(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Fairest, it may inadvertently ruin plot surprises from previous Lunar Chronicles novels. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)
Long before Levana became the most powerful queen in history, she was just another princess ...
Bullied and disfigured by her hateful older sister, 15-year-old Levana hides behind the most alluring glamours she can imagine. She's hoping to attract the gaze of Evret Hayle, a kind captain in the queen's army with whom she is madly in love. So what if he's married? Sol is a lowly dressmaker of little consequence—surely, Levana would make a better match for handsome Evret. Even if she's awkward, shy, and ugly.
As Evret refuses her advances and her flippant, disinterested older sister assumes the throne, Levana feels increasingly hopeless. She knows she'd be a better queen than flighty Channery and a better wife than Sol. If only she could get what she really wants, Levana would have her happily ever after. The question is, to what lengths will she have to go to take what's "rightly" hers? Fueled by jealousy and frustration, Levana is prepared to do just about anything ...
You all know I'm a big fan of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. I love it for so many reasons. Fairest, a short novel that fits between Cress and Winter, is my least favorite installment, yes, but it still has all the excitement and intrigue of its companion books. It stars a vulnerable Levana, a young woman who yearns for happiness, even if she's looking for it in all the wrong places. This makes her empathetic, although it's difficult to fully root for her knowing what kind of monster she becomes. Reading her backstory did make me feel a little bit of compassion for the evil Levana, though. It also gives insight into the cold, calculating behavior that defines her character in the rest of the series. So, while I didn't enjoy Fairest as much as the other books in the series, I still found it to be a quick, compelling read that helps flesh out the Lunar world into an even more intriguing place. Lunartics will not want to miss it!
(Readalikes: Other books in the series, including Cinder; Scarlet; Cress; Winter; and Stars Above)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for violence and mild sexual content
To the FTC, with love: I purchased a copy of Fairest from Changing Hands Bookstore with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.