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Fairest by Marissa Meyer {5 Stars}

Fairest by Marissa Meyer is the story of Queen Levana before the events of the Lunar Chronicles start up and wow is it twisted! I would definitely agree with the blurb’s label of Fairest as a “bridge book” instead of a novella since it is really a short novel that isn’t really all that optional to really appreciate what I think we’ll be reading about in Winter. That being said, you definitely want to read it in publication order, not chronological order since it can’t be appreciated fully until you’ve read Cress! I honestly tore through Fairest and am not normally an “in between” book reader so I can’t recommend enough that you pick it up to handle the wait until Winter ;-).

Fairest by Marissa Meyer {5 Stars}

Fairest by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on Jan. 27th, 2015
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 222 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.

5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I absolutely love villains who don’t think they are villains because really what actual person thinks they are a villain in their own mind? No one as far as I know! They always justify their “tough” decisions in some way and Queen Levana is very realistic in Fairest. She is the heroine of her own story and transitions quite smoothly from a genuinely well-meaning princess to the Queen we love to hate!
  • Another of Anya’s favoritest things?? Broken characters! I find it so easy to empathize with characters who have been damaged by what life has thrown at them and Levana is perhaps the most broken I’ve read. Even as a little girl she has been really messed up by her life and I really felt for her.
  • We get a lot more information about how Luna came to be in its present state in Fairest and it was a great way to really build the setting for The Lunar Chronicles. The full-color art that the blurb mentions is a beautiful cityscape of Luna on the interior front cover and wow does it need to be a poster on my wall!
  • Fairest is FILLED with subtle connections to the first three Lunar Chronicle books and clearly to Winter. I loved realizing that a character was someone I had already encountered previously without it being shoved in my face. We learn about the history of a lot more characters than just Levana ;-).
  • Another subtle aspect of Fairest that I really enjoyed was the various was that the title could be interpreted. I of course first thought it was fairest as in most beautiful in reference to Snow White and the evil queen. However, Levana’s image comes in in a different way as well and then on top of that Levana is pretty obsessed with being a just and the most fair as in most just ruler of Luna. Again though, these different clever interpretations were never shoved in the reader’s face and I love that all the more!
  • The final clever aspect of Fairest that I noticed was how skillfully Meyer worked in the passage of time into such a short novel. We easily jump through various times of Levana’s life while avoiding it feeling choppy or interrupting the flow of her story.
  • Oh man is Fairest full of FEELS! There was some pretty ugly crying let me tell you. Like, relieved-the-boy-isn’t-home-to-see-this-and-freak-out crying!

Weaknesses:

  • I must be blunt with you: Fairest is pretty darn brutal for YA. I’m not generally a fan of the grimdark trend in adult fantasy, so I don’t have a particularly strong tolerance of brutality to begin with, but there were times with Fairest that I had a bit of a hard time letting myself fully grasp the horror that was happening (though of course I still couldn’t put it down!). This almost lent to how quickly I read Fairest though since I tend to want to get to a happy part before I can set a book down for the day >.>. I didn’t put Fairest down much….

Summary:

Fairest is an addition to the Lunar Chronicles that you really don’t want to miss. Fairest is a fabulous book on its own merit so fans definitely will love the pain it makes them feel, but it is also pretty essential to fully appreciating the story told so far in The Lunar Chronicles. I suspect that reading Fairest will also deepen our appreciation for Winter once it comes out, though it makes the wait perhaps even more painful!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Fairest by Marissa Meyer

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Loved this book, i have many feels, Queen Levana it’s not like the total evil queen with picture in the others books, but she is a truly villains, love her xD
    Can’t wait for Winter, will be amazing
    plus i think this is the best cover

  2. Loved this! An interesting perspective from a villain’s PoV and I hated her even more for what she brought to herself and to so many more people! Can’t wait to read Winter now! :D

    Ps. If you’d like to, stop by my blog and say hi <3

    Frannie @ In clouds of pages
    http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.com/
    Frannie Panglossa recently posted…ChitChat with Leisa Rayven & Signed Giveaway!My Profile

    • So agreed! The whole book you were just kind of hoping that something would stop her even though we know nothing does!

  3. I haven’t read the Lunar Chronicles yet, but I want to, if only to be able to read this book and understand all the references. I’ve always found the evil characters very interesting and I like the “darker” YA fantasy novels.
    Hellen recently posted…Review/Reseña – Cannonbridge – Jonathan BarnesMy Profile

    • Oo then you definitely need to! I think especially knowing that you’ll find out more about Levana in this book will make her an even more interesting villain reading the series.

