On My Bookshelf: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

July 17, 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer is a "prequel" to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and reveals how the Queen of Hearts, Catherine, became such a fury-filled tyrant. Catherine's story begins with her dream of opening a bakery, her overbearing, but well-meaning mother and a secret love. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer is a "prequel" to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and reveals how the Queen of Hearts, Catherine, became such a fury-filled tyrant. Catherine's story begins with her dream of opening a bakery, her overbearing, but well-meaning mother and a secret love. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: I loved the Lunar Chronicles, also by Marissa Meyer, which are futuristic retellings of famous fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White). Heartless is a stand alone novel that focuses on a literary villain instead of a heroine and is a prequel rather than a retelling, similar to Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Heartless was full of wonderful details from Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass like the mad hatter's tea party and playing croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs, as well as characters such as the Chesire Cat and the Caterpillar.

Catherine is a multi-dimensional character; she loves baking and longs to open her own shop, but fears that her parents won't let her follow that dream. Her fickle nature drove me crazy at times, but as a daughter with parents who also held high expectations for me, I understood her desire to please them even when it went against her own desires.


Classroom application: This novel would be appropriate for middle or high school students. It could be used as part of a fairy tale or fractured fairy tale unit as an independent choice (it's long, 464 pages). It could also be used as a mentor text, inspiring students to write their own prequels to famous fairy tales or children's stories.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Heartless for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

You Might Also Like

0 comments