Tag Archive | book lover

And I Darken by Kiersten White | Book Review

31437282_1765251450207414_8085592250471415808_nBook: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

“The last time she was up here, she had been… staring up at the sky and dreaming of stars. Now, she looked down and plotted flames.”

Much of what I was expecting going into this book did not come to pass. This read was surprising, brutal, and heartbreaking. I’m excited for more.

And I Darken is the origin story of a gender bend Vlad the Impaler; Lada Dragwlya. A historical fiction where Lada and Radu, her younger and completely opposite brother, are neglected by their father and sacrificed to the Ottoman Empire. This is where they meet Mehmed, third in line to be Sultan, who quickly accepts them as friends. Together they experience the cruel world, together they cleverly learn to survive. But because of this they grow up too fast. Lada and Radu, in their own ways, are met with challenges to protect Mehmed at all costs, challenges that are capable of tearing down what they have built, challenges that are fated to destroy their relationships forever.

I guess I can explain here what I expected; the first chapter with little Lada, the second chapter and onwards, sixteen year old Lada ready to kill and destroy. But no, we got about two hundred pages of Lada growing up, alongside Radu, who also had his own chapters. At this point, while I was reading, it was like I was trudging through strong currents as I flipped the pages. Younger protagonists are not my thing. I rarely pick up middle grade because this age range for characters doesn’t appeal to me. But this was different. Sure, Radu acted like his age, but Lada was something else. She was a brutal twelve year old who said things like this:

“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”

I mean… Yeah I forgot she was twelve.

At the same time, the story picked up for me after two hundred pages, when the characters significantly aged to late teens.

The pacing of this book very much relied on time jumps to move the plot forward and get to the point. Time jumps that could range from a week to years. They were constant. Though as much as I appreciate not going on and on about plot points that don’t play a significant role in the story the author wants to tell, I felt as if certain points were a cop-out? “Oh it’s no problem that Lada was severely injured, let’s skip ahead a week to when Lada is way better. We don’t want to see her recovery, or anything crazy like that, we want to see her be her brutal self again.” Let us see her struggle, she doesn’t have to be strong all the time.

Not to mention, a lot of smaller issues throughout the story were being resolved fast. Lada walking into the Harem to “kill” Mehmed. No action. Lada proving she can lead seemed too easy. Lada and Nicolae wanting to run away because Mehmed was sick but he was actually there. They started off as “oh this is going to be good,” moments, but ended with nothing happening.

Both Lada and Radu idealized Mehmed, in their own ways, and ultimately romance was involved. I honestly don’t understand what they saw in Mehmed. Maybe he was the first person that ever made them feel secure, the only person who secured them a home. Though Lada was stubborn in that aspect. He is not someone who is easy to love, in the sense that being Sultan demands so much of a person, has expectations to have relationships with multiple people. They were setting themselves up for heartbreak.

It’s always difficult reading a book with dual perspectives because if you don’t enjoy one character’s chapters, in this case Radu, then there really isn’t a proper way to avoid it without skipping half the book. Yes I loved Lada’s chapters, I loved Nicolae’s character more than I was expecting, and yes I love his friendship with Lada.

“Do you want to kiss me?”
“Please take this in the kindest way possible, but I would sooner try to romance my horse. And I suspect my horse would enjoy it more than you.”
“Your horse deserves better.”

They are definitely the two characters I’m excited to read about in the sequel.

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Book Review

29829194_1734968696569023_1874611559_oBook: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Series: The Belles, #1
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 2.25/5 Stars

“No one is a prisoner. Even you have the power to make your own choices.”

*I was sent an e-ARC of The Belles by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Taken aback by the rich and vivid writing that Dhonielle Clayton weaved together in order to produce this story about beauty and what it means to a society obsessed with it, I was slowed down in my progress as I was getting used to the intense descriptions and imagery that Orléans had to offer.

