I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Marissa Meyer’s latest, highly-anticipated book Heartless! This stop on the tour features a character profile on the King of Hearts, a monarch who enjoys the simple things in life and wears his heart on his sleeve. Keep reading for an excerpt from Heartless, my review afterwards as well as a giveaway over on my Instagram!
An excerpt from Heartless
Heartless Excerpt: King of Hearts
The King wore full regalia—a white fur cloak, black-and-white-striped pantaloons, glossy white shoes with diamond-studded buckles, and a heart-tipped scepter in one hand. This was all topped with the crown, trimmed with more rubies and diamonds and velvet and a central heart-shaped finial.
It would have been a striking ensemble, except the fur had some syrupy substance near the collar, the pantaloons were bunching around one knee, and the crown—which Catherine had always thought looked too heavy for the King’s tiny head—had slipped to one side. Also, His Majesty was grinning like a loon when Catherine rose from her curtsy.
And he was grinning at her.
Catherine stiffened as the King jostled down the steps. The crowd fanned out to allow him through, creating a direct pathway, and before Catherine could think to move aside herself, the King was standing before her.
“Fair evening, Lady Pinkerton!” He arched up onto his toes, which drew even more attention to his minuscule stature. He stood at least two hands shorter than Catherine, despite the rumor that he had special-crafted shoes with two-inch soles.
“Fair evening, Your Majesty. How do you do?” She curtsied again.
The White Rabbit, who had followed in the King’s wake, cleared his throat. “His Royal Majesty would like to request the hand of Lady Catherine Pinkerton for the first quadrille.”
Her eyes widened. “Why, thank you, Your Majesty. I would be honored.” Catherine dipped into a third curtsy—her practiced reaction to anything that was said in the King’s presence. It was not at all that he was an intimidating man. Much the opposite. The King, perhaps fifteen years her senior, was round-bodied and rosy-cheeked and had a tendency to giggle at the most inopportune times. It was his very lack of intimidation that kept Catherine on her best behavior, otherwise it would be too easy to forget that he was her sovereign.
Handing his scepter to the White Rabbit, the King of Hearts took Catherine’s hand and led her onto the dance floor. Cath told herself it was a mercy to be swept away from Margaret, but the King’s company wasn’t much of an improvement.
No, that wasn’t fair. The King was a sweet man. A simple man. A happy man, which was important, as a happy king made for a happy kingdom.
He simply wasn’t a clever man.
Before she was known as the Queen of Hearts, Catherine was a talented baker with dreams of opening her own bakery. However, when she becomes the object of the King’s affections, her dream feels less and less like it will become a reality. Enter Jest, the King’s handsome and charming court joker, who immediately captures the attention of Catherine. Not wanting to disrupt the status quo of what’s expected of her, the pair enter into a secret courtship and Catherine is more determined than ever to write her own destiny.
I absolutely love origin stories of well known tales. Like with Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, for example, Heartless takes what we thought we knew, and turns it upside down. In this prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we encounter numerous familiar characters, some in larger roles than others, and witness how they came to be.
While I don’t often read many love stories, I’m always a sucker for love triangles and this one is a compelling, and frustrating, one! There were moments that reminded me a lot of my favourite movie, Moulin Rouge, actually. The female protagonist is caught between someone who she doesn’t like but can provide for her versus someone she does like but shouldn’t, and can’t give her a life of security. But if romance isn’t your thing, there’s so much more to this book than that! There’s magic, monsters and a strong female lead. Even though I adored swooning over the courtship between Jest and Catherine, it was Catherine’s gumption and feminist attitude that really had me cheering her on.
It’s funny that I say I like origin stories actually, because I usually hate spoilers. I don’t want to know anything about how something happens and my former roommate had said that she likes to find out the ending, and then read the book all the way through to see the journey of how it gets to that point. I totally get it now with these types of prequels. I love knowing what we know about the Queen of Hearts and getting to take that journey to see how she got to be that way. And yet, like when I watched Titanic, even though we know the end result, I still found myself wishing for a different outcome the whole way through. This stand-alone novel by Meyer is a wonderful imagining of what happened in Wonderland before Alice finds her way there.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5 /5 stars)
Available: November 8, 2016
Goodreads | Book Depository | Chapters Indigo
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
#HeartlessIsHere and today I'm one of the stops on the blog tour for this prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! To celebrate the release of Marissa Meyer's new book, I'm giving away one of these Heartless travel mugs pictured in this photo! To enter: . ❣️Follow @justalillost on Instagram ❣️Comment with your favourite Wonderland character! Open to Canadians. Ends 9/13. 👉Click the link in profile for an excerpt and my review of Heartless.