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4.4 41
by Marissa Meyer

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Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts,


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Before she was the Queen of Hearts in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she was Catherine, the spirited daughter of royalty, destined to wed the King of Hearts but determined to set up shop as a baker with her best friend and longtime maid. In this whimsical standalone tale, readers follow Catherine’s simultaneous courtships with the jovial king and his court joker, Jest, whose earnest boyishness makes him far more charming than his royal boss. Caught between her own desires and her mother’s stop-at-nothing goal to make her daughter queen, Catherine must decide how much she will risk for a future with Jest. Meyer’s Wonderland is a fun and more refined version of Carroll’s, and readers will enjoy the obvious parallels. Jest and Catherine have a playfully clandestine relationship, but it’s a slow build-up to the inevitable clash between what Catherine wants and what reality demands. Meyer’s worldbuilding is extensive and impressive, and the persistent threat of a destructive Jabberwock lends tension, but the story lacks the high-stakes danger that fans of the Lunar Chronicles have come to expect. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"In Heartless, the nonsense that is Wonderland gets a reverential makeover, full of heart and its own idiosyncratic character."--Gregory Maguire, WICKED and AFTER ALICE

"The author’s best fantasy yet. ...Meyer has woven all the elements of darkness and light, fate and free will, and love and hatred into an unforgettable story of the evolution of the Red Queen from a young girl who dreamed of true love and freedom to a madwoman best remembered for the phrase 'Off with his head.' If you only read one fractured fairy tale this year, make it Heartless. A must-have title.--School Library Journal, starred review

Praise for Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series:

#1 New York Times Bestselling Series
USA Today Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
National IndieBestseller

“A mash-up of fairy tales and science fiction . . . a crossbetween Cinderella, The Terminator,and Star Wars.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Prince Charming among the cyborgs.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Terrific.” —LosAngeles Times

“A binge-reading treat.” —MTV

“Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre.” —The Seattle Times

“Epic . . . Breathtaking.” —Teen Vogue

“Utterly thrilling.” —PublishersWeekly

“Wonderfully addictive.” —Buzzfeed

School Library Journal
★ 09/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—The author's best fantasy yet. In her inspired reimagining of Lewis Carroll's inimitable adventures in Wonderland, Meyer has explored the world that existed before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. All Lady Catherine wants to do is open her own bakery with the help of her maid. She has no wish to wear beautiful dresses or go to balls, and she certainly has no desire whatsoever to marry the good-natured, bumbling, childlike king. But that seems to be her fate until she meets the king's handsome and mysterious new joker, Jest. Although his mission is to steal Lady Catherine's heart and take it to the White Queen, who would use it to overcome the enemies of her realm, he falls in love with her instead. Employing all the best aspects of Carroll's book—the White Rabbit, croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos, suits of cards, and the Jabberwocky—Meyer has woven all the elements of darkness and light, fate and free will, and love and hatred into an unforgettable story of the evolution of the Red Queen from a young girl who dreamed of true love and freedom to a madwoman best remembered for the phrase Off with his head. VERDICT If you only read one fractured fairy tale this year, make it Heartless. A must-have title.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Children's Literature - Laura Ruttig
Catherine lives in a land of magic, where she can dream of a lemon tree and awake to find it full-grown in her bedroom. Unfortunately, magic does not solve all problems. Catherine and her maid Mary Ann have dreamed of opening a bakery for years, but Catherine suddenly finds herself courted by the rather simple-minded King of Hearts. Can she defy her parents’ expectations to break out on her own? How will she and Mary Ann afford to open the bakery? These questions are tough enough for her to answer; but when the mysterious Jest arrives in town, Catherine must also decide whether to take a chance on love. The unexpected appearance of the monstrous Jabberwocky adds another twist to this fast-paced adventure. Turning the story of Alice in Wonderland on its head, Meyer blends elements of Carroll’s master works into a fantastic and unique fairy tale—happy ending not guaranteed. Fans of Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” series will love this stand-alone adventure, as will any Lewis Carroll fan. Reviewer: Laura Ruttig; Ages 14 up.

Product Details

Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.60(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


Meet the Author

Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Fairest: Levana's Story, and Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection.

