Saturday, 2 May 2015
Review: Fairest - Marissa Meyer
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.
Lunar Chronicles Series:
Glitches (free prequel short story can be read online here)
The Little Android (free short story can be read online here)
The Queen's Army (free short story can be read online here)
Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (free short story can be read by signing up for Marissa Meyer's newsletter)
Visit Marissa Meyer's website for more information
I'm such a huge fan of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series so when I first heard about Fairest I knew I had to read it. Although a lot of the events in this story take place before the beginning of this series please be aware that it does include spoilers for the first three books so I wouldn't recommend reading it until after Cress. In fact, I'm going to assume that you've already read that far so please don't carry on reading this review if you haven't or you may pick up spoilers for the previous books.
We all know how evil Levana is, she has committed some horrific acts and she isn't the kind of character I feel any sympathy for so I was really interested to see if Marissa Meyer could make a story from her point of view work. I didn't go into it expecting to like Levana, there is no way she's going to suddenly change from bad to good at this point, but I was looking forward to finding out why she is the way she is. What caused her to become so obsessed with power? Why is she so determined to destroy Cinder and her allies? Is she completely crazy or is there a motive behind her madness? I'm glad to say we got answers to all of those questions and more.
Fairest isn't an easy read, Levana had a difficult childhood and I was surprised to find myself feeling somewhat sorry for her during her earlier years, but that will never excuse the things she went on to do as an adult. Reading about her as a child it is quite obvious that Levana has never been "normal", she doesn't understand emotions and she has no concept of what is considered acceptable behaviour. Her sister treats her appallingly but that doesn't give Levana the right to punish other people. I quickly lost sympathy for her because of the way she treated the people around her and her husband Evret in particular. It was just horrifying watching what she did to him and I'll warn you now this is much darker story than the rest of the series has been.
This story gives readers and all access pass into the mind of one of the creepiest villains I've come across in a long time and trust me Levana's head is not a pleasant place to visit. She is so far beyond sane that I doubt anyone will be able to connect with her but I found it absolutely fascinating to see how her mind works. Levana is broken, she is hurt, scared and completely twisted and she goes to incredible lengths because she is desperately looking for love and acceptance. Unfortunately the lengths she goes to make it impossible for anyone to do anything other than fear her and she managed to terrorize anyone who ever showed even an inkling of kindness towards her. Fairest is a dark and fascinating story and I enjoyed every minute of it in a really uncomfortable kind of way. It's kind of like that feeling you get when you see something absolutely horrific, the one where you desperately want to look away but can't quite bring yourself to.
Levana isn't a good person, and this won't leave you hoping she gets a happy ending to her story but it's not supposed to make you sympathise with her. I think this story is purely to help readers understand quite what level of madness Cinder and her allies are up against and what lengths Levana is prepared to go to in order to win. This has made me more desperate than ever to get my hands on the final book in the series, Winter, and I'm sure our favourite characters are in for an even rougher ride than the one they've already survived!
Other reviews of this book:
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Hardback / Paperback: