Saturday, November 26, 2016


By Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends, 2016. 453 pages. Young Adult

Cath was born to a brilliant world full of balls, tea parties, and flamingo croquet. Unfortunately, that isn’t the life she wants for herself. Despite being one of the privileged Wonderland nobility, Cath feels uncomfortable with her empty life full of frenemies and brainless men. She would rather follow her one true passion—baking—and join the working class by opening Heart’s greatest bakery. With her parents set on having her marry the bumbling King of Hearts, however, that dream seems far out of reach. When a new court jester appears and offers Cath an alluring blue-collar romance, she quickly finds herself falling head over heels. But can a love like this, disapproved of by everyone in Cath’s life, really last?

In the tradition of Gregory Maguire, this Alice in Wonderland prequel tries to provide a sympathetic backstory for the villainous Queen of Hearts. For the most part, I would say that she succeeds. You support Cath in her dream and feel drawn toward the mysterious Jest. Her transformation to become the heartless Queen of Hearts is a little less believable, though. The “off with their heads” theme seems to come from nowhere, and her blind drive for revenge at the end seems extreme. The book also suffers from quite a few Young Adult clichés: a love triangle, an ordinary girl that everyone seems to think is extraordinary for some reason, etc. Despite these flaws, however, the book was definitely a page-turner and no fan of the Lunar Chronicles will walk away disappointed.


1 comment:

AJ said...

Ever wondered what villains were like before they turned bad? Before Lady Catherine became the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she was just a young woman of nobility, a bit selfish and naïve but also charming and spirited. Cath doesn’t want to be married off. What she wants is to open her own bakery with the help of her maid. Unfortunately, she is caught between her own desires and her mother’s plan to make her Queen of Hearts. Cath’s fate seems sealed until she meets the king's handsome and mysterious new joker, Jest.

Meyer has done a good job with this Alice in Wonderland prequel that weaves elements of love and duty, and fate and free will. While I agree with the original review that there are some flaws including understanding what makes Cath so alluring to Jest, there were other elements I found very interesting. It was fun picking up on many of the original Alice in Wonderland details. I also found certain themes very interesting such as how different people deal with the consequences of their actions and those around them. Cath sees everyone else at fault and doesn’t seem to recognize that her own actions are also to blame. This helps shape who she eventually becomes.