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Heartless 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
I have read the lunar chronicles and knew I would not be disappointed with Heartless and I was right! So heart wrenching I died a little when I finished. Definitely recommend this to any fan of Wonderland
Anonymous 7 months ago
Oh my god. I was surprised by how much I LOVEEED this book. It is an amazing take on the red queen before she became evil. I finished this book a week ago and I still cant stop thinking about it. Damn
cloggiedownunder 10 months ago
Heartless is the first stand-alone fantasy novel by American author, Marissa Meyer. Lady Catherine Pinkerton, daughter of the Marquess of Rock Turtle Cove, has one fervent desire: to open her own bakery in the Main Street of the Kingdom of Hearts. But her ambitious mother has other ideas. Determined that her daughter will draw the King’s attention, the Marchioness ensures that Cath is the only one dressed in red at the King’s Black and White Ball. And this is where Cath meets the man of her dreams (literally), but it’s not the King. Every good story needs a character to despise, but did you ever wonder how the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland got to be so imperious, so cranky, so very despicable? Marissa Meyer has given us her story. And what a tale it is! This prequel has all the essential Alice elements: the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the King of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the dreaded Jabberwock, as well as borrowing from other fiction and introducing brand new characters. Meyer gives the reader an ingenious plot with a few twists and an exciting climax. There is plenty of humour which takes the form of witty dialogue, a good dose of irony, a generous helping of puns and lots of other word play, including clever rhymes. There’s magic and an abundance of echoes of the original Alice. And there are moments that will cause a lump in the throat and maybe even a tear or two. This is a brilliant read and readers will wonder to what Meyer will turn her considerable talents next. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an amazing and well writen book. Marissa meyer has surpassed my expectations. After I finished this book my heart withered and died. It was soooooooooooooo sad! Overall i thoughly enjoyed this book and all you people who are reading this should buy this book right now!
LilyElementBookReviews 2 days ago
Heartless is a standalone novel that is a fairytale retelling all about the Queen of Hearts. I've seen a ton of retellings of Alice in Wonderland but never one focused on the Queen of Hearts. Since I've enjoyed the other Marissa Meyer books I've read, this was a must-read for me. Catherine Pinkerton aka Cath is an aspiring baker that wants to open a shop with her maid. Her mother has other plans for her though, Cath has caught the King's eye and while she manages to evade his marriage proposal at the ball it's only a matter of time. Escaping from the ball Cath stumbles into the court joker, Jest. Sparks and intrigue fly but both know the clock is ticking before the King proposes. They still meet secretly and their relationship blooms along with Cath's dreams. After several events occur, everything comes crashing back to reality and it had me wondering how the story would end. It wraps up well but made me a bit sad that this was just a standalone since I enjoyed the world so much. Wonderland was full of little details and quirky characters I came to love and I really hope we get a spin-off or a revisit into the world one day. MMeyer's writing is on point as always, and while the novel is long it doesn't drag. There are some nods towards the original Alice in Wonderland story we all know, but for the most part, the author makes the story unique and her own. I appreciated the take on why the Queen of Hearts turned out the way she did and found myself really enjoying the book. There were a few instances where I wanted to smack Cath for her thoughts/behavior but that happens to me with a lot of books. All in all, if you're a fan of fairytale retellings I think you'd enjoy this novel.
Anonymous 21 days ago
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Anonymous 3 months ago
This was SUCH a good book. I loved it from the minute I read the first sentence. I only have one question to ask: Why? Mrs. Meyer?! WHY? Why did it all have to happen, nevertheless it was a wonderlandiful book. It was a wonderful book that I now deem my favorite, now matter how sad it was. I absolutely fell in love with this book and if you've read this, I also recommend that you read the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer as well.
Anonymous 4 months ago
So very clever, and beautifully written. The story makes sense, tragic tale of how she loses her heart, hopeful while reading but inevitable ending.
Anonymous 5 months ago
The world that Marissa intertwines with the original Alice stories fits so well and is so magical!
Anonymous 7 months ago
I love this adaption, as well as the author! An engaging story that I couldnt put down for a moment. Truly an amazing novel. My only issue is the inbalance of allies. I felt like I was sometimes drowning in negative characters, that seemed negative for petty non apparent reasons. The only ally that Cath really seemed to have was Jest and sometimes Mary Ann. This ratio to how many people despised Cath seemed exausting. Though, this explains how cath reaction at the end of the book. Still an amazing story and novel ;)
KateUnger 7 months ago