In a society where people are grey, The Belles are a blessing to all as they are able to physically alter that fate and make people beautiful. Camellia Beauregard, one of six Belles from her generation, is vying for the position of a lifetime; the opportunity to be chosen as the Queen’s favourite. When her expectations are shattered, her talents gone unnoticed by the people who matter, Camellia feels a lifetime of preparation for that one moment was taken from her. She deserves to be on top. But there’s an eerie secret that has been going on without Camellia’s knowledge. A chorus of crying through the night, a sadistic princess, a cursed heir to the throne. It all begins to unravel as time goes on.

This book is about beauty, but it turned into something darker than I expected. It was contrasted with the innocence of the Belles, who only wanted to spread beauty to the people. Camellia grew throughout this book from an innocent giggling girl who danced in circles with her sisters, to a Belle who constantly had to deal with and discover evil at court.

In terms of my thoughts on this book, I quickly realized how much I was not a fan of this concept and obsession of beauty. In the physical sense at least. I was horrified at the mention of infants changing their appearances, at a little girl forced to endure the pain of change because her mother was desperate for her to be the most beautiful. It was hard to read about what people went through in order to portray and live up to their standard of “beauty.”

There was a chock-full of characters that contributed so much to the build-up and pacing of the story. My favourite being Rémy. I was not expecting him to have such a significant role in this story, which I was pleasantly surprised with. As the story went on, that was more and more apparent.

Then there’s Sophia, who surprised me in an unpleasant way. She added that creepy tone to the story, the kind that was chilling, unsettling, and difficult to read about. Her actions were manipulating, abusive, and just outright terrifying. But I must admit, it actually gave the story some substance, something that motivated me to want to turn the pages in order to see what happened.

Camellia, as I’ve said before, was motivated to grow into a less childish character as a weight of responsibility was put on her. She discovered the darkness hiding behind the flowers, Belle products, hair textures, fancy dresses, and overall creation of beauty. She was forced to perform acts that were wrong, forced to see the impurity behind her passion, forced to endure questionable relationships. Her development allowed me to like her character more, but she was honestly not the best protagonist I’ve read from. I feel as though she lived in a bubble until it was too late. I needed more action from her, so did the characters who relied on her. 

Overall, this book was not for me, but at the same time I’m happy I read it because it still moved me. Beauty is not something that is significant in my life. I rarely wear makeup, I rarely style my hair, I rarely buy new clothes. That doesn’t mean I don’t have days where the way I look on the outside affects me. Beauty is valued in one form or another to each individual person, we define it differently. And it’s scary to think about the lengths these characters went through to transform into their perfect look and how without it they were nothing, they were not valued. Their desperation was absolutely chilling.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

28380993_1690784727654087_1052668646_nBook: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grishaverse, #2
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars

“Watch yourself, Nikolai,” Mal said softly. “Princes bleed just like other men.”
Nikolai plucked an invisible piece of dust from his sleeve. “Yes,” he said. “They just do it in better clothes.”

Going into Siege and Storm, the sequel in the Grishaverse trilogy, I had expectations that had me craving for every word, phrase, and chapter laid out on the pages. I was far from disappointed, in fact I was overjoyed to discover that Shadow and Bone wasn’t alone in making me fly through the book. It seems Leigh Bardugo has the talent to keep this characteristic consistent in her sequel as well. Of course it wasn’t entirely perfect, I had some problems with it that I will talk about below. Though I’m excited that I finally found a series I can obsess over, especially when it comes to the variety of characters who are both intriguing and complex.

Right at the beginning this book plunges into a new world for both Alina and Mal as they fight for as much normalcy as possible. They are eager to leave everything behind and begin anew, but that dream is short-lived when they find themselves in the hands of their enemy once again. Losing hope to ever be free, Alina and Mal are unexpectedly rescued by a privateer who leads them right back where everything began. Alina is left with a choice; run away to lead the normal life she fought so hard to maintain or fully embrace her role as the Sun Summoner and save the world.

