Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA fantasy
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.
I loved the author’s The Lunar Chronicles series and expected a lot from this book. I also don’t read many retellings and was looking forward to this one. There is also a LOT of hype around this book, but the good hype didn’t live up because I was pretty disappointed in this.
This story about a normal girl called Catherine who is the daughter of a Marquess in Hearts. We follow her life from simple dreams of opening a bakery to her becoming the cold Queen of Hearts.
Right when she’s dreaming about being the best baker in Hearts and opening a store with her best friend Mary Anne, who is also the house maid, the King pays her extra attention and she finds out that he wants to marry her. The same night she meets Jest, who is the new court Joker, and starts to fall in love with him.
Until about 3/4ths the story, there was hardly any twists, surprises and decision making. Cath simply goes along with the “marriage” to please her mother, spends stolen time with Jest and plots to find funding for her store. She doesn’t straighten her spine or put her foot down that she doesn’t want to marry the childish king or that she wants to bake as a profession. Only in the last 150 so pages there’s interesting stuff happening.
The only thing that caught my attention were Cath and Jest’s scenes and her description of food.
- I did NOT like Catherine. No no no no no. She wasn’t courageous, brave, didn’t even stand up for what she wanted! And when she did, it was like a child’s tantrum.
- Jest was charming, gentlemanly and so romantic. I loved him.
- Cheshire, a cat which can become invisible, who gossips a lot was one character I liked reading about. He was so cute.
- Hatta, the mad hatter, was very well portrayed and I liked him.
- The King. Oh where do I start? He a bumbling, giggling, dumb fool who has never faced anything in life and only wants to marry Cath because she makes tasty desserts. If he wanted desserts, he could have just ordered from her! Why marry her! He’s also a coward who doesn’t do anything when Hearts is threatened with danger by a monster right from the myths. Ugh.
Points for this! All the creatures were portrayed alive and they could talk. I loved the tea party at Hatta’s which was very fun to read. It was the kind of thing I would expect in Wonderland. There was also a game called Croquet where you hit hedgehogs with flamingos and I liked the idea!
High lady, who is in the eye of the majestic king, falls in love with a lowly court Joker and it’s forbidden and she doesn’t have a spine to do anything… blah blah blah. Honestly the only reason I liked the romance was because of Jest.
It was okay. I liked some bits, I disliked some bits and most bits were just okay. I would say give it a try, but if it ain’t happening, leave it.