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03 Jan, 2017

What the #$^$ Happened to Heartless?

/ posted in: Reading What the #$^$ Happened to Heartless? Heartless by Marissa Meyer
on November 8th 2016
Pages: 449
Genres: Young Adult
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

“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 wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book or not.

On one hand it is Alice in Wonderland which is my favorite fantasy world ever.  I liked this author’s Lunar Chronicles.

On the other hand, it is Alice in Wonderland which will make me extra mad if it gets all screwed up.

For the first 75% of this book, it was glorious.


Catherine is a privileged daughter in Wonderland. Her only allowable aspiration is to make a good marriage. She has a different goal though. She wants to open a bakery and make tarts with her maid as her marketing guru and business advisor. Unfortunately, Catherine’s cooking has attracted the eye of the ineffectual King of Hearts. Now that a courtship is on the horizon, her mother devotes herself entirely to making sure that Catherine becomes Queen.

There was word play and appearances by most of the beloved Wonderland characters with just the right amounts of whimsy.  I was rooting for Catherine to find the nerve to stand up to her mother and say that she wasn’t going to be Queen.  Obviously, that doesn’t happen since this is the backstory to the Queen of Hearts, but a plausible explanation is built up to see how she could become Queen and still not have it go in exactly the direction that you thought it would.


And then it happened.  (Obviously, spoilers ahead).  Catherine is given a glimpse of two futures.  One where she continues with her rebel plans and one where she doesn’t.  What happens if she rebels isn’t clear but it is very clear that if she turns back, everyone with her will either die or suffer terribly.  Almost immediately, she decides to turn back.  What?  It isn’t even 5 minutes after the ominous warnings from spooky little seer girls and already you choose the stupid route?

Ok, ok, she turns back to help her maid.  I could make a case for the needs of the many not always outweighing the need for a single person if I absolutely had to.  I still think it is overwhelmingly stupid and I had to set the book aside for a few days to let my hot white burning rage simmer down but I eventually pushed on.  Guess what happened next?

Everything the little freaky seers said about everyone will suffer and die was true!  Who saw that coming?


Yeah. They literally just said it a few pages ago. I mean, I read those pages a few days earlier and yet I still managed to remember. It was way less time than that for Catherine but she was surprised. Seriously, if a trio of mystical fortunetellers shows you the deaths of people standing next to you and you choose to ignore them, you don’t get to go off all crazy like someone tricked you.  You don’t get to feel like you are entitled to righteous indignation because of the consequences of your misguided actions.  You really shouldn’t expect people to feel all sorry for you when you immediately decide to abandon all your ethics and previously deeply held principles.  Yes, immediately our previously tart-loving, nonqueenly Catherine decides that the only thing to do is to seize control of the throne by marrying the King and turning into a tyrant.  Because…. trauma, maybe?  She’s suffering so everyone else must suffer too?  I don’t really know.  It didn’t make much sense in the book either.  It was like it suddenly decided to say, “Yep, and now she’s evil.  Ta da!”  It was completely out of her character.

The ending wouldn’t have made me so mad if the beginning hadn’t had so much promise.  Has anyone else read this one?  Am I the only person who it turned into a boiling ball of rage?

11 Dec, 2015


/ posted in: Reading Winter Winter by Marissa Meyer
on November 10th 2015
Pages: 800
Length: 23:00
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestelling Lunar Chronicles series.


I loved the rest of the books in this series – a science fiction retelling of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  The books have been smart and inventive in reimagining the stories in a world where Earth is vulnerable to Lunar people who are able to control minds.  That’s why I’m ultimately disappointed in this last book in the series featuring the story of Snow White.

Winter is the step-daughter of the Lunar Queen, Levana.  Levana was the sister of the former Queen.  When her sister died she attempted to kill her sister’s child, the rightful heir to the throne.  Unbeknownst to Levana, the child was smuggled to Earth and healed by making her a cyborg.  Now Linh Cinder is leading a rebellion to take back her throne from the cruel Levana.

Winter is known for her stunning beauty and her refusal to use her ability to manipulate minds.  Refusing to do so is driving her insane.  She hallucinates a lot and rambles incoherently.  She is such a vapid heroine that she drove me crazy.  Maybe the problem was that I was listening to this on audio.  I sped it up to 1.5 times normal speed just so her ramblings didn’t take so long.  All she does the entire time is be a hinderance to everyone else in the book.  She has no agency.  She doesn’t make many decisions at all.  The whole story just washes over her.  Her one decision to try to go recruit some soldiers to the rebel cause is based entirely on, “I’m pretty and nice so of course they will follow me.”  Read that in the breathiest voice ever and you’ll get the idea of the audio.

I know that the story of Snow White and the evil Queen is based entirely on looks but I was really hoping that there was going to be more to this story than that.  Levana has enslaved her people and engineered and released a plaque on Earth and killed anyone who upset her but the plan is to show people that she isn’t a legitimate ruler because she is actually ugly under her glamour?  Come on.  I was hoping for something with more substance.

And the ending?  Let’s just say there is a lot of “Why don’t you let go of all your goals and marry me instead?”

The rest of the books are great and maybe this one wouldn’t have been so bad if I had read it instead of listening to it so I didn’t have so much time to dwell on the inconsistencies.