Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meyer, Marissa. Fairest. (series The Lunar Chronicles)

Meyer, Marissa.  Fairest. (series The Lunar Chronicles)     Macmillan/Farrar Strauss  2015  222p  $17.99    ISBN 978-1-250-06055-6  jr/sr  Science fiction  VG

Book 3.5 of The Lunar Chronicles looks back on how Queen Levana came to be the woman and monarch that she is by the time the events of Cinder occur. Fairest introduces the reader to a young, naïve, and yet terribly scarred Princess Levana, who is only second in line to the Lunar throne and desperately in love with one of the royal guards, who does not return her affections.  Levana's youth and inexperience lead to her taking drastic and terrible steps to win his love, even using the magical powers possessed by all Lunars to manipulate him into loving her and marrying her after his wife dies in childbirth.

Throughout the book Levana's attempts to secure love become increasingly alarming, but her position allows her to act unchecked, and so she commits worse and worse crimes against not only those she perceives as threats, but also against those she loves.
 In the end, Queen Levana is not the pitiable young girl readers were first introduced to, nor is she a villainess who became evil because of some torment someone else inflicted on her.  Every step she took toward her eventual role in Cinder was the result of a choice she made, thinking it was the correct thing to do.  In that, this book is a trifle disturbing, but also fascinating.

For readers who are fans of the Lunar Chronicles, this is more of a pastiche than required reading, but it provides intriguing insight and sets the scene for Cinder and its sequels.
 That said, it would really be better to read it either independently of the rest of the series, or to read books 1-3 first, to avoid potential spoilers, like the identity of the lost Lunar princess.  This is easily the most interesting book Meyer has produced so far, and it is worth a read whether or not one is interested in the rest of the series.     

Summary: Book 3.5 of the Lunar Chronicles looks back on how Queen Levana came to be the woman and monarch she is by the time the events of Cinder occur.        

Magic-Fiction                                               --Bethany Geleskie

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