C.G. Drews's Reviews > Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
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bookshelves: magical-fantasy, read-2016, retelling, young-adult

It started off well with immense amounts of baking and the promise of the bizarre and creative nonsense that every Wonderland retelling should hold. But then...disappointment.

I had high expectations due to my love of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. Sadly, Heartless fails.

• There is literally so much cake and dessert.
• There IS quite a bit of the goodness of Wonderland's nonsense. Not enough though, which is annoying to me.
• Jest was actually a gift. He's the love interest, in a sort of "forbidden" romance as he's the King's jester and the King is courting Cath (our protagonist) .... so like for "propriety's sake" she could never be with him. Jest has lemon yellow eyes (shh I don't know either, but it works) and he's a wickedly good magician, but keeps his tricks simple and fun. And he's adorkable and charming.
• I love how it included some other fairy tale elements. It relied heavily on the Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater rhyme and also the raven from Poe's poem.

• It wasn't nearly mad enough. I was here for people to be screeching with madness but they bordered more on just the "insufferably stupid" lines instead of "intriguingly mad" which I was hoping for.
• The plot wasn't great. A spineless whingey girl tries to avoid marrying the king but not by doing anything active, just by whining about it in her room a lot. Dude. It started off so well and interestingly with Cath being all "I WANNA BE A BAKER!" But it quickly dissolved into 400+ pages of her never doing anything for herself.
• Why did the king even want to marry her? Surely there were other girls in Heart who could bake?? Because that seemed to be the only interest he had in her: "ooh she makes cupcakes I shall marry her". wtf dude
• Following that, why did Jest care about her? And yes he did sprout the "You're different, Cath!" line which made me want to throw a lemon at his head. Can we let that line die. But he keeps saying how she's brave and strong and clever and literally she just makes macaroons.
• I didn't like Cath. She could NOT do a thing for herself, like make a decision or a stand, until she had a boy supporting her. Where is feminism?? Did it take a nap whilst this book were written.
• Speaking of which: it's got a Victorian England setting so it's very rooted in sexism. I avoid Historical Fiction because I can't stand how sexist it is. I get that it's historically accurate. But we have a fantasy worlds with magical pumpkins and a Jabberwock eating people and we can't have equality??The whole thing was 100% sexist the whole way through and I just got so frustrated. Especially when Cath never fought it.
• It was terribly slow.
• It was literally 300 pages before anything happened. So yeah it's a prequel and Cath isn't lopping off heads yet, but I mean the most exciting action scene was a cake getting cut basically.
• The Jabberwock could've eaten more people? Like. Maybe Cath.
• The ending SHOULD'VE punched my feels but it didn't because I was so annoyed. I just had a bit of a "oh well that was obviously going to happen" moment instead of "OMG I'VE BEEN DESTROYED!!" Because Cath is an idiot and doesn't listen to obvious things. (view spoiler)
• It needed more OFFING WITH HEADS. Let's be real.

It was wildly slow, disappointing, and plot-lacking and not NEARLY enough things got beheaded.

(I prefer dark bloody retellings.)
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Marissa Meyer
“The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.”
Marissa Meyer, Heartless

Reading Progress

April 1, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
April 1, 2014 – Shelved
December 20, 2016 – Started Reading
December 20, 2016 –
page 133
29.36% "The sheer amount of desserts in this book is actually SPEAKING TO MY SOUL."
December 21, 2016 –
page 207
45.7% "Okay...I ADMIT. A teeny tiny bit disappointed so far. Like the plot is "Will Cath Grow A Backbone And Not Marry A Man She Hates" which is dull. \n\nPls someone get stabbed soon. There's a freaking sword on the front cover. WHERE IS MY STABBING."
December 21, 2016 –
page 323
71.3% "Why is the font so DARN TINY?????? Excuse me while I get my spectacles, a magnifying glass, and the hubble telescope to try and read this."
December 21, 2016 –
page 410
90.51% "The Biggest Heart Shredding Scene Of Ever DIDN'T EVEN MAKE ME SAD because I'm so annoyed at the annoying spineless catastrophe that is Cath."
December 22, 2016 – Shelved as: magical-fantasy
December 22, 2016 – Shelved as: retelling
December 22, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
December 22, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 22, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 164 (164 new)

Emily // Mixed Margins But the FOOD, Cait.

message 2: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Emily: I LOVE THE FOOD.

Dawnie Can't wait to hear what you think about this one! :)

Marguerite Great review! I'm about to start this book soon and I've read several reviews like this, so now my expectations have been dropped appropriately. Also, completely agree with Splintered being an awesome series!!!

 Adesuwa Grace (Somewhat Reserved) Still wanna read it, though I'll only get it in the library now.

message 6: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam I'd rather have a Chess set prequel with the adventures of Jest, Hatta, and Raven (throw Cheshire in for good measure) than a straight up sequel, but we shared a lot of the same sentiments. And much preferred Off With Her Head Cath (not enough) to spineless baking Cath (too much).

message 7: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Marguerite: Oooh, I can't wait to hear what you think when you finish!! I don't think it was bad or anything..just disappointing. ;_;

@Grace: I hope you like it better than I did! :P

message 8: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Sam: OMG YES THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. I'd rather the whole book had been about Jest honestly?!? He was so much more interesting.


