I freaked out when I heard last year that there was going to be a new Lunar Chronicles book. (And then when I hear there was going to be another new Lunar Chronicles book, I was sort of over it. Thanks, Stars Above) But of course I bought Fairest. And I really quite liked it, everything considered. Levana is scary. In a believable way. And then some broken mirrors got involved (it’s ridiculously hard to take pictures of mirrors without getting the camera in them, if you were wondering) -Shanti
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.
Fairest was amazing. I don’t sympathise or empathise with Levana, but I do understand her. The way she justified her completely terrible actions was awful, but it also made sense. I also loved getting glimpses of tiny Cinder and Winter and Jacin (and even Kai) I do feel annoyed that Winter was pushed back (and those tantalising three chapters!), but I think that the things we learn in Fairest are going to make Winter an even more compelling read (and who is looking forward to the short story collection?) Anyway, the characterisation, the world-building and the depictions of relationship are what makes this book entirely worth reading. And it is character driven. If you were wondering.
So Levana begins the book as a sullen 16 year old. Her parents, who she doesn’t care about in the least, have just died, and her sister has become queen. She is wildly in love with a palace guard who she can never have, and wears a glamour all the time. By the end of the books she is queen regent, a master manipulator, with no qualms and an all burning desire to own Earth. She does terrible things in this book. I can easily say that it is a lot darker, with a lot more adult themes/content (though still no swearing or graphic descriptions of anything) The way that this journey is chronicled (oh, I’m punny) is fascinating. I thought that Levana’s justifications to herself for her actions were really interesting, and I thought that. The way she handled decisions and made choices, and even her perception of others offered a fascinating viewpoints. This novel is a lot more character driven than the others, and Levana’s point of view was the only one shown.
Until now the Lunar Chronicles have been set largely on Earth. I really loved the context of Artemisa’s court and it’s rivalries offered by this story. The over production and growing unrest, as well as the bio electricians and Sage Darnel helped me to understand the characters choices ten years later. It was a good backstory, and the legends of the court were fascinating. Artemsia (as well as being hard to spell) is very important, and seeing the production and the glitz of the court will really assist me in understanding Winter. I think. Though what the heck is regolith?
Marissa Meyer writes fantastic relationships. The one between Channary and Levana explained so much –her always feeling unwanted and hating her sister for obvious reasons. It helped me to understand why Levana shut herself off from the rest of the court. She doesn’t have any friends, but she’s never been tauht to love. The progression of her and Everet’s relationship was intriguing. I thought the way they were honest with each other, and the revelations about Solstice and the constant, constant manipulation defined Levana. She was so in love, but she didn’t know what love was. And of course, she was a terrible mother. I felt terrible for Everet, who was taken advantage of in every way. Her constant ordering and angsting and manipulation made sense, even if it was terrible.
The entire story is written in Meyer’s taut prose, with excellent dialogue and complex relationships and a totally absorbing world. I guess the only thing that stopped me from giving this book five happy stars is that it wasn’t. happy, that is. In fact, it was terribly sad. And while I think that Fairest will lead nicely into Winter, it’s hard to emotionally invest in an evil character. While I understood Levana, I didn’t connect to her like I connect to Winter and her seven cohorts. I understand her, I don’t pity her, I can’t like her and I can’t connect to her. But it is still excellently written. And it will be read again.
So have you read the Lunar Chronicles? How do you feel about villains- do they deserve sympathy, or even a perspective? And most importantly, have you read Fairest?