Sunday, December 4, 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer
5/5 stars

Heartless is a prequel to Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, and tells how kind, happy Catherine turns into the "blind and aimless Fury" (to quote Carroll) that is the Queen of Hearts.  It all begins with Catherine's dream to open a bakery, but then life becomes immensely complicated: the unappealing King wanting to court her; she becomes attracted to the King's handsome, new Joker; and a Jabberwock appears to terrorize the kingdom.  Experiencing, for the first time, love, danger, and dismay, Catherine finds herself faced with a myriad of decisions that will affect not only herself, but many others as well.

Meyer skillfully entwines her original ideas with Carroll's established ideas to create a fully living world.  The sprinkling of Carroll quotes, and the visits from Wonderland friends, are a true joy.   The characters were fleshed out, with believable actions and reactions.  The prose was well-written, and drew the reader into the plot quickly.

The reader knows, before starting the book, that Catherine will become the Queen of Hearts, a passionately miserable individual.  The strain of melancholy that is woven through out the book purposefully keeps the reader anxious--it's always in the back of the mind that happiness is not the ending for Catherine.  I must say that Meyer did not disappoint, and delivered a heartbreaking ending that left me in tears.

Overall, I can find no fault with Meyer's beautiful, tragic novel, and recommend it wholeheartedly.

Note:  I do think, though, that readers will enjoy Heartless most if familiar with Carroll's original tales.  I paused a few chapters into the book to reread both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and was extremely glad I did.

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