Fairest by Marissa Meyer Review: Evil Levana’s Story

February 11, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Fairest by Marissa Meyer Review: Evil Levana’s StoryFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on January 27, 2015
Source: Publisher
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!”

epiloguepink

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.

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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39 responses to “Fairest by Marissa Meyer Review: Evil Levana’s Story

  1. cristinasbookreviews

    I have yet to read this series….I know, I know…I need to get on it. Like STAT. I only skimmed your review because I typically try to avoid reviews in general about any series that I know for sure I'll be tackling. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is a fantastic review!!! 🙂
    My recent post Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1) by Pierce Brown

  2. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    *snickers* I was too horrified by how seriously disturbed she was to appreciate her determination. But yes, she definitely was . . . o.O

    I'm glad you liked this, Jeann. I thought it was great too, and I cannot wait to get my hands on Winter. Great review!
    My recent post Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

    • Hahaha I guess I pick up weird things to appreciate along the way. She was definitely a disturbed character, fascinating to read! Thanks Jess!

  3. karawrites15

    I can't wait to read this one. 🙂 I've seen heaps of really positive reviews for it now, and I've always thought that Levana was an interesting character; I'll definitely be picking up a copy of this one soon. Great review, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

    • Yep an origins story for a villain! It\’s best read after Cress though, so you know who Winter is, but there aren\’t any major spoilers if you read it earlier.

  4. inlibrisveritas

    I loved this. Levana is just so crazy, but in some ways I just felt sorry for her. Suddenly her motivations become a lot clearer and her desires a lot more twisted in nature. Great review Jeann, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
    My recent post Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

  5. I always thought Levana was a pretty one dimensional character, too. In the previous books, she was unspeakably evil, but there wasn't really a reason for it, which is always a pet peeve of mine when it comes to villains. That's why I was so happy when I got reasons in Fairest. It was dark and depressing, which I don't often enjoy, but it was still a good book.
    My recent post When Music and Writing Collide

  6. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Can you believe I still haven't read Cress? I don't know what I'm waiting for… Anyways, I usually don't like novellas when they aren't pertinent to the story, but I seriously would LOVE to read Levana's story. So we can understand why the heck she is how she is. I'm glad that it did exactly that. Great review 🙂

  7. LilysBookBlog

    I love books from villians POV and so I've been dying to get my hands on this one. I still haven't read Cress *hides in corner* but i'm planning on binge reading the remaining books right before Winter comes out and enjoying all the beauty in them 🙂 Lovely review Jeann 🙂

    • Oooh I think this would be totally up your alley Lily, the villain\’s pov in here made me really squeamish! Binge reading sounds amazing 😀

  8. I swear Levana reminds me SO much of Veronica (?) the evil queen from Once Upon a Time the tv show. I've stopped watching that show now by her history is very similar to Levana's, but I guess a lot more heartbreaking and a lot less evil. I need to start this series already so I can get to Fairest! 😀