Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan (Mykindabook)
Release: 9th February 2017
Genre: Fairytale prequel/twist (Is that the right thing to say??)
Which animal is similar to this book? The mandarin duck is found in East Asia primarily but most zoos will have them in their bird exhibits because they’re the funniest looking ducks literally ever…They’re so colourful and bright that they almost don’t look real; they’re covered in bold reds, yellows, oranges, blues, greens and vibrant white. Compared to your standard mallard, they’re positively stunning. But they do look absolutely insane and wacky, which is the link between this beautiful creature and this story. It’s set in the wonderland laid out by the original book and the films that followed it so you can imagine just how crazy the environment is, but the story is just so beautifully written that I found myself thinking logical thoughts about the absurd plot lines in the overall story. This book is a mandarin duck because it is just wacky but somehow beautiful in its insanity.
The blurb says: 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.
This was such an emotional roller coaster that I genuinely think I have the right to skip college for a couple of weeks to mourn the end of the book. If you read this (and you should!), prepare to fall madly in love with each and every character, expect to feel their pain and their triumphs and eventually expect to have your heart broken. Right from the start, it’s known that she will be crowned the Queen of Hearts because it’s the story before she’s the Queen from the famous stories, and yet I still spent the whole story hoping it wouldn’t happen.
The characters are beautifully written, each in enough depth to feel like you know them well and you will inevitably become attached to them all. I don’t often enjoy such ‘out-there’ books with weird characters and funny lands, but this is possibly my favourite book of ever and it’s not even out yet! You will find yourself rushing to finish it at four in the morning because it’s just impossible to put down and I just loved everything about it.
The story is well-written, the characters are interesting and keep you hooked, but my favourite aspect was how it all links to the original story of Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen the Disney and the Tim Burton films (don’t hate me, I’ve just never got round to it…) but even I know that Marissa Meyer is an absolute genius in the way she’s written it. I don’t want to give anything away of course, so you’ll have to read it but it’s little things like why the Queen of Hearts’ most famous phrase is “off with their heads”. I love that it’s an origin story that doesn’t seem like it will end the way we all know it will. Honestly I cannot say enough good things about this book and I desperately need a finished copy because have you seen it?? It’s absolutely gorgeous!
10 out of 10 paw prints, just buy it, okay? I’ve never read anything like it; definitely a book I recommend to everyone. You won’t regret it.