Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Released: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: bought/hardcover

Goodreads | Amazon

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who is the Fairest of them all?

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her "glamour" to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story--a story that has never been told. (from Amazon)

I have a love/hate relationship with back-stories. On the one hand, it's interesting to see how a character became THAT character. On the other, you know where the story is going, so there are EXPECTATIONS. On the whole, I tend to find antagonists' back-stories more contrived than, say, that of a protagonist. I'll be the first to admit that villains are hard to write! As a moderately good person, it is very difficult for me personally to get into the head of someone who doesn't mind slaughtering innocent people. That's just something I can't comprehend doing. Not only that, Marissa Meyer used the "good girl goes bad" construct, and that one in particular is difficult to pull off well. So, I can appreciate what a huge challenge this story could be to write.

But I think Marissa Meyer did a great job with handling Levana! Fairest takes place over the span of a little more than a decade, and a LOT happens in that time. We see Levana fall in love; we see her running Luna better than her sister, and how Levana thinks she would be a better queen; we see her jealousy and entitlement issues she has with Princess Selene; we see her relationship with Winter. Marissa Meyer answers all the questions! There were still some slight contrivances, I felt, but over all I think Levana's fall to the dark side was shown rather well.

At her heart, Levana was a lonely, scarred girl, and she did what she did to survive her sister and the pressure's of court life. She was gifted, and she used those gifts to gain herself some modicum of advantage, and then she kept pushing for more and more, dreaming and hoping to get everything she'd ever wanted. But in the end, she only ended up alienating all those who ever respected and cared for her and destroying the goodness that would have made her the ruler Luna needed. She was a girl who wanted too much.

It's a story to learn from, and I'm glad that Marissa Meyer took the time to tell it. It's a great addition the the Lunar Chronicles, and a must read for all Lunar fans!

On a different note, I LOVED seeing the little scenes between Selene and Winter, their relationship as young girls. It's something that I am looking forward to seeing more of when Cinder and Winter come face to face again in Winter. (I'm assuming that will happen...)

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