by Bri Filer
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Get ready to fall head first into the rabbit hole through Marissa Meyer’s twisted take on “Alice in Wonderland.”
Meyer, known for her series “The Lunar Chronicles,” which offers an alternative interpretation to classic fairy tales, follows a similar vibe with “Heartless”. Rather than focus on whimsical Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, the novel looks back on the story of the evil Queen of Hearts who we know as a villainous tyrant who screams about lobbing off a bunch of heads.
“Heartless” features Catherine, a young girl from the Kingdom of Hearts, who is far more interested in baking than any type of bloodshed. Well, at least at the beginning of the book.
With dreams to become the best baker in the kingdom and actual dreams that also happen to sprout a lemon tree in her bedroom, Catherine is surrounded by the magic and mayhem of Wonderland. Catherine also finds herself stuck in the midst of a secret romantic affair with the court’s joker, Jest. In order to not offend the King, who has plans to marry her, and to not upset her parents, Catherine struggles between doing what she wants or doing what is expected of her.
For those with a love for “Alice in Wonderland,” this book is a fun read that provides a new story focused in the fantastical world of Wonderland that may change your perspective on the Queen of Hearts. Not only is the Queen of Hearts featured, but the book nods to other characters from the original tale too, such as the playful and mischievous Cheshire Cat.
References are scattered about as well, such as a joke about eating a sweet treat and transforming into the size of a house. Meyer combines familiarity and freshness to give readers a modern backstory to a villain in an interesting and unique way.
So, next time you find yourself lost in Wonderland, maybe the Queen of Hearts won’t seem that bad.