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