Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Heartless – Long before she was the terror of Wonderland―the infamous Queen of Hearts―she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
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.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Excerpt from Heartless by Marissa Meyer
A prequel to Alice in Wonderland by the bestseller author of the Lunar Chronicles.
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 yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she 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.
Catherine fled out to the balcony, running as fast as her heeled boots and strangling corset would allow. The cool night air sent a chill racing across her enflamed skin, but every breath remained a struggle.
She lifted her skirts and slipped down the steps into the rose gardens. She heard a splinter of glass and startled cries behind her and wondered what chaos Cheshire must be causing now, but she dared not look back, not even as she reached the gardens.
The world tilted. She paused at a wrought-iron gate, gripping one of the decorative finials for support. Catching her breath, she stumbled on. Down the clover-filled path between rose arbors and trickling fountains, passing topiaries and statues and a pond of water lilies. She reached for the back of her dress, desperate to loosen the stays. To breathe. But she couldn’t reach. She was suffocating.
She was going to be sick.
She was going to faint.
A shadow reared up in front of her, backlit from the blazing castle lights so that the silhouette stretched over the croquet lawns. Catherine cried out and stumbled to a halt, damp hair matted to her neck.
The shadow of a hooded man engulfed her. As Catherine stared, the silhouette lifted an enormous ax, the curved blade arching across the grass.
Trembling, Catherine spun around. A dark shape dropped toward her out of the sky. She screamed and threw her arms up in defense.
The raven cawed, so close she could feel his wing beats as he flew past.
“Are you all right?”
She gasped and withdrew her arms. Her heart was thundering as she peered up into the boughs of a white rose tree.
It took a moment to find him in the dark. The joker was lounging on a low-hanging branch, a silver flute in his hands, though if he’d been playing it before, she’d been too distracted to notice.
Her lashes fluttered. Half of her hair had fallen from its chignon and draped over her shoulder. Her skin was burning hot. The world was spinning wildly—swirling with lemon tarts and invisible cats and curved axes and …
The joker tensed, his brow creasing. “My lady?”
The world tilted severely and turned black.
“In Heartless, the nonsense that is Wonderland gets a reverential makeover, full of heart and its own idiosyncratic character.”–Gregory Maguire, WICKED and AFTER ALICE
“The author’s best fantasy yet. …Meyer has woven all the elements of darkness and light, fate and free will, and love and hatred into an unforgettable story of the evolution of the Red Queen from a young girl who dreamed of true love and freedom to a madwoman best remembered for the phrase ‘Off with his head.’ If you only read one fractured fairy tale this year, make it Heartless. A must-have title.–School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series:
#1 New York Times Bestselling Series
USA Today Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
“A mash-up of fairy tales and science fiction . . . a crossbetween Cinderella, The Terminator,and Star Wars.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Prince Charming among the cyborgs.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Terrific.” ―LosAngeles Times
“A binge-reading treat.” ―MTV
“Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre.” ―The Seattle Times
“Epic . . . Breathtaking.” ―Teen Vogue
“Utterly thrilling.” ―PublishersWeekly
“Wonderfully addictive.” ―Buzzfeed
About the Author
Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Fairest: Levana’s Story, and Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection.