Written by Marissa Meyer
Published January, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Dystopian, Re-Tellings, Sci-Fi
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death.
I have to say it – I’m not a novella reader or fan. It’s a very rare thing when I find myself reading a novella, because I just think ‘if it’s so integral to the story, well then why didn’t it make the cut into one of the books?’ Particularly when it’s such a big series like The Lunar Chronicles. For the most part I’m of the firm belief that novellas shouldn’t be essential reading, and that they seem more like a ‘fad’ that’s going around the YA market…
That being said… Fairest was incredibly good. With so many people insisting I read this before delving into Winter, I thought why not? I’ve been wanting to learn more about Levana’s backstory and her exact relationship with Cinder and Winter, as so far The Lunar Chronicles themselves hadn’t divulged much. In Cinder, Scarlet and Cress, Levana was essentially this ‘big bad’ with a thirst for power.
“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.”
We learn about Levana’s childhood and why she is such an ugly person – inside and out. Her relationship with her elder sister, Channary, is also explored and we gain a bit of understanding as to why she is how she is. Although at times I felt a little sorry for Levana, I never ‘liked’ her. She was always an unlikeable character with questionable motives. We also experience her first ‘love’ and her rise to power, as well as how Winter came to be in her care.
What struck me most about Levana is that she never thought of herself as cruel. She was always talking about how horrible Channary and her parents were to her subjects, and their children, yet she couldn’t see just how awful she was being herself. There was always an excuse for her actions – for the good of Luna, for the good of the people… etcetera.
“Then, on the twenty-first day of December in the 109th year of the third era, Queen Channary gave birth to a baby girl. She was officially named Princess Selene Channary Jannali Blackburn of Luna.”
Other than getting to know just how twisted Levana was, we also get a great amount of insight as to how things are run on Luna. It’s also wonderful to meet characters we’ve only seen mentioned in the series thus far (such as Channary) and see how bigger characters in the main series came to power. It’s like a history lesson playing out before your eyes!
Levana’s first ‘love’ is a palace guard by the name of Evret Hayle. I’d always been intrigued to see if Levana had ever found real love, and Fairest answers it, although I find myself still confused. Levana felt it was love, but it really was the most horrific love story. It made me squirm to see Evret powerless against Levana and her fifteen-year-old fantasies. His life was utterly miserable, and when he died I thought of it as kind of a blessing for him, even if he had to leave Winter.
It was a super speedy read. I didn’t read the excerpt of Winter, as I can now go on to the whole book straightaway, so I managed to read this one in two-three hours. I’m so glad I did, as Marissa Meyer’s writing has greatly improved and continues to evolve. Fairest added so much more depth to Luna, Levana, Winter and even Cinder (we get to see baby Selene!) and I can’t wait to read the final instalment in this series now!