Large Print - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath would rather open a bakery and marry for love than accept a proposal from the King of Hearts, especially after meeting the handsome and mysterious court jester.
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Mich. : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410494375
Characteristics: 695 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print
Call Number: LT Y MEYER, M


From Library Staff

We fell down a rabbit hole into this story of Wonderland (before Alice) on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

Fractured Fairy Tale- In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath would rather open a bakery and marry for love than accept a proposal from the King of Hearts, especially after meeting the handsome and mysterious court jester, Jest.

This title was a Douglas County Libraries top checkout in 2017.

Library_Jill Feb 08, 2017

I was really sucked into this engaging, beautifully-constructed imagining of how the Queen of Hearts became the "off-with-their-heads" character we all recognize. Meyer does such a wonderful job of crafting not only the world of Hearts--with its many clever nods to Wonderland and nurse... Read More »

MelifluousView Feb 06, 2017

Meyer does a beautiful job of taking us into Wonderland and using language that points to Lewis Carroll left and right. If I hadn't known how this origin story for the Queen of Hearts was headed, I would have enjoyed it so much more; the looming tragedy made it hard to really love Cath and Jest ... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 11, 2019

The best fantasy novel I've ever read!

Jul 01, 2019

This book was amazing. I don't think that she wrote it to be a prequel. She wrote as a beginning of a whole new series. I would love for her to expand on this book as well as her lunar chronicles. But why did jest have to die!

May 15, 2019

I cried for two days about what happened to Jest. If only Cath wasn’t so stupid. I hate this story and also love it.❤️👎🏼❤️

Feb 26, 2019

This book is supposed to be the prequel to how the Queen of Hearts came to be. Catherine Pinkerton wants to work in a bakery with her maid friend, Mary Ann, but her parents would rather want their daughter to marry the king. Then, Cath meets Jest, a court joker who comes from Chess (another world through a mirror), and the two enter a secret courtship. So, I'll just say that the book was more in the Disney cartoon category, since most of the scenes made it seem like Disney, though that's OK. Another thing was that it foreshadowed the ending. (Cath became the queen, as you may have guessed.) I didn't like Cath's character, to be honest. She seemed like a coward (since she didn't stand up for herself when other went against what she wanted), and had a seriously huge and unexpected change in personality. (from "sweet heart" to the "Off with their heads!" psycho we know, in an instant.) She even stole a crazy pumpkin from Peter Peter (Referencing to the poem), who owns a pumpkin patch. While that was pretty bad, the ending was worse. If Cath hadn't saved Mary Ann, who was about to be feed by Peter to the Jabberwock (who's actually Peter's wife, by the way), she would've been with Jest, who would've avoided having his head chopped off by Peter, in the land of Chess. And maybe Alice wouldn't have had any harm on her adventures in Wonderland. I'd say Meyer should just stick to The Lunar Chronicles.

Feb 22, 2019

I enjoyed this book, it smoothed out some of the Wonderland story elements so they seemed like something normal and the characters were interesting. Like some other of the reviewers, I felt it took a bit of a turn 3/4th of the way through as the tone changed. Hopefully this isn't too much of a spoiler, but it would have helped to know that this was an origin story. I felt like the book was leading to a very different ending and I was not emotionally prepared for the actual one.

Feb 11, 2019

For this first two thirds or so of the book, I was expecting to give it four stars. It was a fun light twist on a familiar fairy tale. Then it got weird - and not in the good Wonderland-y kind of way.

I appreciate that the author had a goal in mind, but I didn't like the introduction of extra character(s) at the last minute who, to the best of my recollection, had no connection to the original Wonderland lore. I feel like the same end could have been met using the characters we had already met (and/or actual Wonderland characters). Certainly, I'd had several different theories as to how the story was going to play out. All of them would have felt more authentic than the actual ending.

Great set-up, but the conclusion was a let down.

Jan 14, 2019

Wonderfully imaginative and addictive. A very nearly perfect novel.

Nov 18, 2018

One of my favorite books that belongs to a group I can only describe as "Unable to put the book down until I finish". Such a beautiful and heartbreaking story. And like Meyer's other works, it craftily demonstrated parallels to the classic fairy tale without giving away the plot. I simply love Meyer's formula for a hit story: strong characters, fantastic adventures, some romance, and all magic.

Nov 15, 2018

I loved the lunar chronicle series, but this unfortunately did not live up to my expectations. While it has some good elements it just feels like something’s missing. :(

Aug 10, 2018

I found this story to be an unexpectedly gripping read! I've enjoyed a good number of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland rip-offs, and while this one is probably not my favorite, it was very different, and surprised me!
The story begins almost painfully slowly - as a total fantasy action nut, I wasn't about the dull political parties. It accelerates very surreptitiously, in almost imperceptible, dystopian-like undercurrents. A "Happy king, happy kingdom!" attitude neatly keeps the real action tucked away, until it springs out near the end and becomes impossible to put down! The ending was stunning. I'll admit I was impatient while reading it, but in hindsight, the book is a masterpiece and I highly recommend :)

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Jul 01, 2019

rodiack85 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Mar 22, 2019

HWALLMART thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 07, 2018

orange_zebra_148 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 15

Jun 16, 2018

StrawberryAlpaca thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Feb 23, 2018

NoCommonRaven thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nov 28, 2017

Osp1ca thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

QuiteArdentlyMyDear thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 28, 2017

Blue_Butterfly_87 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

sarahbru17 Jul 03, 2017

sarahbru17 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Apr 29, 2017

green_ant_1650 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

View All Ages


Add a Quote
Jan 16, 2017

"Off with his head."

Jan 14, 2017

"Sometimes I have come to believe as much as six impossible things before breakfast."

Jan 14, 2017

"Impossible is my specialty."

Dec 28, 2016

"Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to."

Nov 28, 2016

"She would not allow fate to trick her out of this dream."

Sadly it did.......

Jul 01, 2016

Sweets and Tarts: The Most Wonderous Bakery in All of Hearts

Jun 26, 2016

"But hoping," he said, "is how the impossible can be possible after all."


Add a Summary
Apr 01, 2017

Inspired by Lewis Caroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Marissa Meyer's gives Catherine, a girl who dreams of opening a bakery. Only her parents have other plans- marrying her off to the King of Hearts. Full of romance and mystery, Heartless is the backstory of the Queen of Hearts that you never knew you wanted.

Jul 01, 2016

Catherine is a talented baker and all she wants to do is open a bakery with her best friend and be the person who supplies Hearts with the best pastries and confections. Unfortunately, her mother thinks that's unsuitable for a woman who holds the eye of the yet unmarried King of Hearts.

At a ball where she believes she will receive a proposal, Cath meets Jest, the handsome new joker who immediately steals her heart. Unwilling to risk offending the King or her parents, they enter into an intense (& secret) courtship.

Cath only wants to fall in love and run her life on her own terms. But sometimes, fate has other plans


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DCL

To Top