Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 8th 2016
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. 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 a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
Initially I first wanted to read this book as I am a fan of Marissa Meyer, with her series The Lunar Chronicles being one of my favourite series. I’m not really a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I’ve seen all the movies but it isn’t something that really interests me. However, what does interest me is fairy tale retelling’s, now those I could read all day long, hence my love for Marissa Meyer. Upon starting the book I was most excited to discover how Marissa was going to incorporate the original Queen of Hearts (mean-spirited and angry) to the loving and caring Catherine; the way she did include little things that relate to the original story did very much excite me I must admit. In addition to this, you can’t help but feel a little bit sad as you’re reading it as Catherine (the Queen of Hearts) has dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and is in love with the charming and mysterious Jest, but despite what happens you already know the outcome of her life and doesn’t get anything she wants. So, although it is set in the wonderful and wacky wonderland full of crazy creatures and characters, there is a looming sense of sadness overhead.
Now, less sad talk and more Jest and Catherine talk. Who’s Jest you ask? Jest is the King of Hearts new jester (the name is very fitting) who very literally turned up out of nowhere and is Catherine’s (and maybe possibly mine) love interest. Their relationship is something to be envied, although Catherine is courting the king (which let me point out isn’t as fancy as it seems as he like a bumbling excited child) these two just can’t keep away from each other whether that is at fancy balls – there are several of those – or polo games or even the Mad Hatter’s tea party. They truly bring out the best in each other and it was really pleasing to see the mean, stern Queen of Hearts as an ordinary young girl with hopes, dreams and love in her heart. It may be hard to imagine such innocence and love coming from the Queen of Heart’s herself but as the story progresses there are many obstacles that arise and you can slowly but surely see the lovely Catherine slip away.
Jest however, stays wonderful the whole way through the book. He is courteous, funny and most importantly an impeccable jester, but he does have an air of mystery surrounding him and throughout you’re always trying to figure out who is and where he came from. Until you do. But i’ll that for you to find out. That is not all the excitement and mystery either, there is also a Jabberwocky on the loose terrorising Wonderland adding another somewhat exciting element to the narrative.
Despite my love for Marissa Meyer, i’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t the best of reads. The writing was good but nothing too spectacular and I found that at times I got a little bored with it, but despite this I did overall enjoy it as it was very easy to read and you just glide through it, so I’d say it is a perfect light summer/spring read. Another slight criticism I had was that there was much world building and I had to rely on my knowledge of Wonderland already to picture it clearly in my mind. This may not be an issue for many people, but I personally like to create a perfect image in my mind of what I’m reading and I somewhat struggled to do that whilst reading this book.
Despite some minor flaws I did enjoy reading this book and it has not affected my growing love for Marissa Meyer as a writer and world creator. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Alice in Wonderland as it was very interesting to read about the Queen of Hearts in a different light, and see how her past affected her future.
Thank you and I hope you’re all having a lovely day!