This book was gripping from start to finish but I still had some problems with it throughout. Firstly, this happened in Shadow and Bone too, I’m growing tired of the slaughter of these beautiful, mythical creatures who don’t deserve to die so Alina can obtain more power. I imagine this will continue in Ruin and Rising with the Firebird, which I am already dreading. This leads me to another problem, Alina starving for more power. With the stag, I mean I can look past it because a lot of Grisha do get one amplifier. It makes sense that Alina would get one too. Then she claims the Sea Whip and continues to complain about the fact that she doesn’t have the Firebird. At this point I’m asking where is the limit here? When will it be enough? It made me nervous how power hungry she was and I was pleading with her not to turn into another Darkling, to not let this promise of unlimited power blind her. Then there’s Mal. Oh boy is he ever the definition of picking which parts of Alina to love and despising the rest. How is that healthy? How is their relationship going to last if this continues? I just need him to stop brooding, stop being selfish, accept, move on, and get a grip. Life is evolving, he needs to stop living in the past.

I know all that sounds like I’m giving this book a low rating, but that is far from the case. Moving past everything I just listed, I seriously enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great sequel to Shadow and Bone. It went beyond what the first book gave us in terms of world building and it introduced us to a new cast of characters that I’m so excited to talk about. The main ones being Nikolai, Tamar, and Tolya. Nikolai, the ever swoon-worthy privateer who had me laughing and hanging on to his extremely dramatic words and phrases but who also intrigued me because of the many layers to him that slowly were revealed throughout this book. As for Tamar and Tolya, they were just fun characters to get to know and I’m happy Alina and Mal have them as allies and friends now.

I have to say though, I wasn’t missing The Darkling’s absence one bit, which I imagine is an unpopular opinion. I guess I’m into the good guys in this case because once his sketchy motives were revealed my love for his character slowly ceased to exist. Though I am definitely anticipating the final book and how it will wrap up his and everyone else’s arcs.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | Book Review

22773318_1573407309391830_1355000906_nBook: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Standalone
My Rating: 4.75/5 Stars

“There are monsters in the sea.”   

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was truly a gift. One that was able to relieve me from a two month drought from reading. I really didn’t know what type of book was going to be able to help me overcome a reading slump, but it turns out an adorable, relatable, emotional, and fandom based read was able to do the trick.

We follow Eliza Mirk, an 18 year old high school senior who loves her online life and despises the other life she is forced to live, the offline one. In her online life she is Ladyconstellation, the creator of the popular Web Comic, Monstrous Sea. No one knows anything about her, save for her username. Her anonymity allows her to be someone separate from Eliza Mirk, someone who is able to interact with people, who is able to have friends. Her family doesn’t understand the concept of the online world and online friends. Nobody in school wants to go near her because of her reputation of being “weird”. Then she meets the new kid, Wallace Warland, the most famous fanfiction writer for Monstrous Sea. The two bond over their shared interests and their understanding of each other. And despite Eliza pushing some of her boundaries as she gets to know Wallace better, she isn’t ready to reveal her famous identity to him just yet.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a protagonist like Eliza, and because of that I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character as much as I did with Eliza. I saw a lot of the way she thought, described, and reacted in social situations similar to my own experiences, and it was honestly refreshing to read. I understood Eliza, I’ve heard those constant doubts winning battles in my mind the way she described. And despite her situations being different from mine, it still felt familiar.

This book was so close to 5 stars for me, but there was a certain point where I wasn’t a fan of the way Wallace handled a certain situation, causing his wants coming before Eliza’s health and well-being. The rest of the book I loved, though.

I loved how comic samples and drawings were included throughout the book as well as little mentions of the plot, settings, and characters from Eliza herself, slowly weaving together a balance of sci-fi in an otherwise mundane story.

There was a lot of fandom involvement, which I had a lot of fun reading about and reminiscing on my own fandom experiences. There were also some important concepts that were brought up that I really appreciated. Such as being pressured to take a career path that will make you lots of money vs. a career path that will make you happy. I understood Wallace’s struggle with wanting to be a creative writing major but getting disapproval for it. Another concept that was brought up was self worth. Specifically in Eliza’s case, where the state of something you create does not determine your self worth. This definitely made me think.

