Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: FAIREST by Marissa Meyer

Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Warning: Spoilers for the beginning books may appear.

In 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.



Anyone else relate to the Castle gif? I'm pretty sure that everyone who finished this newest installment in The Lunar Chronicles world reacted similarly to this.

It's not as if I thought I would come out of this sympathizing with Levana or liking her a little bit more. But usually when you read a villain's backstory, there's somewhat of a bond that's created between the reader and the villain. And I love villain backstories. Reading about the villain and seeing the factors that led them to them, it's something I wish more authors did.

This was on a whole other level. The Castle gif accurately pictures my reaction because once I finished, I didn't know what to say or do. How do you describe the level of disturbing creepiness that I read? Horrifying, disturbing, sick, twisted...pick your word, any word.

Levana grew up in a lonely, loveless family. We don't meet her parents because they just died, but we understand that there was no sadness felt after their deaths. From reading the other books in the series, we know how important Channary and one particular actions of hers will be, so I was expecting something better from her. Either I missed a clue in the other books or I was just naive, because she was possibly even worse than Levana.

At first I really did feel sorry for Levana. She was disfigured for a reason we don't know yet and horribly treated by her sadistic sister. She's craving love and attention. That feeling of pity and sympathy quickly vanished and turned into horror when the story progressed. Because of her loveless childhood, she set her sights on an older man, who was one of the royal guards. Attractive and nice, Evret, the royal guard, stood out from the rest. Hey, that's normal for young girls. But considering that it's Levana we're talking about, I wanted to scream RUN, MAN, RUN when we were first introduced.

Of course, I was right to do so. I won't ruin anything, but how they get into a relationship and how Levana becomes little Winter's stepmother is truly disturbing. I don't think I stopped cringing throughout the book. We also get a "healthy" dose of Channary in the book and considering I have sisters of my own, I couldn't imagine how awful this woman was. While Levana might garner pity a couple times in the book, Levana is—and I hate to say that anyone is—irredeemable. I wondered if Channary was having a turning point near the end of the book and that maybe, maybe, she changed, but that hope was fleeting. Irredeemable sisters, the both of them. SPOILER she cut a woman's feet off! SHE. CUT. HER. FEET. OFF. So that this servant wouldn't be able to walk and be able to do all her sewing for her. Did I mention that she CUT HER FEET OFF SO THAT SHE WOULD ALWAYS WORK? END OF SPOILER (highlight the text with your mouse)

I wished we had seen a better insight to the Lunar world because I still felt like we had snippets here and there. The whole world is fascinating and Marissa Meyer has done a great job with it, I just wish we would experience it more. We still have hope for Winter, which this novella also did a good job in setting up. I loved reading about Winter in Cress and even more so in Fairest, although I realized how sad it is that I knew how most of her childhood would be like.

In the last part of the book, more politics are involved, and Levana's hunger for power is increased to the max. Again: creepy.

Now that we have more information for Levana's character and her history, we know that there will be no redemption for her. No soft spot for anything, no moment of weakness. I want to say that she only loves herself, but that's not entirely true either. Levana looks out for herself because no one else ever has and in a way, maybe that means she loves herself. But we know that she always hated her looks and conflicted in her feelings. She's selfish, and I think it's interesting to realize that that doesn't equal loving herself. I think I'll be a big ball of anxious nerves in Winter because Levana will give it her all to win over the heroes. But reading Fairest also makes me very excited to read the finale of this series. Each book in the series (besides this one) has increased in page count, so we know Winter will be the largest. I have hopes it'll be the most amazing one of all too.

As for Fairest and all of Levana's cringeworthy actions and Channary's sadistic character?

After finishing.
It isn't necessary to read this, but I recommend doing so because you get more information and backstory. How do you like reading about the backstories of antagonists? 

4 comments:

  1. YES^^ I read this one recently too and felt exactly as you did. I was expecting to sympathise with Levana, at list a little bit, I mean hell I sympathized with VOLDEMORT (a little) in Half Blood Prince, but I.did.not.sympathize.with.Levana.one.bit. I just wanted to shake her for every bad decision and messed up reasoning she came up with! And yes, like you I was expecting more from Channary too! She did seem to bond a bit more with princess Selene than Levana ever could have, but both of them were just so...vile! Gah! Awesome review^^ can't wait for Winter :D

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  2. Haha, I feel like the only person who hasn't been terrified/horrified by Levana. She scored maybe a 4/10 on my villain scale. :( But I agree with you; I'm definitely hoping to see more of the Lunar world in Winter since we only got small tastes of it in Fairest.

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  3. Wonderful review, girl! Your last paragraph is spot on - she's a selfish character, and so so disturbing... yet you can't say she loves herself because she's so clearly disgusted, too. Marissa has done a fantastic job with her character.

    But yeah, I'm firmly in the camp of no way in hell do I feel sorry for her. She's a monster. And she creeped me the hell out in this book. Poor Evret. :(

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