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The Lunar Chronicles #3.5

Fairest: Levana’s Story

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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.

256 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 27, 2015

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About the author

Marissa Meyer

61 books120k followers
I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my husband and beautiful twin daughters. Represented by Jill Grinberg. Learn more about me and my upcoming books at http://www.marissameyer.com.

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5 stars
40,425 (31%)
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3 stars
28,603 (22%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,519 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
February 28, 2016
“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.”

4 1/2 stars. This is easily my favourite book of the series. Well... so far, but I find it hard to imagine that Winter will top this.

I enjoyed this book immensely and I had the feeling beforehand that it would be the villain's story that affected me most. There's just something really great about reading the stories behind the villains, finding out why they became the way they are.

Levana is a seriously crazy bitch in the other books of the Lunar Chronicles. It personally made me want to know more about her. For me, a complex villain with a backstory that can create sympathy is one of the strongest kinds of characters. Better than any tough heroine or dreamy love interest.
“Maybe the princess could save herself."
"That sounds like a pretty good story too.”

This book doesn't actually take away any of the crazy, evil villainy from Levana, but it does offer convincing (and seriously disturbing) reasons as to why she became the way she is. You still don't like her, you still know she is batshit crazy, and yet there is something so sad and tragic about this story.

Young Levana is smart, ambitious, and desperately in need of love that she never got from her parents or sister. I'm glad that Fairest doesn't linger too long on the pity party; if it had, it would probably have felt contrived and manipulative. Instead, Levana quickly grows both cruel and controlling, fuelling the reader's dislike but also leaving behind a sad, bitter aftertaste.

Things could have been so different.

I'm really looking forward to reading Winter, but part of me also hopes that Meyer will return to spin-off novellas. If they are anything like this one, they'll pack a short, emotional punch.

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Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,588 reviews153k followers
December 10, 2020
description

Seven of my favorite Bookish Villains in one BookTube Video!
The Written Review

An absolutely essential read.

Rarely (and I do mean rarely ) does a companion novel enhance, improve and brings another dimension the original set. Fairest does all that and more.

Lunars (the advanced civilization living on the moon) can manipulate what you see and think through bioelectric energy.

Princess Levana (age 15) is neurotic about maintaining her glamour at all times due to a disfiguring "accident" caused by her older sister, Channery, a decade ago.

Through tantalizing tidbits, we learn that Levana was manipulated, bullied and tortured by her sister for years. And by manipulated, that includes using the bioelectric kind.

Through whispered conversations, the audience learns that it is forbidden to bioelectrically manipulate children because the bioelectrics directly affect their growing brains - producing disastrous side-effects.

Almost without realizing it, Levana soon starts displaying those side-effects.
This was the part that Levana could not figure out. How did you kill a child? There were so many possibilities...
When their parents die, Channery is crowned queen and all Levana can think is how she could do it better. And when Channery mysteriously dies, Levana finally gets that chance.
No matter what anyone thought, she was the fairest queen Luna had ever known.
And she was right - she's so much better at being a queen than her sister ever could be. Only, Channery left behind a heir (Cinder) and that just simply would not do.

Levana seemed like such a shallow, evil "big bad" in books one to three, but now I get her. This book really delved into her motives and brought her to life as a fully realized three-dimensional being.

Levana is a deliciously evil character through and through - and while this book is not necessary to understand the original quartet, it certainly brings new light to the veiled villain.

I appreciated that while this book brought sympathy to a rather unsympathetic character, it did not turn her into a misunderstood anti-hero.

Audiobook Comments
--Well read. Whenever Rebecca Soler said, "Come here baby sister" I got chills!

If you are curious about Rebecca Soler, check Tucker the Reader's interview!

