Fairest: Levana’s Story (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
By Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
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.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