And of course I need to talk about the adorable moments that had me smiling from ear to ear. Eliza and Wallace’s relationship developed beautifully. Their friendship slowly turned into something more, and the cute, shy moments they had to get them to that point was giving me all the feels. I was loving every minute of it.

YA contemporary is a genre that I have been avoiding for a while so that’s why I was hesitant to pick up Eliza and Her Monsters, but this book was so different from what I was expecting and I’m glad I decided to give it a try. I can’t wait to pick up more books by this author as well as try out YA contemporary again.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

acowar

Book: A Court of Wings and Ruin

 Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3

Genre: High Fantasy

 My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Night Triumphant – and the Stars Eternal. If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.”

 A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, my most highly anticipated book of the year, is the third instalment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. It’s the last book in Feyre’s point of view but not the last book in this series/world. My thoughts and feelings are all over the place so I’m going to try to explain everything in coherent sentences.

It was such a surreal moment when I got this beauty in my possession. I am glad that it took me a few weeks to finish reading because I wanted to savour every moment considering the wait for its release lasted a year.

A Court of Wings and Ruin follows the events of the previous book and Feyre is surrounded by enemies in order to discover their plans and break them apart from the inside out. She soon reunites with the wonderful inner circle and her sisters. There is a lot to prepare for the upcoming war and because of this we are introduced to so many new characters, such as all the high lords, as they are essential allies.

I loved this book, I love these characters with everything I am, and this series will always be special to me, but despite loving ACOWAR I wasn’t as in love with it as I was with ACOMAF. I am fiercely protective and fiercely in love with ACOMAF and it’s just one of those books that has touched my soul and given me hope. I know that the two books have different purposes but I think the problem was all the plotting and planning for the inevitable war. I understand that every single part of the war talk were puzzle pieces slowly coming together to lead up to a hopeful victory, but as a result I found the pacing of the book to be hard to get through at times. The last couple hundred pages actually helped with the pacing because I was so invested in what was going on, but alas my rating for ACOWAR is 4.5 Stars.

*Spoilers Ahead*

 I think something that really surprised me is that the first 120 pages, where Feyre was not yet reunited with her family, were not as boring as I was expecting. I didn’t exactly enjoy reading it because of the circumstances but what really saved it for me was Lucien. I obviously wasn’t a fan of Lucien in the previous book but I did believe that he was going to change and have that redemption arc. Throughout the first 120 pages his efforts to be that friend that Feyre desperately needed in book two was finally shining through. The friendship from Feyre’s side was unclear though because we knew she was undercover, pretending to have good intentions and feelings toward Tamlin and his court, so there were definitely times where I was confused about how genuine she was with Lucien. For example when Feyre pretended to have a nightmare and went to Lucien for comfort and Tamlin caught them, she knew about Tamlin’s wrath and how he was going to take it out on Lucien yet she still involved him. I mean what she did in order to prevent Tamlin from going to her room was clever. I just didn’t like how she put Lucien in that situation.

My heart broke when Lucien explained what he had to go through in terms of being forced to be with Ianthe and I was cheering Feyre on when she decided to stay and help Lucien from another one of Ianthe’s unwanted pursuits. Feyre didn’t think twice about all the precise plans and actions she thought out and executed on the people who hurt and threatened her family. We later see that Feyre genuinely is Lucien’s friend and I love how Feyre pulled a Rhys and took him to Velaris. Where he was expecting torture, suffering, and death, he was just as surprised as Feyre was that the reality was in fact the complete opposite from what he was expecting.

 “There are children laughing in the street. … He said it with such… quiet surprise. As if he hadn’t heard the sound in a long, long time.”

