June 23, 2020

Review | Heartless (ARC)

Marissa Meyer
UK Publisher | Macmillan's Childrens Books
UK Release Date | February 9th, 2017
Format | Paperback
Page Count | 462
RRP | £7.99

DISCLAIMER: I received this book from the publisher for free. All views and opinions remain my own. 
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. 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 an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I'm not sure what I was expecting going into this one, but I don't think villain origin stories are for me. 

The main struggle I had trying to read Heartless was it's pacing. It's slow to start; perhaps it could be argued that it's to help build a connection between character and reader. To build a bridge of empathy between myself and Catherine as her hopes for the future are explored and then cut short. Yet, I found myself slogging through it to get to the more interesting parts of the narrative ... and was still left disappointed.

Catherine, as a character, was one that I found myself getting frustrated over. A lot of her inner monologue was spent in this spiral of whining, moaning, and scrabbling to hang on to her dream of owning a bakery. I'm not someone who is typically bothered with naive protagonists, as long as they grow and learn as the novel progresses. I didn't get that with Catherine. A lot of the time we spend with Catherine at the start of the novel could have been better spent in the last act, and really make sense of her decisions and the consequences of her actions. Which I think would've really helped flesh out this interpretation of the Queen of Hearts' character.

The one (okay, there's two) saving grace was that I really enjoyed the romance aspect of the plot and Marissa Meyer's writing style. If you're struggling to stop snacking during the lockdown, this really isn't the book to be reading. Meyer's descriptions of scrumptious bakery delights were the real joy of reading this one. Just thinking of them is making me hungry.

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