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22489107

Title: Fairest

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Prequel\Book 4)

Pages: 272

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends

Summary:

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.

Review: 4 Stars (contains spoiler for Cinder, Book 1 of The Lunar Chronicles)

In Fairest we get the back story of The Lunar Chronicles chief villainess Queen Levana…and it was clear from the opening scene at her parents funeral that I did not need to worry about sympathizing with her after reading this book. Her sentiments while mulling over her dead mother solidified her as a terrifying crazy-bag-of-cats from the get go. At least for me!

crazygiphy (1)

I did however sympathize with her desire to be Queen, at least at the start. Her elder sister Queen Channary wasn’t a great monarch. She was also extremely cruel to Levana from a very young age. Channary doesn’t take being queen seriously, whereas Levana finds politics interesting. And while the choices she makes for her subjects over the years are increasingly negative, she truly believes she is doing what is in the highest good of all. The problem is she has no clue about other people think or feel. She is devoid of empathy and uses cold self-serving logic. I think she equated people to packs of animals to be managed.

Interesting parallels arise between Levana and Cinder and this was one of the things I was curious to see revealed here. In The Lunar Chronicles we see Cinder already fears being like Levana. They both lived with the message that their physical form was something to be reviled, that they were less than. As I took on more and more of Levana’s perspective it was obvious that the abusive home environment coupled with her own delusional nature and lack of moral compass resulted in her destructive and desperate approach to life. That and there does seem to be something truly unhealthy about life on Luna. However, we also see that not all Lunars are crazy or amoral. So there’s hope for them as a society.

Her scenes with Sir Evret Hayle are quietly horrifying! Evret is the royal guard whom Levana has one-sided love (obsession) for. Their interactions are painful. The scariest part is that he was not someone she wanted to hurt. This was someone she adored and obsessed over beyond all measure. It was extremely clear these feelings were not returned, but her mind could not allow for it. Just witnessing her inner dialogue and the inappropriate fictions she created about the two of them was disturbing!!! The manner in which she completely usurps his life, the fact that she is clueless to the fear and pain this man is in, her complete and utter misreading of their entire relationship for years…I wanted to cry and hide him in my attic!

Evret Hayle everytime Levana entered a room.

Evret Hayle everytime Levana entered a room.

The entirety of the story takes place on Luna which was another reason I was excited to read it. I wanted to know what kind of place dear Cinder was getting set to tackle (on that note…Cinder baby you might want to groom Winter for this or something? I really don’t think you’re going to like it there). Cinder, Winter, and Jacin all make appearances as their early childhood selves. No matter how challenging Cinders Earthen life has been, Fairest convinced me she was way better off. Seeing Luna drives home how essential her life since coming to Earth is to her character, whoever Princess Selene would have grown to be, good or bad, there is no way Cinder will ever be that. Her path was too dramatically different. And therein lies the saving grace. There are some gob-smacking illustrations of the domed Lunar city inside as well as the first few chapters from the yet-to-be-released Winter! 

In short, this is not an action packed story and one I’d only recommend after having read the first three books of The Lunar Chronicles. Fairest provides insight into Levana and the Lunar Court that I’m glad to have before reading the final book in the series (since the action will return there for a good bit it seems).

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