Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Book Description:

Published: November 8, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

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 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.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Review –

Heartless is a prequel to Lewis Carroll’s 1863 classic Alice in Wonderland, being the history of one of the most recognizable characters in fiction; The Queen of Hearts. Set in the kingdom of Hearts, a world of talking animals, animate furniture and occasional bouts of unpredictable magic, the story follows Lady Catherine Pinkerton, the seventeen year old daughter of the Marquess of Rockturtle Cove.

Cath begins the book as sweet, naïve and rather overly sheltered, not to mention very much under her parent’s’ thumb (one reason for my lady’s initial exasperation), however seeing her change, grow and evolve through circumstances is truly a pleasure. Meyer seems to have a gift for character depiction since this is a book where even the minor players turn out to be more than they appear, and as for Catherine rarely have I seen an author write character development in such a pure sense, i.e. taking a character from one place at the start of the book, and showing how they journey to a very different place at the end of it.

I liked how the King of Hearts, despite being cast almost immediately in the role of an unwanted potential husband is neither sadistic nor lecherous. He is simply good natured, foolish, ineffective and not overly endowed in the brain department. While this makes him of course completely out of the question as a match for Catherine, it also makes her position a more unique one than a lot of characters facing forced marriages in modern fiction, since it’s one thing to wish to avoid a vile suitor at all costs, quite another to have to reject an innocent but dim-witted one.

The  character I did feel slightly short-changed by was Jest, the court joker and very obvious love interest. Dashing, clever, accomplished at everything from magic tricks to music and of course hopelessly smitten with Catherine (he even has golden eyes). While Meyer does undoubtedly reveal enough hidden truths about Jest to make him play an interesting part in the plot, I did feel that he was a bit too idealised. 

The final conclusion is a very apt end to the story, employing prophecy, destiny and character revelations. If you know the story of the Queen of Hearts then you know that this story will not end well, BUT you keeping hoping …

Despite its at times slow pace and its rather too obvious Joker I did very much enjoy Heartless. Take a large serving of Lewis Carroll, add a table-spoon of Jane Austin, season with a bit of Gaiman like twisted fairy tales and a likable, if rather sheltered protagonist and you have something sweet, fluffy and delicious on the outside, but with a dark, and troubled centre within.

Loved it!

 

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Stars Above (Lunar Chronicles #4.5) by Marissa Meyer

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

The enchantment continues….

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.


The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess.
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

Review –

If you are a fan of the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer this is a MUST READ because we learn very interesting information about all of the characters included in the books. Some of the information is prior to the books beginning and some just adds nuances we didn’t know. 

A wonderful read or listen. I loved it.

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Fairest (Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Book Description:

Published: January 27, 2015

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

The story takes place about twenty years before the start of Cinder, when Levana is fifteen years old. It starts on the day of her parents’ funeral. Her parents have been murdered by a shell who was not happy with their rule. As a result of their death, Levana’s older sisterChannary is about to be crowned the new queen of Luna. From there, the story goes through about ten years of Levana’s life. The book gives insight into what has made Levana into the person we see later, her relationships with Channary and her niece Selene, how she became the stepmother of Winter and what exactly lies beneath Levana’s glamour.

Review –

I rated this book five stars ***** because it captured my attention from the very beginning and never let go.

The author, Marissa Meyer, does a fantastic job in telling us the back story of the evil Queen Levana of Luna.  We find out about her sad childhood without parents or friends and just her evil older sister to have for company. It’s no wonder she would fixate on Evret Hale, a handsome court guard and after his wife dies in childbirth manipulates his mind into thinking he loves her.  She finally wears him down and he does marry her but never loves her and ten years later she has him killed so she can marry the Emperor of Earth to help her in her take over of the planet. 

She always wears a glamour because when she was six her evil older sister manipulated her into going into a fire and her left side was horribly disfigured, but about the same time she has Evret killed she decides to just wear a veil instead of worrying with the glamour.

The next installment in the Lunar Chronicles is Winter. Winter is the daughter of Evret and his first wife, Solstice and the step-daughter of Queen Levanna.   It will be out in the Fall of this year.  Can’t wait!

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Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

13206828Product Description:

Published: February 2014      Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair – or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review –

It pays to have a daughter who can get her hands on ARC’s of the popular “to be published” books because when I heard she had this one i put my name of the list of people she promised it to and one day it appeared in my mailbox.

The story takes up where Scarlet has left off and from the first page I could not put it down.  The characters are engaging and the main women characters are strong-willed and the robot is hilarious. The male characters are great also. I can’t wait for the next installment to become available but I know it will be awhile because this one is going to be published until February of next year.

A fellow avid reader and blogger, Julie Graves of http://myfavoritepastime.blogspot.com had this to say about the book:

With each book and each added character I become more of a fan of these books. Captain Thorne as the worldly rogue and Cress as the innocent and naive make the perfect couple! Cinder and Kai seem like a lost hope with Kai going to marry Levana, but all hope is not lost for them as a couple. Wolf and Scarlet are not very prominent in CRESS, but their relationship has developed and there is a strong bond between them. Then I think my favorite character is the robot Iko! She cracks me up with her antics of trying to be human. She is quite entertaining.

If you haven’t tried The Lunar Chronicles you might want to reconsider.

 

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Product Description:

Due out in early 2013 from Macmillan, Scarlet is the second book in Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles young-adult series. Cinder reappears in the next futuristic tweaking of a familiar fairy tale — as does Prince Kai, the evil lunar ruler Queen Levana, and a heap of intergalactic intrigue.

Debuting in the new book, however, is Scarlet Benoit, a young French woman who enlists the services of a street fighter named Wolf when she finds her grandmother, a former military pilot, gone missing.

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Two more fairy-tale fantasies will follow Scarlet, including Cress (2014), Meyer’s take on the Rapunzel legend, and the Snow White-inspired conclusion, Winter (2015).

Review –

I am lucky to have a daughter who is a young adult literature aficionado which causes her to attend conferences and meeting across this great country of ours and become friends with many authors.  Because of her contacts she received the ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of this book and after she read it she sent it to me.

I had fallen in love with the character of Cinder from the first book by the same name and wasn’t sure if I would like Scarlet as well, but I did.  The book was wonderful, a very fast read, action packed and fairy tale like.

It will be released in February of 2013 and if you’ve read Cinder be sure to make a note and get Scarlet as soon as it comes out.

 

 

Cinder: (Book One in the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Book Description

Series: Lunar Chronicles | Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
 
 
Review –
I first noticed this book on my daughter’s reading blog and I trust her judgement most of the time when it comes to YA literature because it is her passion. She reads it,she reviews it, and she teaches it. So, I decided to read it because I hadn’t read any YA so far this year and I love fairy tales retold.  Let me tell you, this is a winner. It is Cinderella meets Sci Fi/dystopian, a time far far into the future, and Popular Mechanic/Terminator.  I liked it much more than I thought I would BUT was let down at the end.  I thought it was too abrupt.  To see what I mean you’ll have it read it for yourself and you won’t be sorry.
 
 Check out my daughter’s blog: