so much of it also revolves around the nipped-in-the-bud romance between Cath and the King, a la Cyrano de Bergerac.

I’ve been recommending it galore! Super fun, super nostalgic, super tragic, super good. Wonderful, actually.

Add it to your collection:

Buy it here from Amazon, and I will get a small percentage to put towards keeping the lights on here at Quillable!