Fairest (2015) by Marissa Meyer [Lunar Chronicles 0.5)Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Published by Macmillan on January 27th 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

“Love is a conquest! Love is war!”

Finally. We have the story of Queen Levana in Fairest!

Illuminations:

Since I’ve been on a long road trip across the country, I immediately downloaded Fairest from Audible the day it came out! Since reading the first three books in the Lunar Chronicles, I can safely say I am a HUGE fan of Marissa Meyer and will read anything she writes. Listening to the audiobook was a treat—I thought the narrator was FANTASTIC and I really couldn’t stop listening. The perfect scenario for a long day on the road.

Thank you, Marissa Meyer for writing this book!

First, a strong point in this book is gaining a deeper understanding of Queen Levana. I have to be honest. During many moments in the story, I felt bad for Levana. As a child, she is terribly burned, becomes disfigured, and because of that, she feels forced to take on a false appearance—and from a very young age. This was pretty sad.

She has the power to “glamour” others, and that means she can take on the appearance of a dazzingly beautiful woman. But the sad fact of it is that we don’t really get to “see” Levana. She’s not able to share who she really is, and this inevitably affects her relationships. Especially her relationship with Everett Hale. (Not sure if that’s the correct spelling–I’m going off of the audiobook!) If only Levana had been less manipulative and more secure in herself. How would things have turned out differently for her and the people in her life?

Well, unless there’s some fan fiction where Levana makes different choices, we won’t know that. I really appreciate how the Lunar Chronicles are books that appeal to younger readers, but illuminate characters that aren’t one-dimensional. They make choices–some good and some bad–and there are consequences for those choices. These characters are flawed and gifted. Levana obviously has power. She also possesses some positive attributes. For example, like all of us, she wants to be loved. But the choices she makes in response to the circumstances that surround her have consequences. And she has to deal with those consequences. It’s sad that she doesn’t make better choices, but no matter how you look at it, there are multiple points in the story where she can clearly make a different choice. But she doesn’t. And in this way, we see her fall into further decline. And the Queen Levana we meet in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress makes more sense.

I don’t know about you, but I thought Levana’s sister, Channery, was pretty twisted. Did that girl have issues! We talk about how “evil” Levana is, but what about Channery? I look forward to some interesting discussions with other readers about her character.

I appreciated the way that Everett tried to “help” Levana—at least in his own way. He definitely went through some difficult times, but with the arrival of his daughter, Winter, he rallied and showed himself to be an inspiring father. But Levana’s actions in the last part of the book….I won’t even talk about that.

Who Should Read This Book:

Obviously if you have read the other books in the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll want to read Fairest. I don’t know about you, but when I heard Marissa Meyer was writing a book giving us the backstory to Queen Levana’s character, I was intrigued. Even if you haven’t read the other books, Fairest is a fascinating glimpse into the life of the evil queen we think of as loosely based on the character of the witch in Snow White. Enjoy books that explore the perspective of the villain and show how that villain came to be who she/he is? You’ll love Fairest!

The Final Illumination:

Marissa Meyer does it again! In Fairest she’s created fascinating and complex characters with an exciting plot, and manages to weave in other Lunar Chronicle story lines. For example, I was excited to discover more about Winter and Selene’s relationship; I won’t say anymore about this though.

I thought I was impatient for Winter before, but I can tell you that I’m even more impatient now. In fact, I think some kind of party will have to coincide with Winter’s release.

Was Fairest all you thought it cracked up to be?? (No pun intended). What did you think?

Suggested Age Range: 13 and up

 

 

four-half-stars
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