  4. Yeah it was pretty brutal for YA. I actually enjoyed that aspect since so many YA books just gloss over so much.
    Tabitha @ not yet read recently posted…Art it Up! (45) – crochet monster amigurumiMy Profile

    • Completely agreed! I can’t take full grimdark levels of brutal, but I get annoyed and unsatisfied when YA doesn’t make something serious enough.

  5. Fairest sounds fantastic, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! I’m kind of saving Cress and Fairest until closer to Winter’s release, so I don’t have to wait so long in between. I love that there are all these connections with the other books. I’m really looking forward to learn more about the lunar base

    • Hehe, I definitely understand and think you’re making a good call even though I am amazed at your restraint ;-)

  6. I’m listening to this, but I had to take a break because I was getting so stressed. It’s great, and interesting, but dark and stressful.

    But I’m so glad that you loved it. I need to get back to this next week.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Review: How to Romance a Rake by Manda CollinsMy Profile

    • I hear you! I could never listen to this while driving, it would be dangerous! How is the narration??

  7. It was a truly emotional read, I cried more than a few times, which made me completely sympathize with Levana. Great review Anya :) I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    Claudia {Sparrowhawk} recently posted…Sparrow’s Book Review: {The Crimson Cord Rahab’s Story | By: Jill Eileen Smith}My Profile

  8. Yes yes I completely agree with everything you just said! I was surprised by how dark this book was as well; I had to take a while to adjust and kept thinking, “OH my god she’s really going there??” But yes, she really went there. Although it does kind of scare me to think of Winter. What will Meyer do?? O_O
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream Meets GoodreadsMy Profile

    • Haha, I’m hoping Winter is slightly less painful since I don’t know if I could handle a huge book this intense!

  9. Hmm…I’m starting to think something’s wrong with me for not loving this book as much as everyone else did. I’m still struggling to put my thoughts into words for a review, but I think it was mostly that Levana struck me as more a lonely headcase than a villain? I don’t know, but she failed to appropriately horrify or terrify me. :(

    But I’m very glad you loved it! :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (1 star)My Profile

  10. I thought Fairest was necessary and I was thrilled that she went there. It made me pity her a bit but also made me realize that her choices after were what made her the person she is now. LOVED IT TOO!
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Snagged @ The Library Review: Bodyguard by Jennifer AshleyMy Profile

    • Completely agreed, it fills in a lot of answers from the first three books! I love it when a villain’s actions end up making sense from their perspective but they are still terrifying, haha

  11. I’ve never been so intrigued to read a one off book, or not part of the main series. I haven’t even made it past scarlet but I need to read this.

  12. Initially I thought that the Lunar Chronicles wasn’t something I would enjoy. I mean Cyborg Cinderella? What is that? But after seeing that EVERYONE around me loves it. Even people who thought like me, made me change my heart and I recently got the three first books (Cinder, Scarlet and Cress). Hopefully I’ll be reading them soon and see if they blow me away like they have so many people. I hope they do, so I can join this bandwagon and rave with everybody else about its awesomeness. Plus, if it has that good of a villain, then who could resist, right?
    Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness recently posted…The Mad Life: Of Fiction and RealityMy Profile

    • Haha, I totally hear you! And I’ll warn you that I only liked Cinder but then LOVED Scarlet and Cress so stick with it if you can ;-)

  13. Yay!! I had few doubts, since every book in this series has been a home run for me, but I’m glad to have it confirmed again :) I’m waiting for it to be my turn at the library – I think I’m #3 now for the audiobook. Can’t wait – I love dark and damaged characters so much. I wasn’t expecting ugly crying but I’ll take it! Do you leave it like Lavana at all? I don’t want to like her and get all conflicted LOL!
    Berls recently posted…Astonish Me by Maggie ShipsteadMy Profile

  14. I have only read Cinder. I really need to catch up on this series
    Jen recently posted…Greta and the Glass Kingdom by Chloe Jacobs #BookReview #GiveawayMy Profile

  15. I juuuuust finished Fairest on Monday, and I have to agree — Meyer does an amazing job with Levana and Luna and EVERYTHING. I did like the darkness of the book, though. It fits Levana as the villain of the series. She’s not very likeable, but she is readable! Not looking forward to waiting for Winter, though. =/
    Amanda @ On a Book Bender recently posted…Murder on the Hill by Kennedy Chase {Kelly’s Review}My Profile

    • Exactly! I love darker and broken characters so I just love Levana now haha. For a second I thought that sentence read “not looking forward to winter” HAHA

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