THIS BOOK. I loved this book so much. Heartless by Marissa Meyer is a stunning return to the world introduced to so many of us in Alice in Wonderland. Though this story seems to draw from the newer Tim Burton movie adaptations, I still spotted quite a few references that I thought came from the original tale. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve read it. This is the story of Catherine, a young noblewoman who has caught the eye of the King of Hearts. Acting as a version of history to the original story, we meet many familiar characters that have small arcs of their own throughout the novel.

I love the magic of Wonderland, and this book encompasses it beautifully. The characters have depth and most of them undergo change to progress their characters by the end of the book. I thought there might be the predictability that tends to come in some retellings, but Heartless feels much more like As Old as Time by Liz Braswell and the other Twisted Tales. The Twisted Tales are Disney-Hyperion published fairy tale retellings that ask strange questions to drastically alter the events of the story. They reach a similar conclusion, but I found that I knew the characters so much better. They add another layer of depth to the Disney stories, like Beauty and the Beast that so many people are used to. Check out my review of As Old as Time for a more in-depth look.

            Heartless has phenomenal world-building. In so many renditions of Alice in Wonderland, it’s difficult to tell what the world looks like, even in the movies. I believe Carroll left a lot to the imagination of the reader on purpose, but I find it much easier to place myself in a world that I can draw a map of in my head. Meyer’s version of Wonderland splits the world into two realms, Hearts and Chess. Catherine, our protagonist is a noblewoman in the land of Hearts and throughout her story, it’s easy to tell where she is in relation to the important places around her.

            The last thing I want to talk about in this unfortunately brief review is the madness. Every retelling of Alice in Wonderland requires a certain level of madness included in what people say and how they act. Heartless has the perfect level of madness that increases as the story moves forward. From the oddity of the Cheshire Cat to the Hatta himself, there are so many characters that have perfectly odd quirks. Most of them I can’t tell you about because I would spoil so much.

            Any fans of the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movies, the original tale, or fairy tale retellings will become enchanted with Marissa Meyer’s queenly tale. I highly recommend this book to just about everyone. It will bring magic back into your world and remind you that things are never as they seem–and that’s the best part about them.

 Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


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