Heartless is Marissa Meyer’s first stand-alone book, and for me the pacing was a little off. Marissa is amazing at world-building, and she did a great job playing around within Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. She imagined many insane elements and situations, but as someone who was fairly familiar with the world, I thought the beginning of the book was rather slow. I wanted to jump into the action right away. Also, once the action did start, there was almost too much going on. That being said though, I did really love this story. Catherine wants to be a baker. She and her housemaid have dreamed of opening their own shop, but Catherine’s mother has other plans. She wants her to marry the king. The king’s new jester, Jest, helps the king woo Catherine, while all the while falling in love with Catherine himself. Knowing that Catherine ultimately becomes the Queen of Hearts made the love triangle in this book a bit difficult to dive into with my full heart. I knew Catherine would have to pick the king, and not Jest. I just didn’t know how. This book was a wild ride, and it is definitely another masterpiece by Meyer. She is incredibly creative and that comes through so well in this book. But because this story dead ends into Lewis Carroll’s own books, all of the character development and world-building felt like a bit of a waste to me. I believe series are Marissa’s true calling, and I cannot wait for her upcoming trilogy. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-heartless-by-marissa-meyer/
Anonymous 7 months ago
Normally I don't like unhappy endings. The in satisfaction and fury that Cath feels grips you from the pages. The unfairness the unjustly nature of all the characters infuriates you. I'm glad I read this story just because everything can't have a happy ending.
19269684 8 months ago
A Great Backstory to the Queen of Hearts! A story that brings the Queen of Hearts to life, Heartless is The Beginning in of the woman we've all known and loved for her infamous phrase, "Off with their heads!" Marissa Meyer tells the story of how a young lady, entering into society, goes from being a loving, slightly defiant daughter, to a woman on true love's run. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, we find out how something as simple as a pumpkin can bring ruin to both land and life. Heartless brings the Queen of Hearts to life, sharing the Beginning of the woman we've all known and loved for her infamous phrase: "Off with their heads!" It tells of Catherine, who wants nothing more than to bake pastries and own her own bakery; a foolish dream for the daughter of a Marquess. But once Cath meets a mysterious jester and finds out the King of Hearts is going to propose, she discovers an adventure that disrupts everyone's lives and brings forth a new Catherine. One where she's reborn, a completely new woman and not for the better. Once I saw where the story was going, I was truly impressed. Heartless brought the backstory to a short and angry woman. It was raw and full of emotion. At first, I grew lost on the intense detail of Cath's life, but it was all for a purpose. Once you get past what's happening in her every day life and what it's leading to, you see that the story would have fizzled without it. From the very beginning, to the book's end, you know and understand everything. I love how fairy tales are coming to life these days. Every one has a version of someone else's story, but only when it's retold, with a magical flair and perfect precision can it flourish and become a success as I feel Heartless will. And I'm not saying that because I'm a Meyer fan. I think you'll enjoy this one, because not all stories have a happy ending... I met Meyer during the Fierce Tour, that stopped in Saint Charles, MO - she's amazing and so is this book Check it out, while I move on to another read! Cheers! www.areneehunt.com Heartless Marissa Meyer Feiwel & Friends November 8, 2016
Anonymous 8 months ago
I absolutely love Marissa Meyer's books. This book is amazing and I would read it a million and one times. I would recommend this book to any teen that is into fantasy, action, and a little romance. I was dying for Cath to well... never mind don't want to spoil anything. But I was rooting for everything that Cath did, she is a truly great character. Marissa Meyer could not have wrote this book more perfectly.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Sarah_UK1 8 months ago
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley.) “Off with his head.” This was a YA story about the Queen of Hearts before she became a Queen. I liked Catherine in this and I liked the way she hung on to her hopes and dreams when everything seemed hopeless. Her determination was quite admirable, and it was nice that she held on to that throughout the book. The storyline in this was about Catherine’s life prior to becoming the Queen of Hearts, including a romance with the court jester. I really liked the story about how Catherine became the hated Queen that she was, and I actually felt a heck of a lot of compassion for her and everything that she went through in this book. The king came across as a buffoon, and the court jester was a sweetheart, and I really liked the little twists we got thrown as the book went along. The ending to this was not a happily ever after, but it did set things up perfectly for Catherine to become the Queen of Hearts. 7.5 out of 10
PrincessBrenda 9 months ago
Words cannot describe my love and wonder for this lovely book. By the first few sentences, I was already hooked. The baked goodies Catherine makes, sound absolutely divine! Since I am a baker as well, I could practically taste them! The love story of Cath and Jest left me breathless and heartbroken. By the end of this book, I truly did feel heartless. The characters were brought to life before me. I loved Hatta, Cath, and of course, the mysterious Jest. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to enter into wonderland and follow along Cath's adventure and story.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I love how the character of the queen of hearts is developed. You feel for her and understand her pain brought her to be so cruel.
Anonymous 10 months ago
justyna245 11 months ago
ManiB 11 months ago
