Review: Heartless // Better than My (Low) Expectation!

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RATING : 3-5-stars

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I was so excited for this book because 1) I love retelling, 2) Marissa Meyer is the queen of fairy tale retelling, and 3) I adore The Lunar Chronicles to no end 😍 Imagine my excitement when I heard about Heartless… I was over the moon! But then I started hearing mixed reviews, and some of the reviewers I trust said that this book was dull, very insta-lovey, and simply wasn’t as good as The Lunar Chronicles. So I lowered my expectation and it was really for the best because I ended up enjoying if after all! 😀

Heartless is the story of how the Queen of Hearts becomes… the Queen of Hearts. For the first few chapters, I sort of forgot about it and I kept thinking about Alice :’) but well, I adjusted quickly.

Unlike The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless is more like a straight retelling from the original Alice in Wonderland. All the elements from the original story are there, starting from the magical creatures, the riddles, and even the world itself. Meyer didn’t even explain the world to us at the beginning of the book, so I just assumed it was the same as the original world. That being said, the world building didn’t feel too special, especially compared to her previous books where the world building was so incredible and full of imagination.

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I am quite pleased with all the characters ♥

I love Catherine. Before she became the Queen of Hearts, she was just… a girl. An honorable lady, for sure, but a girl nonetheless with all her dreams and love for baking. She used to be so hopeful and naive and all she wanted to do was please everybody, especially her parents. I’m so fond of her character development. Though I admit, there’s some occasion where I had my issues, but generally, it was… believable. One may doubt how a sweet, nice girl could become a heartless one, but I think Meyer nailed it right there.

I’m also fond with the joker aka Jest aka the handsome love interest. He’s quite charming and suuuch a gentleman! I’m a sucker for a manly, charming man, but who isn’t? 😛 One major thing that I don’t like from him is that I didn’t understand most of his motives. Every decision he made seemed to be driven by his love for Catherine and it was a little unbelievable. In fact, the whole romance was not convincing for me.

It’s true what they said, it was very insta-lovey.

Other than the two main characters, Heartless has some incredible side characters. I like the King, he’s so kind and soft and I felt bad for him for being deceived by both Cath and Jest. I love Mary Ann so much, she’s such a realistic person yet a very loyal best friend. Cath’s parents also won my heart because they’re kind of the epitome of real parents. I mean, they want the best for the family but deep down they also care about their daughter’s happiness. All the magical creatures are also very lovable, especially the white rabbit, the turtle, and Chesire! Who doesn’t want a disappearing cat who likes to gossip? 😛 the only character I saw didn’t serve any purpose was the Knave of Hearts. You could’ve removed him from the story and no one would notice.


The plot itself was intriguing and the sole reason why I couldn’t stop reading. It was rather unpredictable. I just wanted to know what happen next and Meyer did an exceptionally good job with the writing, she dropped clues here and there about what’s going to happen next. It was pretty neat. I know some people said it was dull because not many things happened at the first half of the book, but I personally didn’t mind. While I wouldn’t say no to a slightly faster pace, I did enjoy all the buildup and the back story.

However, I’m not so pleased with the fact that the whole plot was driven by the romance, especially because the romance itself wasn’t that convincing to begin with.

Heartless indeed made me hungry and crave for sweets because all the food descriptions are just so vivid! It’s literally the first thing you’ll read upon reading this book. There’s lemon tarts, macaroons, pumpkin pie… I suggest you bring food with you so you don’t drool 😛


ALL IN ALL, Heartless was an incredible story of how the sweet and obedient Catherine becomes the Queen of Hearts. Though the plot was driven mainly by the romance, which isn’t that convincing to begin with, I still think that Catherine’s change of character was highly believable. Heartless maintains a lot of elements from the original Alice and Wonderland and therefore, the Wonderland feel was so strong in this book.

This is a pretty great stand alone, but you’d probably shouldn’t go in there expecting something like The Lunar Chronicles.


