Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story) by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Published 27 January 2015
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
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.
She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back. White sparks floated in her vision but the mercy of unconsciousness wouldn’t come. Her throat was hoarse from screaming. The smell of her own burning flesh invaded her nostrils. Smoke stung her eyes. Blisters burbled across her skin, and entire swaths of flesh peeled away, revealing raw tissue underneath.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I enjoyed Fairest but not as much as I expected. I’ve read a lot of reviews that state this novella humanises Levana, the villain of the Lunar Chronicles. I don’t agree. Fairest helped me understand Levana’s motivations but didn’t elicit any sympathy. She doesn’t come across as someone to be pitied in any way. Levana’s sister Channery (mother of Cinder nee Selene) is painted as an awful person in Winter who tortured Levana and caused her disfiguring burn scars. The incident that caused the scars is played out in Fairest. However, this is not as shocking as hinted at by Levana in Winter and disappointed me. I hoped Fairest would show more of Levana and Channery’s relationship and show Levana as someone who survived spousal abuse. I was disappointed this didn’t happen. Channery is pointed as someone vain, silly and spoiled. Levana comes across as a stereotypical jealous baby sister. Levana is obsessed from a young age with taking the throne from her sister when she becomes Queen after their parents are murdered by a Shell. She constantly tells herself she would be a better Queen, she would care more for the people of Luna than her sister and her sister doesn’t deserve the crown. In the Lunar Chronicles, Luna wears a wedding ring and the books hint at some lost love affair. In Fairest, Levana is in love with a palace guard to the point of obsession. When his wife dies she uses her glamour to control and manipulate him into marrying her. Hardly a love affair. I enjoyed the links between Fairest and the other books. Princess Winter is the child of the guard Levana marries and his dead wife. The incident which led to Princess Selene being so injured she is turned into a cyborg and hidden from Levana takes place. Levana orders the creation of the disease that she uses as a biological plague to weaken Earth so she can try to seize control in the other books.