Heartless is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland by Marissa Meyer, the author of popular Lunar Chronicles series. Retellings have always been somewhat troublesome. There are certain expectations from readers which have to be surpassed in order for a retelling to work. It also has to be quite original, and focused on surprising character. If you always liked Alice in Wonderland, but you were intrigued by the Queen of Hearts, then this might be the book for you.
Before becoming the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was a simple girl who wanted to open her own bakery with one of her good friends, Mary-Ann, and just be happy. Her parents, not interested in her own plans, try pushing her into becoming the only girl that can be seen at a royal ball, where the King himself can propose. That is exactly what happens.
Marissa Meyer has already distinguished herself as a writer of fairy tale retellings. While Meyer includes many characters and aspects of the original stories, she also brings a lot of novelty to the new world. For example, we have been introduced to the famous Cheshire Cat, Jack ‘The Knave of Hearts,’ the Caterpillar, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, but we will nevertheless meet characters that were invented by Marissa. The world building is quite intriguing. While the story is set in Wonderland, Heartless gets enriched by many new, different world settings. As you read, you will certainly feel how the focus is moved from Alice to the Queen of Hearts. Meyer make this her own and unique world of Wonderland and it fits the characters and the story perfectly. The writing is enjoyable and consistent, captivating in descriptions.
Not everyone enjoys retellings of famous stories and fairy tales, but for those who do love them, Heartless will be a wonderfully entertaining book to read. It brings into the spotlight a character who plays one of the most important roles in Alice in Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts thrilled and terrified the readers in that book, so it’s no wonder that she is a character intriguing enough in order to become a main character. However, as every hero has a backstory, so every villain has a past.