Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I might have mentioned that Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite authors. She is a genius with twisting fairytales into stories. She is a master of creating amazing plots. She steals my heart with her lovely characters and no matter the pain she causes me, she always has me reading and re-reading her books. Her books are inspirational. They are beautifully crafted and I not only find new elements of the stories twisted into them every time I read back through but find new lessons on writing and developing character, plot, and setting.
I am so thankful for my sister who went to Barnes and Noble in my place one fateful day and chose the book Cinder for me as my reward for good grades.
But this post is not about The Lunar Chronicles (which will likely always be my favorite book/series unless Marissa Meyer releases something even better) but rather is about Heartless which I re-read not long ago. The twist on the story of Alice in Wonderland was released after The Lunar Chronicles books (but I think before some of the extras, it all gets a bit messed up in there). It is the story of Catherine (SPOILER: the queen of hearts) before she became that way. She wants to be a baker with her friend (and maid) Mary Ann and does not want to marry the queen. To top it all off, she falls in love with someone else. Now she really doesn't want to marry the queen.
The book is great (like all the rest of Marissa Meyer's books). She does a good job of twisting elements of wonderland in (I just found out the other day that even the name "Mary Ann" is from the Wonderland books!) and she makes it feel as though it is set in wonderland while still telling it with her own feel. The book is not a Caroll book. It is told with lots of fun, wild adventures, and loopy craziness, but it is also told with a darker side, with a time limit, and with the knowledge that the main character will become the Queen of Hearts. Meyer doesn't abandon her own style to tell the story but she does employ some of Carroll's elements which makes the story as good as it is.
She also does a good job of something that The Lunar Chronicles are not: a fairytale twist in a fairytale world. While the Lunar Chronicles are set in our world (but in the future), Heartless is set in an entirely different world that Meyer has to make up and set the rules for and she does a great job of that. Even without a map in the book, you get a general idea of where everything is. Laws of time and place are not broken (beyond how they should be in Wonderland) and there are clear rules of the world (what's expected and what is not/what can happen and what can't).
Overall, a great (if sad) book that I would recommend to anyone particularly those who are lovers of fairytale twists or of Carroll. It is also one of the books I would recommend to buy (in hardback) and not just rent because below this lovely cover is an even lovelier one on the actual hardback itself (something you rarely see). The book is absolutely stunning and an amazing read. Add it to your shelf!