‘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.’
I received this novel twice, once as a Netgalley review copy and the other as a free book with exclusive cover from Owlcrate last year. The novel is set before Alive in Wonderland in the kingdom of Hearts. Have you ever wondered how the Queen of Hearts came to be? Why she would be so fond of tarts and wanting to cut off people’s heads? Marissa Meyer’s latest novel looks at the young woman who became the infamous Queen of Hearts and what it took to get her there.
I’ve heard again and again online that Meyer’s novels have to be read by any Young Adult fan. I loved the idea of this novel, that we could have a glimpse into what the Queen of Hearts was, what shaped her to be the character we all had in our heads. We are introduced to Catherine on the eve of the King’s ball. Catherine, the daughter of nobility, has dreams to open a bakery with her maid and friend, after all, she is the best baker in all of Hearts. It seems, however, that fate has something else in store for her. To be the Queen of Hearts, she must first follow her own.
While I can see the appeal of this novel, such as some of the fantastic description, it really wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with Catherine and felt she could have been so much more, rather than acting rather spoilt and often selfish. There were some redeeming qualities and the novel and character had a lot of promise at the beginning but as the plot wore on I found myself getting more and more frustrated with Catherine and her sense of what was right.
At times the novel could be quite slow, I found myself feeling as if I was reading the same passages repeated over and over. Catherine doesn’t seem to do much with her days. I wanted so badly for her to be a strong and independent character who took charge, but unfortunately, I felt that most of the time I was reading a bit of a cliché, her thoughts and actions were that of a damsel in distress type character through the majority of the book. I just wanted her to say no for once!
I’ve given this two stars, simply because I didn’t feel it lived up to the hype that I have seen online. The plot had its merit and Meyer’s description is nothing short of magical, however, the characters both bored and irritated me. I don’t know what I was expecting, possibly more strength and dignity from Catherine’s character? Mostly I just felt like it could have been so much more than it was.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing this book for review.