Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Description: Book 3.5 in the YA series, The Lunar Chronicles
Publication: 1/27/2015 by Feiwel & Friends
“Levana knew a great deal about beauty, just as she knew a great deal about ugliness.”
Before Levana came to be the horrible villain that we’ve come to know and despise in the Lunar Chronicles, she was a fifteen-year-old girl, living on the moon. Like many fifteen-year-olds, she was desperate for love, and painfully jealous of her older sister… so much so that she was willing to do anything to take over her throne.
Now, her never-before-told story has been told, and it’s up to you to read and decide: evil? Or misunderstood?
Pros and Cons:
It’s actually pretty hard for me to review this book. I really, really enjoyed it, but it didn’t really feel like a book at all to me. I understand that it isn’t supposed to be one of the main series novels, but it is over 200 pages, which is pretty long for a novella, and definitely too long to be classified as one of Meyer’s short stories. The thing that surprised me the most while reading this story is that there are no chapters – it’s all continuous. That didn’t really bother me too much – it actually made the book seem to go by more quickly – but it didn’t really make the book feel like a book. Also, this story, or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t really have one central plot issue. It was more like: Meet Levana. She’s evil. Follow Levana throughout the years and watch her do various acts of evilness. Again, it wasn’t a bad thing, but it definitely wasn’t the whole storybook feel you’d expect from Meyer, which I think you should know before going into it.
Despite the unusualness of this story, I enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book. I was worried that this book was going to try and make Levana look like a good character. It didn’t. Instead, it gave you a look into her life and the things that happened to her when she was younger that most likely ultimately led to her being evil. However, these things in no way try to excuse the things that Levana has done. On the contrary, they give you a look into her true character, adding more insight into just how evil she really is. I was worried that – like a lot of books targeted for younger readers – the evil character in this book would turn out to “not really be so bad”. Nope. I got chills and even felt sick to my stomach at one point as we were thrown into the mind and world of Levana and saw just how sick she really is.
This book was pretty dark. It lacks the fluffy, funny interactions between characters we’ve gotten in the past Lunar Chronicle books, primarily because those fluffy characters weren’t present. It wasn’t all kicking puppies though, there were some sweet moments and some moments that made me laugh . I love how this book gave us more insight into events we’ve heard mentioned throughout the other Lunar Chronicle books, like the proclaimed death of Princess Selene, the short reign of Queen Channary, and – most excitingly – the raising of Winter.
Overall, I loved this book. If you’re a fan of the Lunar Chronicles I would highly, highly recommend picking this book up. If you’re planning on starting the series, read the books in publication order (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and then Fairest) because this book contains some slight spoilers for events in those books. It could be read as a standalone in my opinion but goes along perfectly with the series. Though I don’t think you’d need to read this book before reading Winter (although I can’t guarantee it, because Winter hasn’t been released yet), I would highly recommend it because you learn a lot about who Winter is as a person and what her life was like growing up. I also think this would be a good book to read before Winter because – like Winter is supposedly going to – this book takes place on the moon. The setting didn’t seem to differ too much from the stories set on Earth, but it was fun to hear sentences thrown out there in the book that emphasized the fact that it had an unusual setting, like, “It was soon going to be a full Earth.”
Rating: 5/5 stars (get it, stars? Because it takes place on the moon? Sorry, that wasn’t funny)