Marissa Meyer · Stand Alone · Young Adult

Heartless by Marissa Meyer


Heartless is a must read for any fan of Alice in Wonderland! The plot is great despite its slower pacing, the characters are well developed and interesting, and the writing is amazing! I loved this prequel novel and highly recommend it.


Ever since I finished Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, I knew I had to read her next book and I was interested in hearing that it was going to be a prequel of sorts to Alice in Wonderland. I’m not actually a fan of that story because it is far too peculiar for my tastes but I did enjoy some of the characters. It has been A LONG time since I have actually read Alice in Wonderland and longer still since I have seen the movie adaptation. This didn’t hinder my enjoyment of Heartless, however.

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

In Heartless, we are introduced to and follow the story of Cath who we know will become the future Queen of Hearts. Cath is an exceptional baker with a dream of opening her own bakery some day. However, her parents don’t see her skills as being something of importance and so have their sights set on marrying her off to the King of Hearts. Throughout the book, we are witness to Cath’s struggle to follow her dream and please her parents, while trying to have a secret relationship with her true love. There is also that pesky, frightening Jabberwock to deal with…

I knew enough about Alice in Wonderland to catch the references and I knew who everyone was so I was still easily able to enjoy the story. To be honest I liked this soooo much more! It isn’t as whimsical and strange and I was glad for that. The plot was simple, easy to follow, and predictable of course but that is just what re-tellings are. Possibly knowing what would happen didn’t ruin my enjoyment much like it would in other books. This is just expected in a re-telling.

It was a fairly slow moving story with the plot mainly focusing on Catherine trying to figure out how to get out of a marriage proposal from the King, which started to become annoying by the end. Despite its slow pacing, I was never actually bored with the story. I was just hoping that there was going to be an unexpected ending. There were some instances of more intense action and suspense along with character development to help keep the reader engaged in the story. I adored most of the characters!

“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?”

There was one big thing wrong with the plot of the book in my opinion and that was the instant love connection between Jest and Catherine. This had me upset from the beginning. Yes, I know she has a dream about him before they even meet and that is supposed to tell as that its fate, but it just isn’t good enough for me. I hate these kinds of relationships and just wish the author would have taken it quite a bit slower. I’m sure Jest was good looking and charming but you just can’t know someone from a couple of interactions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this backstory of the Queen of Hearts and hope that maybe the author will take it upon herself to do a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. That would be amazing!


The world is quite a bit different, yet familiar to those who know Alice in Wonderland. The details were few yet relevant and interesting. Especially, the food descriptions! Those were astounding and just made me want to eat them!

“These things do not happen in dreams, dear girl,’ he said, vanishing up to his neck. ‘They happen only in nightmares.’

I loved how Meyer took things from Edgar Allen Poe, Alice in Wonderland, and even a nursery rhyme (Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater) to create a familiar yet unique setting. The world was highly entertaining though I can’t help wanting more.


I loved almost all the characters and it’s the biggest reason why I like the book so much.

Catherine is an amazing character and from the very beginning, you can see glimpses of the person she will become. It’s one act that finally makes her snap and become the true Queen of Hearts. I love her determination to own her own bakery and her passion for baking.

“The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.”

I really liked Jest. He was such an interesting character at the beginning while we are trying to find out more about him. His magic was also mysterious as well. He is also so incredibly captivating and charming.

Chesire was awesome! One of my favorite characters by far. He is just a typical cat, yet a creepy, talking, hilarious one.

The King was perfectly done. He was incredibly stupid and doesn’t have anything that it takes to run a Kingdom. Such a fool and pushover.

The one character that I didn’t like was Catherine’s maid Mary Ann. She didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose and wasn’t developed as much as the other characters were. She shared Catherine’s love for baking but that is all we learn about her.

“Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”

Other characters include Hatta (The Mad Hatter), Mr. Catepillar, the Raven, and the White Rabbit. I loved them all.


Absolute perfection. I loved the every bit of the writing.


The cover is gorgeous! Well designed, eye catching, and just utter perfection. I even looked under the dust-jacket and that was printed beautifully as well.

~Review Spotlight~

Once Upon A Bookshelf      The Sassy Book Geek

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4 thoughts on “Heartless by Marissa Meyer

  1. Great review! I think if Meyer took it upon herself to do a retelling of Alice in Wonderland it would be amazing. We got a glimpse of her vision of Hatta once he loses his hold on sanity but I’d like to see where she would take it. I have a feeling it would be different and perhaps a little darker than the other versions of The Hatter we have seen. The Raven also was quite the interesting character. Of course we all had at least a passing familiarity with him but he had a different sort of edge to him than I was used to. I’d love to see both of their characters further development.
    Also, thanks for the spotlight shout out!


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