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 received an eARC edition of this novel courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Honestly, I have not read such an intriguing, well-written retelling in too long. This novel has turned out to be another of Meyers masterpieces.
The writing style….. The writing style was truly sublime. Easy on the brain, no exuberant, over-the-top metaphors yet it was wonderful in its content. I absolutely loved the references to classic works of well known authors which Meyer scattered throughout this book.
The characters, oh my gosh, the characters. I loved Catherine, her story and development gripped me and I truly felt for her throughout. The situation she was put in by her parents was awful… I cannot imagine what I would have done in her shoes, although if I’m honest I probably would have been slightly more annoyed with the King and his goofy, over the top advances, I felt nauseous with how stupid they really were sometimes and feel that I probably would have had to fight the urge to scream at him and/or tell him to leave.
However, the other supporting characters made up for his stupidity. Haigha and Hatta as well as Jest each had their own role in the story, and weren’t they brilliant? The answer to that question would be yes. I fell in love with them, and honestly by the end I was so invested in their story that I spent the last few chapters heartbroken and grossly sobbing (which is of course the most attractive combination).
The chemistry between Jest and Catherine was palpable and honestly it was the best romance in a fantasy novel that I have had the chance to read in a long while. There was no insta-love, there was of course attraction – yes. But Cath wasn’t falling head-over-heels in love with Jest the moment that she lay her eyes on him. And that itself made the book incredibly special in my eyes.
The only ‘but’ I could possibly have towards this book (apart
from the fact that it dared to end) was he fact that the beginning dragged a bit more than it possibly should. But I did eventually get lost in the world which seemed to fix this particular problem of mine.
I honestly feel that Meyers did such a beautiful job of describing the Queen of Hearts’ journey, it definitely had plot twists I hadn’t seen coming, it had development, the world building was so vivid and wonderful. The ending was so abrupt and yet it worked perfectly, I could not imagine a better ending or execution of this story.
This book broke my heart and made me think. But above all, it reminded me of the beauty of certain fairytales and made me crave more of them, preferably written by Meyers herself.
My Rating: 4.75/5 Stars