Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (#0.5)
Read: February 1st
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
Genre: sci-fi, fairytales, fantasy
Rating: ★★

 In short: wow. An amazing insight into the origin of one of my favourite villains.

No spoilers for The Lunar Chronicles, but you should definitely read those first.

GoodreadsIn 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.

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.

Can I just say whoa. I am a huge fan of Marissa Meyer’s books, and I was super excited to hear of the novella about the series’s villain, Queen Levana. And boy, was it fabulous.

…fire was dangerous, and illusions were dangerous, and being tricked into believing things that weren’t real was often the most dangerous thing of all.

This book takes us back to when Levana was just a romantic, naïve princess. Her parents have just died and her sister Channary is all ready to be queen. Channary is spiteful and vain, taunting Levana constantly and ruling on capricious whim. Fairest tells us how Levana grew from that silly princess to the formidable queen in Cinder, with all the tragedy and hurt in between.

I loved Levana’s character. I’ve heard other reviewers say she’s ruined as a villain for them—because this story makes it surprisingly easy to empathise with her and understand the situation she’s in. Her character arc was amazing: a believable path leading right to the villainous, vengeful queen we know and love to hate. For me, knowing her motivations and intentions just makes her that much better a villain. After all, aren’t the most frightening bad guys the ones that believe they’re doing good?

So many questions are answered. We learn about Levana’s glamour, about Channary’s shell edict, Sybil Mira’s rise (!!!) and lots of other juicy details from The Lunar Chronicles. For some reason, I always believed Channary was a ‘better person’ than Levana—natural tendency to glamourise the dead? (Glamour! Hmm, accidental pun score.) But Channary is worse, let me tell you. She’s mean-spirited, sadistic, mercurial. Things like that are what I adore about novellas—how they flesh out what the series just mentions in passing.

I’ll say no more, just that you need to read this if you’re a TLC fan. Also, it has a sneak-peek at Winter in the end! No spoilers, but holy hell I need that book right now.

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