Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8 2016
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: ARC received from a friend
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — 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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she 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 am a fan of of Marissa Meyer’s writing and The Lunar Chronicles series. So of course I was excited when I first heard she was working on a book that was set to release when The Lunar Chronicles ended. Now this was about in 2013 and of course between now and then plenty of other books based on Alice in Wonderland were released. I still hoped for the best because it was focused on the Queen of Hearts. The more information we received, including the cover and synopsis, I had still couldn’t wait to read it. However it wasn’t until a month or so after words I started to lose interest. There was suddenly too much hype surrounding the book especially with Stars Above having been released.
I was very fortunate to receive an ARC from my friend who worked at a local bookstore, but it sat on my shelves for a few months. This book actually too me several weeks to read because it was a) slow in the beginning b) it was my public transit read. I found the book to drag in places because I couldn’t connect with the characters. Cath was extremely frustrating to me and her mother was annoying. Nothing too exciting was happening until we meet Hatta and Haigha, but even the spark of interest it didn’t last very long in my opinion.
To be fair I did feel sympathetic towards Cath towards the end. Of course I didn’t wish for anything badly to happen to her, but it was inevitable. It is definitely one of the more unique about re-tellings because it is an origin story from the point of view of a “villain”. All the baked goods featured made me hungry and I was craving pastries. Especially cake, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. I also really wanted to try key lime pie. I did enjoy Raven’s character and the origin story of the Mad Hatter as well. The extra little nursery rhyme twist that Marissa throws in there was clever as well. Although it wasn’t my favorite book this year, I still had a favorite scene which was the tea party scene.
I really did not understand why Catherine’s magical dreams weren’t explained. She’s capable of dreaming up the lemon tree and roses bushes, but we don’t know where the power initially came from. The only thing I can guess is it came from her grandmother. It was the only loose end that wasn’t addressed, unless I missed it completely.