I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Synopsis: "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 has a talent for cooking magical confections that can alter a person's emotions. She wants to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
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."
My thoughts: I actually finished this book way ahead of time, but I had to take quite a while to figure out my feelings on it, to be honest. It wasn't that I didn't like the book - far from it, in fact - it was that I felt a little overwhelmed by everything, and had some complex stuff coming up.
Let me start with the characters. I absolutely loved the construction of each - characters that I was familiar with from Alice in Wonderland were here, bright and fantastical, with three dimensions and stories to tell. I loved the way Meyer constructed them - they (to me) felt true to the original story whilst also giving them her own artistic spin. Cheshire and Hatta were my favourites (though it isn't normally hard to get me to like the Cheshire cat, his particular breed of madness is one I adore). Catherine was an intriguing character, and while I did have my problems with her at times (I think understandable given the subject of her evolution into the Queen of Hearts), she was always someone that I could follow.
Without giving to much away, I was quite fascinated by the love interest in this book. To begin with, I felt like there was that breathlessness about new romantic possibilities fully present, and I squirmed happily whilst reading those early scenes. However, this is when we got to a few of my issues with the story: the love interest occasionally acted in a way that didn't make any sense to me. Perhaps this will require a reread to fully get the idea of it, but I just felt that said love interest was behaving in a way that didn't really improve the situation for either themselves or Catherine.
The other issue I had was one that may be fairly unique to me, and let me preface this with saying that I know this is a back-story for a villainous character, so a certain amount of terrible things had to happen to said character for her future to make sense. However, I just felt that Meyer may have relied on the other storyline (that of the fearsome Jabberwock) in this tale a little too much for my liking. It began to feel a little like she was following a certain formula: main character gets hopeful about life, romantic interlude of possibility, something bad happens (Jabberwock?), beaten down character gets hopeful against odds, romantic possibility, something bad happens (Jabberwock), and on and on. When I was about three-quarters of the way through the book, I must admit to feeling a little frustrated.
However, that being said, there was always enough of a feeling (a 'what happens next?' feeling) to bring me back and back for more. And I thought the ending was absolutely brilliant. [buttons lips to avoid saying any more and possibly spoiling things.] Regardless of whether Meyer was relying on a formula or not, I definitely enjoyed my time with this book. I only wish she might explore other characters in the Wonderland world - where did Cheshire get the ability to become disappear, perhaps?
[I received a review copy of this book for review from Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!]
A favourite line from the book: ""Tell me, which answer did he give?" asked Hatta.
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
"Oh - because they produce a few notes, though they tend to be very flat." She was proud of herself for remembering, so caught in the performance had she been. "He covered the ballroom in confetti. Little paper notes, all with charming designs."
Hatta twirled the cane. "I always preferred the answer: because they both have quills dipped in ink.""
You would like this book if: You like back-stories of villains; you love books that celebrate Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Tea to drink while reading this book: Preferably something with rose petals!
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