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message 11: by V ♡ (new)

V ♡ So there is no stabbing people before 300 pages?! And I was excited to read this *sighs*

message 12: by Jack (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jack Reynolds Yeah, there were parts with Cat bugged me as well. Sometimes I liked her, but there were a few scenes where she did act a bit immature for my liking.

Also, from all the times I've checked, I'm pretty sure that this is a stand-alone book. Meyer has another project (its first book is set to come out next year), and it involves superheroes and villains. A prequel novella with Jest doesn't sound like a bad thing though. :P

Bookevin I agree with your thoughts so much. The paperback font is insufferably tiny and I had such a hard time reading it. But then it has some redeeming qualities. Overall, the book was quite disappointing if you've read what Meyer could come up with in TLC!

Stephanie I couldn't stand Cath either!! And here I thought it was just me bc I didn't care for Cinder (sorry!) but as the novel progressed (did it?) I felt more and more utter mehness to Cath. I would have loved for the Jabberwocky to eat her, that would have been fabulous!

Emily // Mixed Margins Is there going to be a sequel? The last I heard it was a standalone.

As far as the name "Mary Ann" goes, I think there's actually a character named that in the animated Disney version. The white rabbit keeps calling out her name when Alice ruins the house. No idea if it's the same character.

I pretty much agree with most of what you said. There wasn't enough madness. I think we were expecting Cinder and we got Fairest instead? But without an amazing series to fall back on?

julianna ➹ Well, I actually really enjoyed the book. I guess we have different tastes, then.
I actually really wished that there was more action going on, wouldn't it be great if Cath actually got to go to Chess?
Hopefully there's a prequel of Jest's story and about Chess and the Mad Hatter.

And I absolutely LOVED Cheshire Cat.

message 17: by Tessa (last edited Dec 22, 2016 01:23PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tessa Yes, I definitely agree on the disappointment front. :/

Whitney Grace I liked this book! And I agree with all of your likes! And even though I didn't pick up on your dissappoinments, I see them now. Thank you, Cait. :)

message 19: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Angel: True sadness for the lack of stabbiness. :/

@Dazz: Agreed! I mean, she was awesome at times, but overall it was a bit hard to root for her, I felt. AND I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A STANDALONE OMG. I thought this was a whole series. *shrieks* I'm so sad now!!

message 20: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Bookevin: It definitely wasn't "bad"....just not the same epic quality of TLC absolutely. *sighs*

@Stephanie: I preferred Cath at the beginning but....her decision making process was KINDA DUMB. *runs into a brick wall*

@Emily: Omggg, I have no idea why I thought this was a series. YOU'RE RIGHT IT'S NOT. *shrieks into the void* I did actaully like Fairest though? But yes, absolutely, I was expecting something the same level as Cinder. I just don't get it because EVERY girl in TLC was really epic and independent and complex and Cath was just like a very vanilla waffle in comparison. :/

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C.G. Drews @Julianna: I'm happy you loved it! :) I do wish it was a series so we could've seen Cath go to Chess. ;_;

@Josiphine: *cries with you*

@Sapphire: I'm happy for you!

message 22: by Zoe (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zoe #BookishTwinsStrikeAgain xD

Esther YOU NO LIKE?? Sadness. I guess the slowness only bothered me a bit, but I kind of just accepted the fact that it wasn't going to be pure stabbiness and went with it. And the historical sexism and soinelessness was definitely infuriating SO I SEE WHERE YOU'RE COMING FROM. But I literally need Jest like right now.

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@C: Jest tho. Jest was adorable and I have tragic feels right now. And like I did know it wasn't going to be as stabby as I wanted it to be, but the lack of plot except "pls don't let Cath marry a weird king" was a bit draining on me tbh. :/ SORRY.

message 25: by Tara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara Do you know if this book is going to have a sequel or is it just a stand alone?

message 26: by Inês (new)

Inês I COMPLETELY AGREE! However, I seem to have enjoyed it a little more than you :)

message 27: by Charley (new)

Charley Robson Blah. It had me going until the useless spineless protagonist. Siiigh.

message 28: by Dash (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dash Oh nuuuiii I bought it hardback and left for later reads and more often than not we share similar bookish feels :(

message 29: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Tara: I thought it was a series but apparently it's just a standalone!

@Inês: I'm glad you had more of a good time with it!! I mean, I still like it. But I'm also mad. xD

@Charley: It's suuuuuch a shame after ALL the awesome heroines in The Lunar Chronicles.