Have you read Heartless? What do you think about it? If you read The Lunar Chronicles as well, did Heartless meet your expectation, or were you expecting something different? I’d love to hear your thoughts 😀 Now quick, tell me your favorite fairy tale retelling! ♥

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37 thoughts on “Review: Heartless // Better than My (Low) Expectation!

  1. Glad to hear you liked this! I also love the Lunar Chronicles so I’m dying to read this. I have it on my bookshelf, but I almost want to wait until the next book is getting ready to release. I hate reading the first book in a series/trilogy then having the wait ages to read the next book. 😦


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  2. Fantastic review! I’m not sure if I’d enjoy the insta-love, but I’d definitely enjoy all those different characters! Learning how the Queen of Hearts becomes the Queen of Hearts sounds like fun, honestly! I’ll be reading this one soon, so I hope I like it. Thanks for the review!

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  3. I’ve been wanting to start this book for ages, but put it off because of mixed reviews like you mentioned. I’m glad you did enjoy it! The insta-love sounds rather frustrating, but the rest of the plot/characters seem like they make up for it some ways. 🙂

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    • Thank you Caitlin 😀 The Lunar Chronicles is so good you should definitely read it! Hahaha yeahh it was such a bummer but probably because it’s a stand alone? Like it didn’t have a chance to develop at a more proper pace?haha but nevertheless it’s still so enjoyable for me. I hope you enjoy it too ❤

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  4. Great review! I’m so scared to start Heartless because of the insta-love I keep hearing about. I love the Lunar Chronicles retelling and I initially had high expectations for Heartless and those expectations have now been squandered. I guess I’ll have to deal with it being an okay book instead of an awesome one.

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  5. I am so glad this exceeded your expectations! I completely agree – it was definitely an entertaining book and Catherine’s characterization was so well-written. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

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  6. I did enjoy this book and I’m glad you did too! Now that you mention it, the Knave of Hearts was rather useless, and simply annoying. He was probably in love with Cath, but since it didn’t go anywhere… I’m not sure how that applies to the story?
    I think Marissa Meyer is very bold to move on from the Lunar Chronicles to a standalone, because she’s never written anything else! Some authors just can’t seem to do that (cough cough J.K. Rowling Cassandra Clare cough cough)!

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    • OMG YES! I thought so too!! It seems like they both have history right? With the knave of hearts calling Cath ugly and everything I thought he secretly has a crush on her but he literally didn’t do anything useful! I’m disappointed 😦 yeah it is, but I’m still so hung up on TLC it’s hard not to keep comparing the two 😂 ummm yeahhh I love Cassandra Clare but I’m kind of getting tired of all these Shadowhunter stories… I didn’t even read Lady Midnight and I heard it was her best work so far?

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      • EXACTLY!!! It was like he was originally supposed to be an extra love interest for Cath to choose from and then on a rewrite she got rid of that bit but not his character? Whaaaaat? Hahaha me too!
        I MEAN REALLY. I love Shadowhunters as much as the next fangirl, but 10 books is a little much, don’t you think? And that’s not counting the Bane Chronicles (which I haven’t read) or the Magnus series (isn’t that supposed to be coming out?). I read Lady Midnight and I know so many people loved it, but it fell really flat for me. It was exciting to see the old characters, but they were boring. And I loved Emma and Julian, but I don’t like the story idea all that much and they would do well with a series all their own. With another society. Without Clary and Jace.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I have Heartless on my read really soon list! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it even if the romance wasn’t very convincing. Great review!

    Thanks for linking up on Saturday Situation! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my god yes at the Knave? I was waiting for something huge to be revealed about why he disliked Catherine so much, but nothing ever happened 😅 Brilliant review, Puput. I had a lot of the same thoughts you did. I kinda wish I had have gone in with lower expectations, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Sparkling Letters Monthly Recap: December 2016 + Highlights of the Year | Sparkling Letters

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