I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled as hard as I did when Feyre was reunited with the inner circle. Cassian and Azriel swooped in and saved Feyre and Lucien in the Winter Court and immediately I was relieved that Cassian’s wings were intact and Azriel was healed from his injuries. I had to stop reading to regain my ability to take deep breaths and settle my emotions when Rhys walked on the page. When Feyre fell to her knees when she first saw him my first thought was: Did she just faint? Because same.

I was holding on to every single interaction between the inner circle, Feyre and Rhys, and even Elain and Nesta. It was just so exciting to be able to read canon plots, dialogues, and interactions because I waited so long for their story to continue. Of course when it comes to Sarah J. Maas’s main group of characters, they are written so well that’s it’s hard not to fall in love with all of them. The back and forth between the inner circle (including Nesta) was my favourite thing ever. All the banter was hilarious.

“Scared?”

“Why should I be scared of an oversized bat who likes to throw temper tantrums?”

I need to talk about Feyre and Rhys because obviously they are my favorites and the ultimate ship of this series. In ACOMAF I lived for their relationship development, how they weren’t technically together but it was the best slow burn romance I have ever read. Reading about them falling in love will never cease to make me emotional and give me all the feels. In ACOWAR however, they are together, they are a power couple, they are in love, and despite loving this I wasn’t feeling that enthralled in their relationship as I was in the previous book. But don’t get me wrong, they are still my favourite ship and there were still a lot of steamy, beautiful, and heartbreaking moments. My honest thoughts were “I love them, they’re together. Now I want Nesta and Cassian together.”

First of all I need to establish that Nesta is one my favourite characters from ACOWAR. I loved how present Nesta and Elain were in this book, Nesta especially. Of course there were moments in the beginning where Nesta was being vicious, and I don’t think she will ever lose that about her, but her development throughout this book made me want to sob. She agreed to work with Amren to mend the wall, her relationship with Feyre began to improve, and she became the emissary to the human world for Rhys. When Nesta agreed to attend that meeting with the High Lords and tell her story, something she vowed to never do at the beginning of the book, was really the turning point in which I knew she was my favourite. I kept predicting that she was going to change her mind, and she did.

And of course there was the tension filled relationship between Nesta and Cassian that I was rooting for. I was living for the small mentions of Feyre observing the looks and body language between Nesta and Cassian. We didn’t get a chance to get their point of view, but Feyre kindly informed the readers what was going on. Nesta is a closed off person, she always puts on this uncaring mask, but anytime Cassian was in any sort of trouble, specifically when he was fighting in all the battles, Nesta’s mask came right off and her genuine fear of Cassian’s safety was displayed. But what absolutely broke me, despite it being one of the highlights of the book for me, was when Nesta couldn’t leave Cassian’s side when he was badly wounded and was about to be killed by the King of Hybern so instead she shielded his body with her own and was prepared to die with him.

“I have no regrets in my life, but this. That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you, Nesta. I will find you in the next world – the next life. And we will have that time. I promise.”

“Together. They’d go together.”

So how could I not be absolutely devoted to these two after that scene?

As for Elain, I was expecting her to end up with Lucien before I started reading the book and now having finished it, I can’t decide if I want her to end up with Azriel or Lucien. Honestly I wouldn’t mind either way but I find it interesting how a mating bond can be rejected. I’m not entirely convinced of either choice just yet but hopefully one of the next books will expand on their relationships.  

I’ve mentioned before that the pacing of this book was slow at times, mostly because of war talk, but with the war talk it allowed us to meet all the High Lords. I’ve taken the court quiz and I’m officially part of the Day Court, so being able to meet Helion was amazing. I didn’t have a high opinion of him during the meeting but we later find out that he was acting in a way that wasn’t truly him. We also find out that Helion is Lucien’s biological father, and being a big fan of Lucien throughout this book, I was really happy about this twist.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as stressed out when reading than when I was reading the last hundred pages of this book because I was convinced that either Azriel or Cassian was going to die. I was thankfully wrong, but of course Sarah J. Maas didn’t let her main characters go off easy because she decided to kill off Rhys… which truthfully I wasn’t really affected by because I just knew that there was going to be some way to bring him back. What really got me though was Feyre’s reaction to his death, it absolutely crushed my soul. Just how she described the bond going blank was really heartbreaking. All the High Lords, including Tamlin, and Feyre brought him back, which is really interesting because the most powerful High Lord in history now possesses even more power from every High Lord and High Lady.

