Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Fairest

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

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.
Fairest is supposed to be the bridge book between Cress and the upcoming Winter, but it also doubles as a prequel book to the series at the same time, since the events for this one take place before the start of the series proper.  It's also a novella, since it's not quite the size of a full-fledged book, but the page count is higher than some of those little tiny novellas, coming in at 222 pages. Despite not quite wowing me quite as much as I would have liked, I'd still consider this one an absolute must-read for fans of The Lunar Chronicles.

I should clarify: I read Fairest in one sitting within one afternoon, so I definitely enjoyed it.  I'd been extremely curious to learn more about the evil Queen Levana and her motivations for being the way she is in the series.  The setting for this one is entirely on Luna, which was fantastic to me because I've longed to explore the colonized Moon since the very start of the series.  The writing style was as engaging as it always is with a Marissa Meyer book -she sets the tone perfection to tell Levana's story and there was a delicious air of mystery throughout the book, as she slowly gives out details to Levana's past, rife with childhood trauma and neglect.

When we're introduced to Levana, she's already in her teens and barring a few, too short lived (in my opinion) flashbacks to her youth, we see her go through her teens and into young-adulthood.  I think my minor issues with the outcome of the plot stems from what I had inadvertently come to expect, going in.  I thought the story would begin it's focus on Levana's traumatic childhood and slowly we'd get her metamorphosis into the wicked creature we know from The Lunar Chronicles. I don't know if it was the way we're introduced to her, but something threw me off.  I just kept thinking: sure she's messed up, but she could so easily be brought back to her sense if someone just talked some sense into her...or gave her a good shake -which I longed to do throughout the book.  So much of the trials she suffers are of her own making - barring that one awful thing when she and her sister were kids - that was horrible *shudders*

Of course, Levana never does get that talking to she so desperately needed in Fairest, and her entire teen years, into young adulthood are marred with one terrible decision after another.  She does clearly seek power and has a natural talent for politics and...dictatorship, so while her personal life decisions are plagued by delusions and cruelty, her quest for power is nothing short of ingenious and filled with  equally cruel actions to get what she wants more than anything: to rule over Luna...and eventually, Earth.  It was extremely cool to see how Lunars and Levana in particular use their gifts of glamour with such ease.  No one has any issues with others walking around as complete lies, with altered appearances or identities, this is the norm on Luna.  It was also great to get glimpses into Princess Selene's birth and early childhood - as well as young Winter from the upcoming fourth and final book in The Lunar Chronicles.

What's the final verdict on Fairest? I liked it a lot, but it felt like it was missing a little something too.  It was an insightful and fascinating read, but it might have benefited from being a full-length book to be honest.  It didn't blow me away like some of my favorite novellas of late, but it easily kept my attention. A quick, if dark glimpse into the mind, and the past of one of the most famous villains in YA literature today.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

16 comments:

  1. I have Cinder but haven't started reading it yet (too many books !). Yet I noticed other reviewers liking this book but not being overwhelmed by it :)

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    1. Well that makes me feel a bit better, at least I'm not the only one. The series itself is one of my favorites though, so I hope you love them when you get around to reading them :)

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  2. Great review! I had similar thoughts, though it's so weird, despite it being a bridge/prequel novella I think it's my favorite of all the Lunar Chronicle books so far. I've read reviews where readers didn't sympathize with Levana at all and I expected to feel the same, but in fact I read this book and the horrible things she did didn't make me hate her, they just made me pity her. The ending was pretty heartbreaking. I thought it was a pretty good book and well paced considering how short it was :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. Huh, you know what's funny is that I was expecting to feel sympathy for Levana...maybe if I hadn't expected to I would have loved the story more! I didn't really hate her or pity her oddly enough, I just wanted to shake her for making such bad decisions. I definitely thought the pacing was well done too and I consider it a must read for fans of the series...I just didn't love it like I hoped :( Thanks Mogsy!!

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  3. I haven't read this one, but I think I might like it since it's the villain's perspective. Fantastic review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. That was the bit that most excited me for this one: getting the villain's perspective. I just wish it would have blown me away -.- Thanks Benish!

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  4. hmm, interesting. I will read this one after I finish Cress, but honestly, I'm not THAT excited because I despise Queen Levana very much. hahaha, but I guess this one was written so we could ''understand'' her a little more. Anyway, great review!! :)

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    1. I really hate her too Lola, that might have been what did me in, I was expecting to sympathize with her a bit,but really, I ended up just wanting to shake her >.< Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I'm planning on reading that one really soon! I'm not expecting it to capture me like the actual series novels, but I'm still excited you liked it. I figure if I go in with not many expectations I'll enjoy it even more :)

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    1. That's a good mindset going in, I probably should have adopted it myself ;) I might have been blown away that way! It was still a really good read though, I hope you enjoy it Kelsey^^

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  6. Ah missing something eh? I think I'd feel that way as well. Granted, I was going to give this one a miss but a lot of reviews have talked about how interesting it is. It might not exactly be for me but I am looking for something interesting that can hold my attention. Fantastic review, Micheline! <3

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    1. Yeah...and the weird thing is, I couldn't quite put my finger on what exactly WAS missing. Still can't! It's definitely interesting and I feel like fans of the series should check it out regardless but it didn't quite pack the punch that I would have liked it too. Thanks Jess^^ ♥

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  7. This is what I'm expecting from this one - I don't think I'll be blown away by it either, but I'm still SO curious to see Levana's side of the story.

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    1. Well that's good, you probably won't experience the mild letdown I felt when I wasn't entirely blown away by it. It's still 100% worth the read for Lunar Chronicles fans though!

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  8. I am so excited about this one. I want to know more about the antagonist for the series. She has so much potential, and I'm thrilled to see that she is nabbing the spotlight. A lot of people talk about this one as one messed-up book.
    Thrilled!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it Lyn, Levana is definitely one messed up lady o.O

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