By Marissa Meyer
Catherine Pinkerton may be the daughter of a marquess, but all she wants to do is open a bakery with her friend/maid Mary Ann. She certainly doesn't want to marry the silly King of Hearts--and that's before she meets his new joker, Jest, and is swept off her feet by him. Once she meets Jest, though, she is certain she can't marry the king, even though it seems nearly impossible that she'll be able to disagree with what her parents want and do what she wants instead. But Jest has a way of making the impossible possible, and Catherine comes to believe there might just be a way to make all her dreams come true.
So, I've never actually read Alice in Wonderland, and I've never seen the entire movie, so while I was vaguely aware of some of the details of the story, I didn't have very much background as I started reading this book. I did know enough to know it wasn't going to end well...but at the same time, I couldn't but hope there was a way that it COULD end well, which I suppose in some ways in similar to Catherine's experience in the book--hoping that the impossible will become possible.
I didn't like this book nearly as much as I liked the Lunar Chronicles, but I think I knew going in that I wouldn't because of personal reading biases--like the fact that I like happy endings and I'm not a fan of the literary nonsense genre or talking animals. While those things worked against the book, I DID like both Catherine and Jest and I was intrigued by their relationship and the idea of the Queen of Hearts' backstory. I felt like the overall change in Catherine came too quickly--but that could be because the nonsense elements of the story detracted from the building of their relationship and I wasn't as drawn into as I think I would have been without those elements. I think other readers who are more comfortable with and more interested in the literary nonsense genre and with Alice in Wonderland in general would have been pulled in to the relationship more and the subsequent changes and reactions would seem more intense to them.