"Stuff and nonsense," he whispered, the words cracking. "Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?"
We all know the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. She has a temper and dislikes white roses. Her husband is tiny and ineffective. Her favorite phrase is, "Off with their heads!"
Heartless gives us a look at her origin story. The Queen was once a young girl named Catherine. She is a Lady, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Rock Turtle Cove. Her passion in life is baking, and she dreams of opening a bakery with her maid Mary Ann.
Catherine's parents don't approve of her baking. They think it isn't a fitting hobby for a Lady, but it catches the King's attention. He is her biggest fan, and everyone believes that he will propose to Catherine any day. Her parents pressure her into accepting the proposal, but it isn't what she wants. She doesn't love the King, but her mother threatens to fire Mary Ann if she doesn't agree to marry him.
Everything becomes complicated when the King hires a new jester. His name is Jest, and Catherine falls hard for him. They have a moment together in the palace gardens, then Jest invites her out to Hatta's mad tea party. Catherine performs a story for them, impressing them with her rose macarons. The party is broken up by an attack from the jabberwocky, a horrible monster.
After that perfect night, Catherine plans to cut Jest out of her life completely. It isn't proper for a young lady to love a jester, especially not a young lady who is being courted by the King. Yet she can't stop thinking about the handsome young man with the golden eyes. Is it possible for her to get her happily ever after? Honestly, we already know the answer, but it's always good to see how we get there.
I loved Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. Therefore, I was excited to read her new book. Heartless doesn't have the extra twist that the other books did, by which I mean that it is basically a straightforward reimagining. It's still really great. Catherine was a great character, and I really sympathized with the choices she faced (To an extent...she kind of sucked at the end. I'd say more, but there's some major spoilers involved). It's interesting to read a standalone (I believe?) novel in a new series by Ms. Meyer, and I look forward to seeing what she writes next.
I received my copy of Heartless from Edelweiss, courtesy of Feiwel & Friends. It's available for purchase now.