“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?” ― Marissa Meyer, Heartless After my last read being so violent and depraved I turned to Heartless hoping for something a little lighter. Something that would leave me with a good feeling. What I got instead was the absolute worst book hangover I have ever had. I finished it nearly a day ago now and it is still dancing around in my head. The story got it's hands in me and won't let me go. From Alice in Wonderland we all know the general cast of characters that come from the classic Lewis Carroll novel. We have The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts,the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and a bevy of other characters that all seem at least a little out of their right minds. They are all lovable in their own ways and have made a lasting impression across generations since initial publication in 1865. What we have in Heartless is (mostly) this same cast of characters before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. Before the reign of the Queen of Hearts. They each delighted and entertained me. Most broke my heart. Catherine, our lovely heroine, is a young woman with dreams of opening her own bakery with her maid and dear friend Mary Ann. Being the daughter of aristocrats her parents obviously don't want her filling her head with such nonsense as having a career or owning her own business. That, in their minds, is simply and utterly beneath them. What they want, which of course overrules anything Cath may want for herself, is to have their daughter married off to the King of Hearts. Cath is absolutely, unreservedly, and entirely against it. The king is a spineless dolt of a man who is very jovial in his ignorance of anything that could potentially be upsetting. His determination to ignore things that tip the happy balance of his kingdom has spread to his subjects and they all live in a contented state of cluelessness. The king plans to propose to Catherine, it never crossing his mind that she may be against it, at a ball and all the nobility in Hearts are invited. At the ball there is an attack by the dreaded Jabberwock and, luckily for Cath, his proposal is cut short and she dashes out into the night. And into the arms of Jest. Jest is the king's court jester and quickly becomes the love interest of Cath. Jest, while I adore him, never felt completely right to me as a character. He was just too perfect. The author has explanations for this within the book but it still just rubs me ever so slightly the wrong way. I want my hero to seem human, which seems silly in the context of a book where many of the characters are in fact not human. Humans have flaws and imperfections which make them relatable. Jest seems to have none of that. Luckily for him it doesn't make him obnoxious and you easily come to love him anyway. Throughout the story we also meet Hatta. Hatta, known by Alice as the Mad Hatter, is perfectly sane and logical, thank you very much. This is something I love about the book. We know that at some point Hatta's sanity takes a leave of absence but here he is an intelligent, logical man with an unprecedented talent for making hats and being mildly mysterious. We follow Cath in her adventures ... (review can be read in it's entirety at https://literaryweaponry.com/2017/01/17/heartless-by-marissa-meyer/ )
Anonymous 11 months ago
I couldn't stop reading and I fell in love with the characters.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
Heartless was incredible! I was so shocked by the ending and it was also so tragic. I hope Marissa Meyer writes a sequel to it because I'd definitely read it and highly recommend it to others.
blamethebooks More than 1 year ago
Oh, how excited I was when I heard that Marissa Meyer was coming out with a new book. I adore her Lunar Chronicles, so I was certain I would love whatever she wrote. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed with Heartless. The writing was still just as lovely as her other books, but the story, characters, and world fell completely flat for me. The characters were...fine. I didn't really hate them, but I didn't care for them at all. Cath and Jest had some major instalove going on that completely turned me off from both of them as characters and from their relationship. Cath's parents were absolutely ridiculous. They pushed their daughter towards a marriage that they knew she would be unhappy in. Then, once Cath had completely changed for the worst, they were suddenly concerned about her happiness. A little too late, folks. Honestly, the only character I really liked was the King, and I'm pretty sure he's the one character you aren't supposed to like. Oh well. The one thing that bothered me the most about Heartless was the world. I literally felt like I was reading a book set in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. It was such a disappointment because I know what kind of retellings Marissa Meyer is capable of. But with Heartless, it felt like she just plopped her story into a world that already existed. The white rabbit was really a white rabbit who was concerned with the time, the caterpillar was an actual caterpillar smoking hookah. They even played croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos. I kept hoping that she would make SOMETHING about the world unique, but it never happened. And that bothered me a lot. I found it interesting that Meyer even mentioned in her Author's Note that she was "abusing the work" of multiple authors with Heartless. That's really what it felt like to me - taking something that has already been written and trying to pass it off as something new. Ultimately, the writing really saved this book for me. It is the only reason that I gave it 2.5 stars. I didn't like the characters, I really didn't like the world, and I thought the plot wasn't anything special either. I will still read whatever Marissa Meyer writes because I know what she can create. But unfortunately, Heartless was a total miss for me.