Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the Fairest of them all?
Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her "glamour" to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told . . . until now. New York Times –bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes a special full-color image of Levana’s castle and an excerpt from Winter, the exciting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Four Stars: Peel back the veil and meet the vile Levana!
Fifteen year old Levana isn't heartbroken over the death of her parents because they had little time for her. However, that means that her older sister, Channary, will ascend to the throne. Levana and Channary don't get along, especially after Channary's role in Levana's disfigurement. More than anything, Levana longs for a friend, someone who will truly love her. When Evret, a palace guard extends hand in friendship, Levana believes it is because he is love with her, despite the fact that he is married. Levana decides that she will attain her heart's desire no matter the cost, and soon, she is committing one vile act after another. Will Levana be the best Queen ever?
What I Liked:
- I am not usually a fan of novellas and prequels, and in fact, most of the time I skip them. Fairest was one novella I couldn't resist. The novella comes in at around 250 pages, but the last fifty pages are actually a preview for Winter. Still considering that this is a novella, it is of considerable length, and I got a full story, and I wasn't left wanting. This is a novella that you should read especially if you are fan of the series.
- In order to have a truly good series, you need a vile villain. Levana has fit the villainous role beautifully so far, and this is her story. I liked peeling back all of her layers and seeing what drove her and why she acts the way she does. The story starts when Levana is fifteen right after her parents are murdered. Instead of being distraught, she is cool and detached, and even thinks that the blood would make a good shade of lipstick. Her parents never paid much attention to her so their deaths are big deal. As the story progresses, Levana grows up and learns to manipulate and control people to get what she wants. She even goes so far to coerce a man who doesn't love her into her marrying her because she believes that he does. In all honesty, Levana is sad and somewhat sympathetic. However, as she rises to power, her true nature comes out, and she is cold, calculating and a murderess. It is uncomfortable being in her head, but on the other hand, I loved seeing what made her tick, and I was surprised to find that I actually almost felt sorry for her. It makes her far more complicated going forward, and I like that.
- This novella provides the backstory for Cinder, and it is a must read if you are invested in the series. It tells the story of how and why Cinder was almost murdered, and it sets the table for Winter.
- I enjoyed getting a sneak peek at the upcoming Winter.
And The Not So Much:
- I wanted to know more about Levana's glamouring ability. It isn't explained how and why she can glamour. It is such an important part of her story, I felt like I needed to more about it.
- Even though this novella is marketed as a prequel, I would not recommend jumping in and reading it without having read the other books in the series. It will make more sense and have a much bigger impact on you if you read it after you have read the three previous books in the series. I would definitely recommend getting this one read before the release of Winter. Even though it is a novella it has some important information in the overall story arc.
Fairest is a satisfying novella that peels back the layers and shows what is underneath Levana's veil. See what drives Levana and how she ascended to her throne. If you are a fan of the Lunar Chronicles this is a must read. I highly recommend this series. Hurry and get caught up before the final book, Winter, releases in late 2015.
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.