Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 449
Related Words: alice in wonderland, retelling, queen of hearts, mad hatter, joker, baking
Rating: 5/5

18584855.jpgCatherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite 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 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. 

General Overview (Without Spoilers)

Heartless, in my own opinion, was an amazing read. I loved every word of it and the way Meyer described Wonderland was so quirky and fun; I felt that it really reflected the original Wonderland from Lewis Carol. The characters were fantastic; Cath annoyed me a little with her personality, but she was amazingly written nonetheless.

The plot was full of events and I felt they were well paced and it gradually intensified until the climax of the book. I don’t really have much to say without the spoilers; all I can say is that if you love retellings and Alice in Wonderland, read this book.

Full Review (*Without Spoilers*)


The beginning of the book started out with Cath baking some pastries for the king. The fact that Cath, who we later know as the legendary Queen of Hearts, has this sort of normal hobby and passion, really made her into a normal girl. This was something I loved about her character because it gave us insight to who Cath was before her transformation into the evil Queen of Hearts. She was innocent, just like any other girl, except the king had his eyes set on her.

However, Cath puts her intentions clearly to the reader that she has no interest in the king, but all she wants is to open a bakery. But her parents forbid it and push her to become queen. And I feel that this was the conflicting force that led Cath and her friends to their downfall.

All throughout the book, I was frustrated at her parents for pushing her into being someone she doesn’t want to be. They cared for their child, but forsook her happiness. But I was even more frustrated at Cath for not standing up for herself until it was too late. Perhaps if she had acted earlier, none of this would have happened, but then again, their current society wouldn’t have let her go without at least a hint of scandal– something that was the main force into keeping Cath in a state of inactiveness.

When Jest arrived at the scene, it had to be my favourite part. We see Jest, who as a Joker, pull all these tricks as the party goes on. He was the fun in the entire book, innocent, and so very much my favourite character ever. But, of course, he had to die. And that was one of the scenes that made my– and Cath’s– heart break into two. Thankfully, unlike Cath, I didn’t turn into an evil queen.

Jest was a great character and I loved how Meyer wrote him. Quirky, fun, but also noble and loyal to his country– Chess. He had come to steal Cath’s heart, but refused to do so since he had already fallen in love with her. There were many parts, though, that I felt Cath was undeserving of Jest, as she had been lying and deceiving people since the beginning of the book. But it also gave her a realistic character, as she had obvious faults that many could relate with.

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

“You see, they can each produce a few notes. Though admittedly, the notes tend to be very flat.”

– Jest, Heartless


The moment when Jest died, though, was the most awful thing that could have ever happened. Jest had been my favourite character and for him to die such a sudden death was shocking and horrible. I knew that it had to happen, as there was no “Jest” in the actual Alice in Wonderland retelling, but that it didn’t make it any less painful. It was wonderful story telling on Meyer’s part, and seeing Cath’s personality immediately change after that to the evil Queen of Hearts was more understandable and relatable.

“[Cath’s] beating heart was skewered on [the blade’s] tip. It was broken, cut almost clean in half by a blackened fissure that was filled with dust and ash.”

– The three sisters taking out Cath’s heart, Heartless


And Hatta, with his craziness in the beginning of the book, finally sank into madness and into the Mad Hatter that we know and love. However, his last words in this book were the saddest thing I’ve ever read and it really made you feel heartbroken for each one of these characters.

“We are all made here, don’t you know? And it runs in my family, it’s a part of my blood and he’s here, Time has finally found me and I–” His voice shredded. His eyes burned. “I haven’t the slightest idea, Your Queenness. I find that I simply cannot recall why a raven is like a writing desk.”

– Hatta, Heartless



My first 5/5 stars review goes to Heartless! I know that there were quite a few that didn’t really like Heartless, but I was quite fond with the book, probably since I love Wonderland so much. It was great seeing how the characters got to where they are now and how Alice will come into play much later in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I have to applaud Meyer for doing an amazing job!

What did you think of Heartless? 


5 thoughts on “Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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