@Dash: Eeek, sorry!! But maybe you might like it a little better than I did??! I hope!

message 30: by E.C. (new) - rated it 4 stars

E.C. Elliot i felt like i was the only one who was disappointed and im glad to see i'm not. I was super excited but it fell so short :(

message 31: by E.C. (new) - rated it 4 stars

E.C. Elliot and i do agree about Jest. i looooove Jest. ;D

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C.G. Drews @EC: It definitely had a LOT of goodness, but yeah, overall? So disappointed. :/ Apart from Jest who was the gift to the universe.

Holly Yessss, I agree so much with your review! I really did enjoy this one, but MAN, the Queen of Hearts is one of my fave villains of ever, so I wanted to love this. Incredibly disappointed I didn't. There was just like NO plot whatsoever, and you want me to believe this girl (was not a fan of her name either! though I did like her as a character) became her? MHMM NO I DON'T THINK SO. But omg Jest. JEST. He was adorable, and honestly the ship was what kept me so invested. But yeah, overall, I wish it'd been better and WAY more mad than it was. GIMME MORE OF MAD WONDERLAND.

Sadness. Someone else needs to write another (better) origin story for the infamous Queen of Hearts. Did you ever read Fairest? I was disappointed with that one, so I'm wondering if villain stories just aren't Marissa's strength.

message 34: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Holly: I did like Fairest but it DEFINITELY wasn't on par with TLC either...and I agree?!? Like maybe villains are just not Marissa Meyer's strength. XD Because Levana honestly wasn't the most terrifying villain either. haha. And yeeeeeah. Cath had such a pendulum swing it was a bit hard to believe? Jest is basically the reason the earth continues spinning though, BECAUSE HE IS ADORABLE, and I was definitely invested in the ship too!! I love how he waited and was so polite the whole time and he let her know he loved her but waited for to make the decisions. <3 Gentleman omg.
I'm just going to sit here and cryyyyyy that it wasn't everything I wanted it to be. D:

message 35: by sumi (new) - rated it 2 stars

sumi Oh no. My order just came today... Also have you looked at the UK paperback?? IT IS HORRIBLE. Ugh

message 36: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Prabhleen: Heeey, you might like it better than I did!! I HOPE YOU DO ANYWAY. :P And oh, no? I thought this was the UK paperback actually?

message 37: by Kira (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kira Simion I really wanted this to be a series. :(

Fifi | A Fairytale Dream I completely agree, this book was so slow! The ending was pretty good and that's what kept me from giving it a below average rating but literally nothing happened until about 300 pages in. I could've summed up everything in literally one paragraph. That's probably my biggest pet peeve in books and it felt like most of this book was a huge waste of time.

message 40: by Aneta (new) - added it

Aneta Bak I was totally about to buy this book until I read your review. I hate stupid whiny main characters, and boring beginnings. I probably wouldn't have finished this book if I bought it. So thanks for saving me $20 :)

Laura This is all of my feelings about this book. The worst part was that I had a chance to buy a lovely limited edition cover before I read my initial copy so...I actually have two copies of this now. Ugh.

message 42: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Laura: At least it's pretty!! I'm not sorry I read it or hate it but eh, just really disappointed and blah. XD

message 43: by Elli (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elli *Fanatical.Fantasy* "The entire plot of Heartless is: a spineless whingey girl tries to avoid marrying the king but not by doing anything active, just by whining about it in her room a lot." I ACTUALLY COULDNT AGREE ANY MORE IF I BLOODY TRIED!!!! OMG YOU SUMMED UP MY HATE FOR THIS BOOK IN A SENTENCE!

Briana I agree that Cath is irritating, but I think that was part of the point. What kind of person would become the intolerable Queen of Hearts? Probably someone without much compassion or confidence. Sure, she has a turning point in the book, but I think some of those negative personality traits were there all along, and *that* is how you become a villain.

message 45: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Briana: Hmm, I can see what you mean. The personality flip was a little too sudden though. I don't see how should could become an entirely different person overnight. And the Queen of Hearts (according to all the Lewis books!) wasn't a spineless weepy character imo, yet Cath was.

Cassandra urgh, great now I'm slightly put off... I hope it's at least a good enough read that outways the dissapointment :(

Christina (Ensconced in Lit) omg I totally agree with you (see my review); it's like you and I had very similar experiences with this book! I had a hard time with Catherine. I thought Fairest was a much superior book and so I expected much much more from this one.

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C.G. Drews @Christina: Agreed! Levana somehow went from just a "sort of average girl" to a psychotically driven evil queen and it was convincing?!? But then maybe I felt more for Levana because she was abused by her sister and unloved (that felt deeper)...whereas Cath turned into an evil queen purely a boy she met (view spoiler) after knowing him for like a few weeks??!

Rachel :) EXACTLY!!! I was fan freaking excited for this book, and it FAILED ON SO MANY LEVELS. The insta-love *barfs* Cath was a needy 4-year-old. I'm so so SO sad because I know what Meyer is capable of and this ISNT IT.

message 50: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Rachel: AGh, I'm totally with you sadly. I wanted to love it but the further I read the more disappointed I got. :/ Let's hope her next superhero series is better?!?

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