The Fairest Mini-Review of Them All


Fairest: Levana’s Story (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
By Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Kindle Edition
Pages: 256
Genre: YA Fantasy


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.


I typically prefer to follow a series in the order of publication, and that was my original intent upon beginning The Lunar Chronicles. However, after completing Cinder, I soon realized I needed to know more about Levana’s story. It made sense to pick up this small novella up. So I did just that. Here is the part where spoilers may lie. I am pretty confident that I can actually proceed without them, but just be warned that if I fail, I claim no responsibility.

The story line in Fairest is exactly as it is so aptly titled, Levana’s story. If you have read this series or started it, you know exactly who she is. She is the not so charming, but ever “glamouring” ruler and Queen of Luna, a colony established on the moon, now recognized as an individual country.

It is hard to actually discuss a novella of this length in detail without inadvertently revealing the story in its entirety. So I will attempt to highlight my experience with Levana and her story.

It is always unique (though becoming more common) to read a novel or story from the point of view of a villain. Gaining that extra glimpse or insight into the making of a “monster” can offer a refreshing and enjoyable perspective into many of our favorite fandoms. I hold a certain amount of fondness for such stories, and this held true with Fairest. Although, I did not receive exactly what I was expecting.

The back story was rich, entertaining and full of depth for such a short story. It correlated well with Cinder, and I feel the additional insight will enhance my experience with this series moving forward. I even feel pretty confident in my decision to have jumped out of line and chosen this novella as my second read in The Lunar Chronicles.

So what did I expect? In all honesty, I expected that cliché “woe is me” tale. After reading through a few ratings and reviews, this seemed to be the consensus. Poor Levana had been mistreated and forced into this heinous character we now know. I must have missed some huge section of this small novella or read an entirely different version (or maybe I am just heartless), but I never once felt a single pang of heartache for her. This was not a pity show. Well not unless you want to take a good look at some of the supporting characters who endured years with Levana. She is nothing short of psychotic, and while terrible things may have happened in her past, I was unable to muster up a single ounce of sorrow on her behalf. But I loved her character even more for this! Her anger, desperation and desire to be loved may not have won my sympathy, but it did manage to humanize her on a level that makes her very effective as a true villain.

While shorter than expected, this was a dark and beneficial addition to The Lunar Chronicles that did not sacrifice content for length, and I was easily engaged from beginning to end. The writing holds true to what fans have come to expect from the author and is crisp and rich, easily painting a vivid picture that immediately draws the reader into beautiful world building and character construction. The end result was a rewarding read that I recommend to all fans of the series, and I am excited to pick up Scarlet soon.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Purchase Fairest:Levana’s Story

47 thoughts on “The Fairest Mini-Review of Them All

    1. I think you would appreciate this backstory. It is a great look at her. But I definitely felt no pitty haha. It is a quick read. This one is usually available for download through the library as well here.

      I also think that it was ok to jump out of order for this, but maybe a future book will change that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if it’s just her back story then I think it would only help to understand why she’s doing things later in the other books.
        That’s probably personal opinion though, I think it might make it a richer, fuller experience but other people might enjoy her being a bit of a mystery.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My, oh my, I love that cover! Very gothic! 🙂
    I haven’t read the series and I probably won’t either ut it’s a fabulous review and I agree that getting the villain’s POV is mighty intriguing! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the book even if you weren’t able to pity Levana! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will be starting Cinder in early 2017. What I don’t like with series is that I often get lost with the order! But I love having a glimpse of the inside of the villain’s mind. It’s fascinating and I’m always looking for something that would explain their dark side. Awesome and honest review. Don’t worry, I often feel heartless when reading. After all, I did not cry at the end of Me Before You xD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only read Cinder, but I do plan to continue the series because I really enjoyed the first book. Wonderful review! I love hearing the villain’s perspective. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Annie! I never used to read them until a few years ago. I discovered that for myself, they are perfect to pull me out of slumps. Also authors began using them more and more to add to series. I can definitely appreciate how they do not work for everyone ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OOOO nice review Danielle! I actually read this one in publication order & now I’m sitting here trying to recall whether it made much of a difference so I guess that’s a good thing? 😂 Levana is actually the standard that I hold many villains I come across in YA Fantasy to this day. I never once thought that she came across as someone who was evil because she went through a terrible ordeal. I wonder just what exactly these other reviewers were reading lol. Instead, she came across as ruthless, vain, and vile. The extent of the pain she inflicted on those around her is tough to imagine but like you mentioned it did humanize her. As the story progressed in the books that followed, she never managed to sway me in the direction of pity & for this I can appreciate her villainy 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read anything from this series, although I know how popular and loved it is. But having a spin-off story JUST for a villain, especially when the series sounds to be amazing for a lot of people, sounds like a dream come true. I would’ve probably jumped into this story ASAP cause… villain perspectives are always soooo intriguing (would probably explain why I’m doing my master’s in criminology too) Awesome review! 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

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