Lena’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Published: January 2015
The Lunar Chronicles are fantasy with science-fiction elements fairytale retellings (the author lovingly calls them ‘space opera’ ;D), of which as of now, three books are out: Cinder (reimagining Cinderella’s story), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), and Cress (Rapunzel). Winter (Snow White), the forth and last book in this series, is expected to come out in November 2015. Fairest fits into this series as a kind of prequel, a story about the evil queen in Snow White, in this case called Levana.
Who is Levana, how did she become queen on Lunar and the horrible villain we know her as? This short novel answers all these questions. Fairest is a lot darker and more twisted than the three novels that went before it. And while it’s just as readable as Marissa Meyer’s other books, it is not at all cute or fun like the books before were.
Levana as a character seems much more like an adult, not your typical YA heroine, definitely the villain. The story adds background to her character and adds understanding, yet it didn’t make me sympathise with her more. When this prequel was announced I was scared Marissa Meyer would make the reader like Levana, only to destroy her, make her into kind of a tragic Snape-like figure. But she didn’t and I love that because in YA that’s rather unusual I think (at least when the villain gets their own book/novella).
I flew through Fairest within a few hours. I think Lunar Chronicles fans will enjoy this, although it won’t be my favourite of the whole series, as I love the quirky and fun elements in her other books just too much. I don’t think this book is a must-read for the series, but if you are interested in how the villain became a villain then definitely read it because it is really good in that aspect. Marissa Meyer is very capable of writing more gruesome and dark characters and stories as well. You will get to see with what kind of a person Winter, the main character to the final book, has had to live. So this prequel will prepare you wonderfully for the finale (*sobs* I will never be prepared…).
If you’re wondering which order to read the books in now that a prequel is out: I still recommend you read them in the order they were published in, as Fairest contains minor spoilers for the first three books.
What did you think of Fairest?