Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Re-tellings, Fantasy
Format: Audio, narrated by Rebecca Soler
Description (Source: 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.
I waited for a few months after buying this book because I knew it didn’t have a HEA. –This isn’t a spoiler because we know what a miserable evil nightmare the Queen of Hearts is.– Anyway, I hesitate reading any book that doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies at the end. If you are looking for warm and fuzzies, do.not.read.this.book.
With that being said, ohmygosh. This book was so good. I could not find enough excuses to listen to this book, I even cleaned my carpets for extra listening time, lol!
What I liked:
– Meyer has a way of pulling you into the worlds she creates and this book was no exception. I could close my eyes and listen to Soler describe Hearts and feel like I was really there in Hatter’s shop, the palace ballroom, and the rose garden.
– Soler does a decent job narrating, but a couple of her characters were unbearably annoying to listen to. Luckily, these were just supporting characters so I didn’t have to listen to them long.
– I. Loved. Jest. He was a little too perfect sometimes, but with all the dark moments in this book his perfection was needed. Hatter wasn’t lying when he said that Catherine did not deserve Jest. She absolutely did not.
– Catherine, or Cath, was a flawed heroine. I wanted to scream at her so many times throughout the book, but each choice she made she believed to be the right one. She believed she was doing the right thing, until it was too late and fate had already taken hold over her. What she went through does not condone her behavior at the end, and watching the devolution of her character was heart-rending.
– If you like Alice in Wonderland, you’ll love this. There are references like “off with his head”, “we’re all mad here”, and many more. Also characters we are familiar with: Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat.
– God, this book was beautifully heartbreaking. Literally almost no-one gets a happy ending, but the journey to the end is magnificent. It’s one of those books that you just sit and stare for several minutes after finishing.
What I didn’t:
– The only thing I didn’t like was how it ended, but I knew it was coming and Meyer couldn’t have changed it. But DAMNIT I wish it didn’t have to end that way!
Would I recommend this book to family and/or friends?
YES. But don’t expect a happy ending. It is how the Queen of Hearts became a terror, after all.
Now excuse me while I go hide under my covers and try to recover.
Link to purchase book: