“Murderer, martyr, monarch, mad.” // Review of “Heartless” by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre:
YA/fairytale retelling
Date Read: 30/11/2016 – 06/12/2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: 

With it now being about a year since I finished reading the final installment of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, I had forgotten just  how much I loved her writing. Heartless certainly reminded me!

Catherine is the daughter of the Marquess of Rock Turtle Cove, and destined to be married to the King of Hearts. All she wants to do is open a bakery with her best friend, Mary Ann. When she falls for the mysterious new court joker, she knows she will put him above everything else, and if the worst happens, she will seek vengeance.

Meyer once again creates a vibrant ensemble cast of characters. Catherine’s journey from idealistic, privileged young girl to cold and hardened Queen of Hearts is a well-written progression, even if towards the end I did want to shake her and tell her that she’s only seventeen and new love will come her way.

really loved Jest as a love interest, mostly because he’s not that entitled douchebag of a love interest that seems so popular in today’s YA fiction. While his origins are mysterious (we learn more about him as the book goes on and he starts being more honest with Cath), he comes to genuinely care for Cath. While their romance was over-the-top in that way that teenagers are always over-the-top about that sort of thing, insofar as this is a teenage romance we’re reading, it read and developed really well (even if it is in a similar vein to Romeo and Juliet in terms of heaps of passion in a short amount of time all ending in tears).

The side characters are all well-drawn, even if I do want to shake them. The King is bumbling and shy, Cath’s parents are well-intentioned but frustrating. Hatta, a colleague of Jest’s who you may have guessed is the precursor the Mad Hatter, was a particular favourite, along with Jest’s Raven, who speaks in rhyme in the same meter as Edgar Allan Poe’s (in fact, in her author’s note, Marissa Meyer says she likes to think that this Raven is the one from the poem, and I’m very happy to roll with that).

The world-building is simple, but effective, and Meyer works in many references to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. The plot ducks and weaves, and there was a period in the middle where I thought it started meandering a bit, but as with the Lunar Chronicles, everything ties up very cleverly in the end. And when I say “cleverly” I mean, everything falls apart and the ending will leave you feeling like you were punched in the gut, but…

I had high hopes for this book because I find it so hard to find any Alice in Wonderland-inspired books that I actually like. I really hope more writers take a leaf out of Marissa Meyer’s book, rather than trying to do the whole “quirky teenager finds out she is the descendant of Alice Liddell”-type story. This one really worked!


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 07 December, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

heartlesscoverI mentioned last week that Heartless by Marissa Meyer had come in for me at the library. I read it over a few short days and loved it. The ending felt like a bit of a punch in the gut but I’m not sure what else I was expecting for an origin story about the Queen of Hearts. My review will go up on Monday.

thetwocoverI also finished listening to The Two by Will Carver. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Girl 4; I felt there was a bit too much misdirection so the twist didn’t feel so much like a twist as it becoming a completely different story.

Then I read a graphic novel version of the Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is not on GoodReads! I know I could add it myself but I’m lazy. 😛

elenorecoverAnd last but not least, I finished Eléonore by our very own Faith Rivens (who was kind enough to provide me an ARC), and quite enjoyed it, particularly in the second half. I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I’ve also posted reviews of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks and Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven this week.

What are you currently reading?

fairestcoverI have started reading Fairest by Marissa Meyer. It’s the Lunar Chronicles prequel focusing on Queen Levana. Possibly reading this so soon after Heartless will leave me feeling rather down, but oh well. This should be quite a quick read, I read the first 15% in my half-hour lunch break.

What do you think you’ll read next?

lettersendoflovecoverI mentioned last week that my last Australian Women Writers Challenge book for the year is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. I definitely want to read that next. I did post a full December TBR last week. I’m hoping to finish the challenges I signed up for at the start of the year. I’m so close!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This week I’ve added the digits of the date and the month together and I have ten sentences. Clara has just been forced to witness the execution of her parents. Maybe. They just disappeared in a flash of blue light so I’ve left myself open. Either way, Clara is assuming the worst. She’s in a room in the palace, the execution takes place outside in a courtyard.

“No!” Clara screamed, finally finding her voice.

As heads turned towards her, the guard who had opened the window hurriedly closed it again.

“No!” she screamed again. “No, no, no, no!”  She pounded on the glass with her fists before she was pulled away and the curtains were drawn. Once again she was being dragged out the door, down the corridor. She struggled in the soldiers’ grip, but it was to no avail. They were far stronger than she. When that failed, she let herself go limp in their arms; she wasn’t going to make it easy for them. They grunted as they were forced to support her entire weight, but they continued to drag her along with them.

On the upside, this does at least lead to Clara escaping (temporarily) from the guy who is rather successfully taking over her kingdom right now.

That’s it from me for now. I will do my best to get to your blogs this week, but I have choir practices tomorrow and Friday nights, then an audition and our concert on Saturday. But I’ll try to squeeze it in!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 30 November, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

heatandlightcover

I read the first of the graphic novels I got from the library, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks. I liked what it was trying to do but I felt it got a bit caught up in the message it was conveying and forgot about good storytelling.

By the time I post this, I will have also finished, or very nearly finished reading Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven. I really liked the first two stories, but didn’t quite click with the third one as much. This is the second-last book for my Australian Women Writers 2016 Challenge! And I have the last one sitting on my bedside chest, woot woot!

What are you currently reading?

thetwocoverI’ve started listening to The Two by Will Carver, which is the sequel to Girl 4, which I mentioned in last week’s post. I’m not getting through it quite as quickly as I did Girl 4, and I’m not feeling quite as much tension. But it’s still well-written and I do want to find out what’s going on, so I will continue with it.

I had to return Six of Crows to the library unfinished as I had been struggling to find the concentration to read, and the due date snuck up on me! Unfortunately, the way our library system is set up means that you can’t renew books when people have them reserved after you, so I’ll have to get back to that one in the new year.

What do you think you’ll read next?

heartlesscoverMy last Australian Women Writers Challenge book for the year is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. Heartless by Marissa Meyer has also come in for me at the library and I’m pretty excited to read that, so it’ll probably be next. I also have Stars Above on hold and it has been saying on my record that it is in transit to my local branch for a week now! So I’m going to ask them about it when I go in this evening.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I’ve added the 3 from 30 to the 11 from the month and I have five sentences for you today. Max is trying to get into the King’s chambers to obtain a possession of the King’s. No one is sure whether the royal family is alive or dead, but if they can get something owned by one of them, they can perform a magic trace to check. Of course, the King’s quarters are being guarded by soldiers from the invading force, so Max has aided himself with a shield and enhanced strength.

Max took a step back just in time to avoid the soldier as he lurched forward. He felt a pulse through the air around him as the soldier’s fist hit against his invisible shield. The man cried out in pain. Max smiled grimly to himself. It was good to know for certain that he had activated the runes correctly. 

That’s it from me this week! I will hopefully make it around to as many of your blogs as I can as soon as possible. I have a visit from my landlord tomorrow so I need to power through the rest of our tidying up tonight, and then I have choir tomorrow after that, and I’m going to the theatre Friday, but we’ll see how it goes!

~ Emily