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 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. 

Audiobook Review

Writing and narration : 5 stars

Story 3,5 stars (purely because I didn’t like how it turned out….#sorrynotsorry)

This was supposed to be a buddy read but…I read ahead of everyone ! Sorry Caro and Laura, I couldn’t resist!

So this is a tragedy.
In the literal sense of a tragedy.

Marissa Meyer had once more a superb writing, with character coming to life, vibrant, quaint, special. She makes you taste all the baking Catherine is making, feel the breath leave your lungs with the cinching of a corset… I‘’s THAT GOOD of a writing.
We have perky Catherine, our main character, mischievous and talented Jest our court joker and Catherine’s sweetheart.
The terrible Marchioness, Catherine’s mom, who reminded me of the tyrannical queen of Heart from Alice.
Marianne, Catherine’s maid and best friend, partner in their joint dream to open a bakery.
The King of Heart. Jolly, sweet, credulous, kind but also clueless and a coward.
And so many more characters like the Hatter, the White Rabbit, Cheshire etc all found in Alice in Wonderland’s tale!

Because this is written as a fictional prequel of Alice’s tale, explaining how the Queen of Heart became to be that feared ruler screaming : “Off with their head!”.
This is the villain’s origin story.
Before the villain was a villain.

When she was a bubbly and hopeful Marques’s daughter whose dream was to open a bakery. Courted by the king but pinning for the jester.

With a wonderful writing, Marissa wove her tale, driving me mad at times when I was so tired of Catherine incapable of rebuking the king while keeping Jest hoping. Yet even if I was angry, I also could understand why it was not so easy.

I am just bitter that a fantastic character like Catherine, warm, considerate, creative and courageous ended up being the pitiless Queen of Heart!

And let’s not talk about Jest… 

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I really enjoyed the writing in this book but it’s definitely one of the most heartbreaking villain origin stories I’ve read. I felt the same way about sweet, vivacious Catherine becoming the Queen of Hearts.

  2. I’m amazed at how creative she is. I enjoyed the first books in the Lunar chronicles too – Cinder and Scarlet, the sci fi fantasy series based on the fairy tale characters.

  3. I can say I have felt the same way about a book before. Great writing, characters, and an ending that did not sit well with me. It’s an interesting angle and extension of the Alice stories though.