Something that I wasn’t expecting was Amren’s return. After she turned into her true form and ended the war Rhys gave her the opportunity to come back, and she took it. Now her true form is officially Fae.

The ending was definitely satisfying, especially because everyone in the inner circle made it out alive, but there are still so many stories that were not concluded. I know they will be the topics of the next books though. Personally, I’m really hoping that the next book follows Nesta and Cassian because I’m absolutely obsessed.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

shade of magicBook: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic, #1

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5 Stars

“You don’t know anything about these worlds,” he said.

“Sure I do. There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London.”

When I decided to pick up A Darker Shade of Magic, the first V.E Schwab book I was acquainted with, I never anticipated loving it as much as I did. Obviously I scolded myself for not picking it up sooner, but nevertheless I believe it was the right time to finally read it considering I sensed another reading slump creeping its way towards me. The book managed to draw me into its strange and unique world(s) from the very first line. It was hard to put down, especially when I needed to during exam season, but it helped me get lost and get through some stressful times.

The characters were a pleasure to get to know and the rules of magic, as well as the way the world(s) worked, developed in an informative yet not too overwhelming way throughout the book. This book also reminded me why I love fantasy so much. The little things, such as taverns, swords, magic, and the overall atmosphere of the book, were a part of why these familiar feelings came flooding in. A few parts definitely made me cringe though when the violence was described in vivid ways, and the amount of blood used and spilled in this book was constant, but it didn’t entirely falter my enjoyment of the book as I felt my rating should be a solid 5 stars.

A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell Maresh and Lila Bard. Kell is what is known as an Antari, one of two that exist, which means he possesses the power to use blood magic to travel between all the existing Londons. Red London, which thrives with magic, is where Kell is from. Grey London, which is very mundane. White London, which starves for magic. And Black London, which hasn’t existed for a long time. The determined, cunning, and brave female protagonist, Lila, is from the dull Grey London and her only wish is to be free. Of course freedom is hard to obtain, so Lila is determined to get what she wants by being a cross-dressing, cutthroat thief. Her goal of being a pirate is how she imagines her freedom to look like, but she can’t be a pirate without the perfect vessel, a scabbard, and a sword. These two characters meet each other in a dramatic and unpleasant circumstance, but perhaps having each other’s backs is the smart option if defeating and surviving the darkness and the danger, that is inevitable to come, is a possibility.

I loved the relationship that developed between Kell and Lila. The mix of Kell’s seriousness and Lila’s talent of finding trouble resulted in hilarious banter that was highly entertaining. The fact that they kept saving each other from danger never ceased to surprise me and yet I appreciated how it got them closer together. And boy was Kell’s constant solution to getting Lila out of trouble by telling her to run my favorite thing ever.

I’m excited to pick up and get through the next book in order to learn more about the world(s) and the characters. There is still so much to explore and I imagine more of how the different Londons and the magical elements are designed will come into play in the continuation of this series.     

Heartless by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

 

heart
Book: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

My Rating: 4 Stars

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

 Having rarely been immersed in the classic world of Alice in Wonderland in the past, Heartless by Marissa Meyer threw me into this impossible, whimsical world and I fell in love. And falling in love can in fact lead to a broken heart, which is one of the many emotions I endured because of this tale of the Queen of Hearts before she was the Queen of Hearts. Throughout this book I felt joyful, flushed, in love, annoyed, heartbroken, and angry.

