Friday, October 27, 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Narrated by Rebecca Soler
Synopsis (via 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. 

“Perhaps we know each other in the future and you’re only remembering backward.”  
Well, that was unexpected. ๐Ÿ˜’

I liked Catherine well enough in the beginning, but I was extremely irritated with her behavior. She knows exactly what she wants, and yet she allows her parents and society to dictate who/what she is going to be. She was perfectly capable of making her own decisions, and did on occasion, but never when it seemed to really matter.

Cath makes it clear that she wants to open a bakery, not become the Queen of Hearts. However, she makes choices that bring her closer and closer to the outcome she doesn't want. All of her efforts to open a bakery seem to fall short, and it seems everything (and everyone) is pushing her to an ending she never would have chosen for herself. I just wish she had stood up to her parents, not caring about whether or not she would be disowned, and said fuck you. It's her life, she needed to worry about making herself happy, and not everyone else around her. Her mother forced her into too-tight corsets, and dresses she couldn't breathe in. Her father stood idly by while simultaneously crushing her dreams by not being supportive. They both thought they knew best, when really it was only what they wanted for themselves. No one ever asked Catherine what she wanted (until it no longer mattered).

The king, while obtuse and small-minded, had good intentions. He never knew how Cath felt, but that's only because she never told him. All of her actions, everything she said to him, only led him to believe she shared his feelings. I understand he's the king, so turning him down wouldn't have been easy, but leading him on only made things worse. Her parents were happy, the king was delighted, but she was miserable. No one should have to live their life in misery.

Then there is Jest. Jovial, mysterious, and adoring Jest. While he may not have had the best intentions at the start, he never wavered in his affections for Cath. He was so torn between loyalty and love, which only added to the complexities of this story. Everyone seemed to have ulterior motives, instead of just following their hearts. If people did more things out of love, I think a lot of problems would be resolved.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite the aggravating characters, because I assume they were meant to be written that way. The world-building was incredible, and Marissa Meyer was so descriptive of everything.

I always go into a book expecting a happy, resolved ending. This was not the case with Heartless. *highlight to view spoiler» Cath suffered enough throughout the book, she shouldn't have to suffer for the rest of her life. The ending was a cruel, horrible twist to her broken story. I hadn't read any reviews before starting this book, but I might have been better prepared if I did. I didn't realize this was an origin story (hah) for the Queen of Hearts. Everything she loved was ripped away from her, and she was forced into the life she never wanted. I would be very, "Off with his head!," too.

I also hate how abruptly Jest was killed. He was there, and then he wasn't. There were no last words or declarations of love. He just ceased to exist. The best character in the book was gone in the time it took a crazed man to swing his ax. I wish he'd been able to say something to Cath before he died. What was he thinking when it happened? My chest aches over the loss, so I can't imagine how Catherine must feel. Her reaction may seem extreme, but I wish she had just gone to Chess and left Mary Ann to her fate. Four lives were ruined instead of one.

They all knew what would happen if they went through a door. They were told and shown in great detail. 

Side note: Rebecca Soler narrates the audiobook and she's marvelous! Her various voices are remarkable. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ


  1. I both loved and hated this one. It was a sad ending and the characters made stupid decisions but that world building was amazing!

    1. Agreed! I loved the world and the story, but I hated how it ended. I had so much hope in the beginning. “But hoping," he said, "is how the impossible can be possible after all.” I hoped for a different ending, but it didn't happen, lol.

  2. I mean, I can see why that would frustrate you. But I also imagine it was probably purposefully written that way since it sounds realistic, the way people think they know what's best for others, how hard it can be to stand up to people, etc. And the love vs. loyalty does make Jest sound like a complex character. Glad you liked this one!

    1. I thought it was intentional, too. People always think they know best, and often make mistakes. It was hard to read at times, because I wanted her to have a happy ending. If you do decide to read this, I would highly recommend the audiobook--one of the best I've listened to!

  3. This book was brutal. I wanted that HEA too but I guess it was her villain origin story so that wasn't gonna happen lol

    For What It's Worth


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“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?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless