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Book review: 'Heartless' by Marissa Meyer tells origin story of the Queen of Hearts

Posted November 6

"HEARTLESS," by Marissa Meyer, Feiwel & Friends, $19.99, 464 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Author Marissa Meyer, best known for her Lunar Chronicles series, told the Deseret News in a previous interview that she came up with the idea for "Heartless" when talking to her agent about how she wished Gregory Maguire, author of "Wicked," would write a book about the Queen of Hearts from "Alice in Wonderland."

"My agent looked at me and said, 'Marissa, you're a writer. Maybe you should be doing it,'" Meyer said.

Thus came "Heartless," which gives the back story and motive for how the Queen of Hearts became the vindictive tyrant she is in Lewis Carroll's tale that was published more than 150 years ago.

For the first 90 percent of the story, the reader falls in love with Lady Catherine Pinkerton, the daughter of a marquess who is being fiercely courted by the King of Hearts. Cath doesn't want the status and power of becoming queen — rather, she has a strong passion for baking, and her dream is to open the best bakery in Hearts with her maid and childhood friend, Mary Ann.

Cath also wants to marry for love, a desire that grows exponentially as she falls deeply in love with the king's new joker, Jest. With her parents pushing her to marry the king and, as the legendary monster the Jaberwock threatens the kingdom, there are more than a few obstacles in Cath's path to achieving her dreams.

Though readers know what ultimately becomes of the Queen of Hearts, Meyer makes them root for Cath so, even when the inevitable ending comes, readers will be begging for it not to be true. This tragic story is filled with a heartwarming romance, mouthwatering descriptions of baked goods, pulse-pounding action and, of course, the kooky oddities that accompany any tale of Wonderland.

"Heartless" contains several violent scenes that are not overly graphic but no offensive language or sexual content. It's recommended for ages 12-18.

Email: mbulsiewicz@deseretnews.com

Twitter: mgarrett589

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