Novella Review: Fairest {Marissa Meyer}

Written by Marissa Meyer
Amazon | Book Depository 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as ruthless ruler. 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 also includes the first three chapers from Winter, the final book in the Lunar Chronicles.
This is one of the rare novellas that doesn't seek to exploit fans by telling events from previous books from different points of view. This is not a repetition of a previously established set of facts. This is an origin story. And it's a damn good one.

Wickedly creepy and fiercely addictive, Fairest follows Levana's story from a young girl to the sociopathic queen we all love to hate. I knew I was going to be disturbed by her story, but I didn't expect to feel sympathy for her (at least, in the beginning).

As with most well-developed villains, Levana doesn't start out as a murderous psychopath. She's just another child – scarred and traumatised by an event from her childhood that left her disfigured. And unable to trust her own family.

With both her parents gone and her truly evil sister her only company, Levana hides behind her glamour, manipulating members of the court and everyone who comes into contact with her into thinking she is beautiful. Not only that, but she manipulates how they feel about her too. Which is exactly why the romance in this book was so disturbing.

Levana, alone and isolated, falls in love with a young guard and convinces herself that he loves her in return. She does awful things – twists his mind until there is hardly anything left. Breaking down his resistance until he acts, however briefly, as though he feels the same way she does.

It's incredibly uncomfortable to read. An eerie kind of manipulation that I found both distressing and intensely interesting. I hated Levana for what she was doing, but a part of me also understood why this damaged young girl felt the need to fill the emptiness inside of her.

This is a short story, but it spans a significant amount of time, showing how Levana began as a princess with no chance at the throne, and ended up replacing her own sister. It shows the reasoning behind the deadly virus she sent down to Earth, introduces Winter and begins her backstory, and, finally, shows us exactly what happened to Princess Selene.

Fairest is a wicked tale of betrayal, manipulation, loneliness and power. It's a struggle for love and acceptance, and the realisation that neither will happen. It's about delusions of loyalty that are always broken. This is an intense and evil origin story and with the first three chapters of Winter hidden at the end, you'll finish just like I did: beyond desperate to get your hands on the final book. 

"She tried to distract herself by planning who she would be that day."


After reading the beginning of Winter's book, Allie is a little too excited for the fourth Lunar Chronicles novel. She's so sad it's ending, but she cannot wait for all of the stories to finally come together. Also, she really can't wait to have more Kai in her life. #WinterIsComing