Heartless - Marissa Meyer

am a sucker for a good "making of a villain" story. I normally copy over the back cover information from Amazon into a review, but this one can be well summed up by knowing  that this is the making of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. The full back cover was a little overkill when I looked at it.

I've been anticipating this novel since the first chapter preview in Stars Above. Yep, this is written by the same woman who gave us a science fiction reimagining of Cinderella set in a dystopian future. There was a chance that I would have too high expectations for this book to possibly live up to, but that did not turn out to be the case. It was just as wonderful and enchanting as I had hoped.

It also made me feel like a have to go back and watch Alice in Wonderland again. It had actually been long enough that I couldn't remember if some of the characters made it through to the other story, though others are certain and hallmarks of the movie/book, such as Cheshire, Mr. Caterpillar, and the Mad Hatter. I really enjoyed the Mad Hatter, or Hatta is he is called here.

Despite the fact that this is a prequel that lets you know up front which character it is developing, there were still some moments that made me question how we were going to get there. There was something about the way the odd things in Wonderland are normalized when seen through the eyes of a resident.

I enjoyed the story development and writing of this book almost as much as in the Lunar Chronicles but this is a set of characters that I was not nearly as attached to at the outset. Catherine was endearing and I felt for her along her journey and I daresay that I have felt the way that she has at different points of her story in my own life but didn't have quite the follow through available to me. It was probably for the best for me that I didn't.

Anywho, I fell in love with Jest a little. Their story moves a little fast but I get how good dreams can propel things. I even have a real life friend who dreamed about a man she met the next day and it definitely sped things up for them. She greeted him as if they knew each other because of the dream, which he found adorable, which is apparently a good conversation starter. Nevertheless, Jest is adorable. He would have to be right?

But the best part was that this is not a cut and dry love story that propels the protagonist into blah, blah, predictable predictable. Even though we know where one aspect of the story is headed, it doesn't distract from the fun of how it gets there nor that there is another plot going on that propels the story forward. Still, the romance isn't treated as an afterthought. This might sound a little confusing and I might be talking myself in circles, but Meyer is quite good at giving us some great romantic interests and love scenes while having an action plot going on at the same time and with equal pacing.

Anyone who loved the Lunar Chronicles is likely to enjoy this story as well, but they are certainly not the only audience that will enjoy it. I