Publishing Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (An Imprint of MacMillan)
Young Adult Fantasy/Classic Retelling
The Premise from the Publisher: "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" (Feiwel & Friends).
My overall thoughts and review: As some of you may know, I'm a pretty big Marissa Meyer fan. I love The Lunar Chronicles so much and I even enjoyed the Queen Levana story she wrote in Fairest - where she gave the reader the villain's POV. For this stand-alone, Meyer does the same again, but this time with Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland "Off-With-Their-Heads" villain: The Queen of Hearts. I love all things Alice and I continue to have a major fascination with that world. Regardless of how long it has been and how many times I've reread the story, I love finding new interpretations of the text. I have to say, giving a backstory, or rather, prologue to the Queen of Hearts, is definitely something new and unique. I'm super happy that Meyer took on the task because her writing is phenomenal. You are first introduced to the Queen, when she is pre-Queen, and simply, Catherine. A girl who resides in Wonderland, with strict parents who have ambitions to marry her off to the King of Hearts. Catherine simply wants to bake all day (I was so hungry for lemon tarts while reading! Lemon tarts are her specialty) and one day open up a shop with her best friend (who is also her maid, but she sees her as a friend and confidant). Things get complicated when the King attempts to court her and she meets the court joker, Jest. She begins to fall for Jest and she also gains more agency in wanting to speak up about her future to her parents. The reader is introduced to the history of Wonderland, the world of the mirror/Looking glass, the Jaberwocky and how the Red Queen and White Queen came to be enemies. I don't want to say much more to spoil things, but Meyer has said time and time again, and I will reiterate this too: Do. not. expect. a. happy. ending. You will find yourself hoping as I did, and I even cried a little while reading it, because I wanted so much for every character. That's the wonderful thing about the book, I grew to care and love almost everyone (yes! even her parents.. and the boring King of Hearts. Everyone was given such great backstory) and I loved the world so much. I was truly sad when the book ended and I only wanted more of Cath's story. This book was an easy 5/5 stars for me. I loved it so much! Please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
Now available for purchase at:
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Now as part of the blog tour, each stop will introduce you to a character in the book. I was given the Marchioness. I was quite intrigued to get her and although, she was incredibly difficult to deal with at times, I could see her point of view. I could see her reasoning behind her endeavors to want to see Catherine marry the King of Hearts. She loved her family in her own way, even if it wasn't the right way.
Excerpt from the Book - Introducing... The Marchioness
“Catherine!” The door swung open and the Marchioness floated in, her eyes saucer-wide and her face purple-red despite having been recently powdered. Catherine’s mother lived her life in a state of constant bewilderment. “There you are, my dear darling! What are you—not even dressed yet?”
“Oh, Mama, Mary Ann was just helping me—”
“Abigail, stop playing with that broom and get in here! We need your help! Mary Ann, what is she wearing?”
“My lady, we thought the white gown that she—”
“Absolutely not! Red! You will wear the red dress.” Her mother swung open the wardrobe doors and pulled out a full gown overflowing with heavy red velvet, an enormous bustle, and a neckline that was sure to leave little unexposed. “Yes, perfect.”
“Oh, Mama. Not that dress. It’s too small!”
Her mother picked a waxy green leaf off the bed and draped the dress across the covers. “No, no, no, not too small for my precious little sweetling. This is going to be a very special night, Catherine, and it’s imperative that you look your best.”
Cath traded a glance with Mary Ann, who shrugged.
“But it’s just another ball. Why don’t I—”
“Tut-tut, child.” Her mother scurried across the room and framed Cath’s face in both hands. Though her mother was bony as a bird, there was no sense of delicacy as she pinched and squeezed Cath’s face. “You are in for such a delight this evening, my pretty girl.” Her eyes glimmered in a way that made Catherine suspicious, before she barked, “Now turn around!”
Catherine jumped and spun to face the window.
Her mother, who had become the Marchioness when she married, had that effect on everyone. She was often a warm, loving woman, and Cath’s father, the Marquis, doted on her incessantly, but Cath was all too familiar with her mood swings. All cooing and delighted one moment and screaming at the top of her lungs the next. Despite her tiny stature, she had a booming voice and a particular glare that could make even a lion’s heart shrivel beneath it.
Cath thought by now she would have been used to her mother’s temperament, but the frequent changes still took her by surprise.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour to hear about the book & other character excerpts!
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of this book was sent to me by Raincoast Books and the excerpt was also sent over to me by Raincoast Books. The excerpt is written by Marissa Meyer and comes directly from the published book. All opinions are my own.