Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fals 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.
True Rating: 3.5
I wasn’t aware of Fairest when I initially read The Lunar Chronicles, so instead of reading it between Cress and Winteras suggested, I read it a few months after I finished the series. This novella is well-written, as is everything that Marissa Meyer puts out, and it did a great job of filling in the story gaps I’d noticed between the third and fourth main novels, but I can’t help but wonder if it was really necessary. There isn’t a lot of new information presented here, mostly just details of events strongly hinted at in the other books.
I am impressed, however, with how Meyer is able to handle such a complex character. Given our current cultural tendency to create sympathetic villains, I was pleased to see that while we do see Levana’s vulnerabilities and doubts inFairest, we don’t for one second forget how crazy evil she is. Has she been through Hell? Yes, absolutely–but that doesn’t justify any of the Hell she creates for other people.
Through this novella, Meyer sets up a juxtaposition between Levana and Cinder, which is very similar to what J.K. Rowling did with Voldemort and Harry in the later Harry Potter books. Both characters have suffered greatly at the hands of family (and stepfamily), and they share the same bloodline known for harshness and cruelty. Fairest shows more clearly that it is the characters’ choices, not what happens to them, that defines who they are. Levana chooses to embrace bitterness and hate. Cinder fights back. This is an important distinction that makes the end of Winter that much more meaningful.
Check out my reviews of the other Lunar Chronicles books!