Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Review: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChapters !ndigo

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — 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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she 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.


Gah, this book, it really knew how to pull the heartstrings. Any dislike of this book is probably more of a “It’s me, not you, book” kind of issue. The thing is you know that this is a story of how the Queen of Hearts becomes the way she is, there’s not really a possibility for a happy ending and I do so love my happy endings, so I think that played a factor in how much I loved this book. But that being said, Marissa Meyer knows how to write a good story and I’ll be darn if I didn’t love that moment of truth.

The story begins with Catherine. A Marquis’ daughter in the land of Hearts. She had hopes, dreams, happiness. She wants to own her own bakery. And my god this book with it’s delicious dessert porn. Seriously, make sure you have some pies, tarts or macarons with you.

“Some say it is better to have eaten and lost then never to have eaten at all.”


She does not want to marry the silly King of Hearts. She definitely falls for the mysterious and magical Jest. And there’s a murderous monster wreaking havoc in Hearts.

I really enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland inspiration. In particular, all the strangeness and peculiarities that is part of the Wonderland world (and yes, there is a game of croquet with flamingos!). And of course it’s not Wonderland without the Mad Hatter and Cheshire the Cat. I liked that Meyer’s is able to give us those features of Wonderful while putting her own twists and uniqueness to the characters and the setting.

She imagined it over and over and over again. Off with its head. The word churned through her thoughts.

There is of course a romance in this story. It’s a forbidden and impossible love story between Cath and Jest. I liked their romance, but sometimes it did fall a little flat for me (and maybe because I was a little scared to invest in them). I unfortunately didn’t quite connect with Cath, though things do pick up more in the second half for me. Jest is very charismatic, I loved that he inspired the impossible but I wished we got to see more layers of him. The Raven and the Hatta (the Mad Hatter) were two other characters that were definitely intriguing and can easily win your heart.

“Impossibility is your specialty.”

This is story that inspires angst and sadness. It’s kind of liking seeing the downfall of goodness. And yet I couldn’t look away. The part that I felt the most, that I loved the most, was that moment  of transformation, from Cath,a girl with hopes and dreams, to Cath, the heartless Queen of Hearts. And the cruelest part was there could have been a chance for a different outcome.

“How different everything could have been,” she said. “if you had thought to ask me that before.”

Overall, this was an imaginative and vivid tale that puts your heart through the wringer. You can love or hate Alice in Wonderland and still immerse yourself in this creative storytelling by Meyer. I’m usually a happily ever after kind of girl, but suprisingly this bittersweet ending didn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

{*Thanks to Feiwel & Friends and Edelweiss for providing the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Marissa Meyer

I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my husband and beautiful twin daughters. Represented by Jill Grinberg. Learn more about me and my upcoming books at


Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

16 Replies to “Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer”

  1. I absolutely loved this book! I know a lot of people were disappointed by the ending, because it was heartbreaking. But it’s a prequel retelling-esque story of how the Queen of Hearts became the Queen of Hearts… we all knew something bad had to happen. I thought the story was so well-written and while I was heartbroken over the ending, I liked it! In a sad way. This was the first Meyer book I’ve read in a looooong time (I’ve read Cinder, but years ago), and I’m glad it did not disappoint. For me and for you as well!

    Great review, Cyn. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I was actually surprised by how much I loved the ending despite it being a bit of a heartbreaker.
      You definitely get back to the Lunar Chronicles ;)! It’s pretty awesome and I love Scarlet (the book). Glad you enjoyed this so much! Can’t wait for more Marissa Meyer books!

      Thanks, Alyssa!

  2. I loved the Raven and his quotes. Yes, this was not a happy ending kind of book. I enjoyed it slightly more than you did. Fantastic review Cyn!

    1. The Raven was a great character! I’m glad you enjoyed this, too! Thanks, Kim!

  3. I swear, I have been dying to read this book ever since I first heard about it. I love Marissa Meyer. And books with food porn are the BEST!!! I’m sorry that you didn’t love it more though. Great review.

    1. I hope you love it! Books with food porn automatically move up a notch 😉 I still really enjoyed the writing and the ending was amazing (if not super heartbreaking). Thanks, Cynthia!

  4. I can’t wait to read this one. It kind of reminds me a bit of reading Fairest in her other series. I love Meyer’s creativity and her world building and I can’t wait to see what she does with the Queen of Hearts! Happy weekend!

    1. I hope you love it, Heidi! I was a big fan of Meyer’s take on Wonderland!

  5. AHH I CANNOT WAIT!! I’m so excited about all the food.😂 It just sounds so delicious afdjsakfd. But least to say I’m buying it soon and I’m ridiculously excited.😍

    1. The food was fantastic! I hope you enjoy it heaps, Cait!

  6. I’m so excited/curious about Heartless! I can imagine knowing the end of the original could make for a cautious read. Aw, and the ending sounds bittersweet, too. But, as a fan of retellings I’m so eager for my copy. Great review, Cyn 😀

  7. I definitely want to read Heartless … but it CAN’T have a happy ending. Arrgghhh!

  8. Nice review! I didn’t finish the book but not because I didn’t like Cath. It was the world itself. I realized while reading that I didn’t like Alice in Wonderland as a kid and all the weirdness didn’t appeal to me. For some reason I can read fairy tale retellings, fantasy novels with elves, dwarves, dragons, or the fae but the unusual or otherworldly characters and things didn’t work for me here. Maybe someday I’ll be more patient and give it another try. I admit when I decided not to finish I peeked ahead to find out what happened. I felt really bad for Cath.

  9. AUGH. I don’t know what to do with myself and this book. Because I know there won’t be a happy ending, I’m loath to read it. Because I don’t actually like Alice in Wonderland, I’m even more hesitant. Those are biggies, yeah? But I LOVE Marissa Meyer! Plus, a lot of the reviews I’ve seen are middling. Sigh. I’ll still read it eventually. 🙂

    Great review, Cyn! 😀

  10. Lovely review Cyn! You pretty much covered all my points, I wasn’t a fan of the romance either but I enjoyed it when Cath went dark.

  11. I’m having such a hard time getting through this one. I too am a happy ever after girl (DUH) but I already know it won’t end well (another DUH). I can’t seem to get connected to Cath either, though. She needs to tell her mother to “shove it” already. I’m only at 31% but I’ve already started another book and have read waaaaaay past 30% in that book. I don’t know what to do. You’ve got me thinking, though….. what to do, what to do…. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not the only one with issues 🙂

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