Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on January 27, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
Levana is one evil bitch. But we already knew that, and in Fairest, I actually came to emphasise with her. Her point of view is twisted, disturbing and sickly fascinating, as she transformed from a lovesick girl into an evil, powerful villain.
Queen Levana always felt like a one dimensional villain to me, who just wanted power for the sake of it. But in Fairest, we learn so much more about why she’s the way she is, living with a disfigured face, abused by her evil sister and overshadowed by her beauty and power. The Levana that we meet at the start of the book, is a young, lonely girl who just wants to be loved and adored. But as she learns to get what she wants by controlling, manipulating and hiding behind her glamour, we see her spiraling out of control into the evil Queen we know today.
“If you want him so much,” said Levana, “why don’t you just brainwash him into wanting you? It would be much simpler.”
I actually admired Levana’s sheer determination at getting what she wants, even though she goes about it in a twisted manner that abuses people’s rights. She sees her sister’s faults as a Queen frolicking about with a range of suitors, and becomes a stronger ruler. She witnesses true love, through the form of her palace guard Emret and his wife, and vows to his superior lover. She’s clearly a sociopath that lacks humility and empathy. Her efforts in power will flourish, while floundering in love. Queen Levana is a formidable opponent, and seeing her rise was fascinating.
The ‘romance’ in Fairest is repulsive and disturbing, as Levana forces Emret to do what she wants. She believes manipulating him into loving her is okay, and does some pretty disturbing things. While much of the book focuses on the romance, it actually presents an interesting lesson for Levana, that you can’t force human emotion.
“Love is a conquest! Love is a war!…Here is what I think of love!”
While it’s not that crucial to the overall plot, Fairest is a fantastic introduction to Winter, showing us where Levana, Cinder and Winter originated from and who their parents were. Witnessing Levana’s childhood and rise to power was a twisted, sickly fascinating experience where I couldn’t believe the depths she would go through just to get ahead. Although I’m not usually a fan of novellas, I loved this antagonist’s point of view and it was the perfect origin story for Levana.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.