Marissa Meyer, one day I will find you and I will marry you! (cannot make it less threatening, sorry!) How she manages to transform the tiniest details of the tales she's retelling into greater stories is beyond me!
Now, I love Alice in Wonderland... no, I LOVE Alice in Wonderland. Ok, looks better. And when I LOVE something I end up being really picky, be a retelling or an alternative portrayal of the thing, I'll approach it being very skeptical and wary. I didn't know much about Heartless when I picked it up but when I recognized characters like Mary Ann, Haigha, Hatta and the Mock Turtle, I knew that dear Marissa Meyer had done well her research!
"Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?"
Now, Heartless. First of all, HOW DIDN'T I KNOW THIS WAS A PREQUEL? HOW??? EVERYBODY KNEW, EVERY REVIEW I READ IS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO KNEW, WHY DIDN'T I? I SIGNED MYSELF UP FOR TRAUMA FROM THE VERY START!!! But, first things first...
While I was reading it I thought it was a quirky combination of 2 Broke Girls and Once Upon a time. It starts with Catherine and Mary Ann, one gentry and the other one maid, just two girls dreaming about opening a bakery in their hometown, Hearts. Catherine, though, soon finds out that the King is thinking about proposing to her, thing that'll relegate her to a life of nobility, sure, but also unhappiness. And if she was already thinking about denying the King her hand, she became even more stubborn when she unexpectedly found herself slowly falling in love with the Court's jester, Jest. Jester, with his impossibility and charm and the name that weirdly resambles his very job and his cheekiness and tea parties and magic, how can a girl resist him? But Jest has a secret, a secret that might keep them both from totally giving into each other.
"But hoping," he said, "is how the impossible can be possible after all."
The world building felt natural, a thing difficult to achieve when the source material is basically a long stream of nonsense. The characters relatable and different from one another, each one with its quirks and flaws.
The overall story simple to follow yet difficult to let go, I couldn't spend more than two of my waking hours not reading it. It's been a tiresome week, I can assure you! Heartless has been dark and eerie, funny and light-hearted in equal measure. And if you have any familiarity with the classic story this will be the best Alice retelling you've ever read! (in case it won't be, to each their own I guess!) I had no idea this was going to be a prequel to "Alice in Wonderland and through the Looking-Glass" when I first picked it up so when everything wrapped up in the end I was a squealing mess!!
"When pleased, I beat like a drum. When sad, I break like glass. Once stolen, I can never be taken back. What am I?"
The ending was amazing! When each tile took its rightful place in this beautiful mosaic I was astounded! Heartbroken and crying... but astounded!
Finally I warn you, although having loved this book I must admit that plot wise there's not much, there's not adventure and few action scenes. The story relies mainly on Cath and her character's development so it might not be everyone's favourite. As for me it's my jam!!