Most of us read about the Queen of Hearts for the first time in Alice in Wonderland. Heartless shows us a different side to this well-known character. The novel looks at the teenage years of Catherine and follows her journey as she looks to follows her dream of owning a bakery. This is a simple dream and it should be achievable (her family is quite wealthy); however they want her to marry an even wealthier man. Their dream for their daughter looks like it’s going to come to fruition when the King starts to court the 18-year-old Catherine. While marrying a King and becoming Queen would make many teenage girls weak at the knees, it has the opposite effect on Catherine. She is not attracted to him and doesn’t find his personality appealing, these feelings are intensified when she meets the Court Jester. SPOILER ALERT: he makes her feel things she had only dreamed about, but their love story does not have a happy ending.

Marissa Meyer had a tough job in retelling the story of such a well-known character, but in telling the story of how Catherine became the cruel Queen of Hearts, she has made her more relatable to people. The story shows the events and the people that caused this kind hearted girl who wanted to run a bakery with her best friend into the cruel woman who gave the order to have people’s heads cut off. It shows the impact that thinking of other people rather than yourself can have on a person. Instead of following her instincts and turning down the King, she chose to listen to her mother’s desires and enter into a courtship with him. It’s hard not to wonder how different Catherine’s life would be if she had been allowed to follow her own dream and her heart’s desire. Perhaps if she and Jest had been allowed to be together, she would have spent the rest of her life happily baking alongside him.

This book is a must read for any fans of Marissa Meyer’s other books (The Lunar Chronicles) as well as fans of Alice in Wonderland.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc

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