“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.”
Fairest was published back in January, and I somehow kept overlooking it. I finally freed it from my never ending TBR pit, and was rewarded with a villain story unlike any other. It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love a good villain. “Good” serving as a measurement of quality and not of morality, of course. I often root for the bad guy, and nothing warms my cold, dead heart like a villain with a devastating backstory. So I was more than excited to read this prequel and finally learn what’s going on under Queen Levana’s veil. A whole lotta crazy, it turns out.
I felt frenzied the entire time I read this book, anxiously waiting for pieces to fall into place, to understand the method to Levana’s madness. But as the story progressed, it became all too clear that Marissa Meyer had no intention of crafting a villain that people like me could champion. No spoilers here, but whilst the reader is made aware of the queen’s painful childhood, true likeness, and foray into love, ones thing becomes abundantly clear. Levan is insane. I kept waiting for there to be a line Levana wouldn’t cross. Surely there was a limit to her cruelty, her evil? No. If there is, it certainly can’t be found in Fairest. And that was a huge revelation for me as a reader.
By the last page, I found myself shocked by her seemingly complete lack of humanity. Whether it was Meyer’s intention or not, it shed such a light on the villain trope. Readers like myself want to find something in villains – but sometimes, the bad guys truly are deplorable. Looking back, that’s why I enjoyed this book so much. Levana is evil, and ruthless, and it was brilliant to publish this character study before the final book in the Lunar Chronicles comes out in November. Readers need to understand that Levana is no easy adversary. Cinder and company won’t be handed a victory, by any means.
Fairest is a great addition to the Lunar Chronicles series, and it enriched my understanding of Luna. Plus, there’s an excerpt from Winter! I have a feeling she might become my favorite character, so excitement is high for the final installment.
Goodreads: 4 /5 stars