Heartless follows Catherine (Cath), a young girl who only wants to follow her dreams of opening up a bakery. She is the daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness and because of this, expectations weigh her down, ones she wishes she could defy but deep down knows it would be useless. So Cath went on dreaming of the impossibilities with her maid and best friend Mary Ann. Cath knew that the inevitability of the King of Heart’s proposal of marriage was to be bestowed upon her and that her rejection would follow the disappointment of her parents, who were so pleased at the notion of their only daughter becoming queen. Cath’s dreams of the bakery were soon met with the dreams of being with Jest, the new court joker, who she encounters unexpectedly after running away from an almost marriage proposal. Jest was enchanting, entertaining, romantic, and impossible and their forbidden fondness for each other grew rapidly and passionately.

Heartless was such a beautiful but oh so strange read that was hard to put down once the story took off. Almost like falling down a rabbit hole with no tether to stop you from reaching the end. My 4 star rating was the result of my love of the characters and the entertainment of the world’s magical elements, but I was pained by the fact that I felt heartless myself at a certain point in this story, so I couldn’t give it that perfect rating.

Spoilers Ahead

 

Talking animals, a romantic relationship between a pig and a human, enchanted pumpkins that can turn someone into the vilest creature, a vanishing cat, and so much more.

Wonderland is an odd place and despite expecting all this already, it definitely had me surprised more times than I could keep track of.

My love for the main characters, Cath, Jest, Mary Ann, Hatta and Raven, left me in complete shreds by the end because all I wanted was for my favourites to be happy.

Cath knew what would bring her joy for the rest of her life, opening up a bakery and being with Jest, but was restricted by her parent’s dream of her becoming queen. Unfortunately the world she lived in didn’t see it proper for a woman to own a business, especially one who already had a high title in society. Her reputation was on the line, one she didn’t care about tarnishing, but her parents obviously thought differently. I just wish Cath was able to stand up for herself, her future, her happiness from the beginning, to not allow anyone to restrain her wants and dreams.           

Jest. Jest!

This beautiful, spirited joker who only wanted a lifetime at Cath’s side! I just can’t. I knew from the moment we met Jest that something was going to happen. There needed to be a motivation, something to turn Cath into the one thing she never wanted to be. And of course I was preparing myself for the inevitable, but when it happened, it didn’t sting any less.

There were so many great moments between him and Cath though. I loved the angst when Jest had to help woo Cath on the King’s behalf and witness their courtship, wishing he was in the King’s place. I loved when they snuck away in the middle of the night to join Hatta’s tea party, which is also where he found out how much of a talented baker she was. Or that time she chooses him and he whisks her away from the King and kisses her passionately. There were too many beautiful moments and all I can say is that Jest deserved better.

It was all just multiple catastrophic events that lead to that fated outcome. If Hatta didn’t throw those pumpkin seeds in the patch, if Mary Ann wasn’t stupid enough to venture there by herself, if Cath didn’t decide to go through that door… maybe things would have turned out alright. But it’s exhausting to think about all the what ifs.

Like I’ve said before, that outcome was inevitable. Cath needed to be heartless, to seek vengeance, to be angry, and what better way to motivate her into becoming one of the most treacherous villains we have ever known then by taking away the one person she loved the most from her life in the most horrific way.

Despite feeling sad about this conclusion, I’m actually glad that Raven stayed with her. Even though he has now become her executioner and the whole thing is entirely messed up, at least she still has a part of Jest with her. I just hope between all that wickedness she realizes it too.

I’ve always found Marissa Meyer’s stories easy to stay absorbed in from the very first line. I love how she’s able to take these beloved and well-known characters, write a unique twist to their stories, and still include elements from the original. For example, Jest gave her white roses and the castle gardens were full of them, reminding her of the grief and pain she was enduring from losing him. So she demanded only red roses to be planted, which is a parallel to “painting the roses red.”

I believe where the story ended was pretty conclusive and it makes sense that Heartless is a standalone, but I’m not opposed to a sequel if Marissa Meyer ever wanted to tell more of Cath’s story. Regardless, I’m looking forward to reading more books by Marissa Meyer.