The Finer Books Club - 2018 Reading Challenge: A book with a one-word title

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Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
March 5, 2015
Book 24/100 of 2015

WOW SO GOOD! I really shouldn't like nor sympathize with Levana, kind of made me! Well...not exactly like, but definitely understand who she is and why she ended up that way. The pacing was great and I was never bored, which should be expected as it is only 222 pages. I also liked that we got a whole backstory for Cinder and Winter as well! I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL WINTER IS RELEASED
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
601 reviews86.9k followers
February 19, 2017
2.5 ish maybe?
Kind of wish I had skipped this one. I wasn't a fan of the back story, it just seemed unoriginal and on top of that there was a scene that made me very uncomfortable because it is essentially in every way rape unless I misunderstood? I don't know. Just not worth the read for me.
Profile Image for Liz* Fashionably Late.
432 reviews384 followers
September 12, 2020
Buddy read with amazing Tanya (:

YES.


_________________


When I decided to read this book, I did it having in mind every other book in this series: funny, compelling and perfectly okay stories. That would explain why I was really not expecting the level of creepiness, weirdness and are-you-fucking-kidding-me-ness this book had to offer.

She hated mirrors. Hated their reflections, their truths.



Among Meyer's characters, Levana is definelty the most complex one. I could easily describe the evil queen as a psycho and still there would be plenty unsaid.

When it comes to villains, I can deal with evil. I'm not sure I was ready for mental illness, genius move, everybody. We're given free pass to Levana's head and trust me, it's not a comfortable place to be. She's insecure, pitiful, broken and completely alone and even if I didn't sympathize with her, I think I felt sorry for her in an almost I hope you die kinda way.



I must say I'm grateful it wasn't about understanding Levana and eventually sympathizing with her. I was not in the mood to like her, I wanted a real villain. It was actually a surprise to read about being this YA and all.

It was very well executed and I approve this book for the little ones (it's not a secret I'm my sister's Book Police and I try to protect her from the evil world out there). I felt it was too short or maybe the ending was too abrupt and, as Tanya was saying, it's a shame we don't get to see the cold blooded bitch queen we've come to know and love but just the immature and infatuated little girl longing for love. I feel so sorry for Evret and Winter, but now can't wait for book #4! Another OTP is near.

Note: Don't read this story unless you've read till book #3. It's barely spoilery but I think you won't enjoy it as much unless you get to know some of the characters first.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,425 reviews9,021 followers
October 29, 2022
((gulp)) Well that explains a lot.



Fairest was brutal; even for me and I love brutal.

After reading this, I can't say I am surprised Levana turned out the way she did. However, the girl still deserves some credit, some of that cruelty was all her own.



Fairest: Levana's Story was published after Cress and just prior to Winter.

Even though that was the publication order, I actually chose to read it directly following my completion of Winter. Frankly, I think it could be read at any time, or not at all.



Personally, I knew this was not a story that I wanted to pass up.

I absolutely adore villain origin stories. Quite often, villains are my favorite characters in a story and I love to discover their backgrounds, as well as learn about their motivations.



Levana's story is definitely a heartbreaking one and although you can see why she may have turned out with the issues that she did, she could have chosen to be a vessel for good as well.

Being treated the way she was, she could have vowed to never treat anyone else so badly.

Unfortunately, I think her own spirit and natural characteristics allowed her to transform into what she did, which was a vengeful and brutal ruler.



Overall, I think this makes a fantastic piece of supplemental literature for anyone who is a big fan of the Lunar Chronicles series.

I had a lot of fun getting more information on this world and I am looking forward to reading Stars Above as well!

Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
September 8, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

It didn't occur to me that some readers might skip this installment of THE LUNAR CHRONICLES, counting it as a novella. Technically, while being a prequel, I think it's still a full-length novel. I don't know the word count, but I did the math (with a calculator, and everything), and even excluding the preview of WINTER that begins at 79%, Levana's story is still over 200 pages.

FYI.

And regardless, any fan of the series will want to read this book, b/c:

1. What does Levana really look like under that veil?

2. What happened to Levana's husband, and how did Winter end up in her care?

3. What is the depth of Levana's evil?

And those are just a few of the questions that FAIREST answers.

Also . . . as it turns out, Levana might just be as crazy as she is nefarious. The end result is the same, of course, but I was surprised. If she was simply a narcissist, I might not have been, and that's definitely part of the crazy, but guys . . . this woman is diabolically insane.

It's uncomfortable.

I had the misfortune of agreeing with my husband to PILLARS OF THE EARTH as our holiday driving read this year . . . I loathed it. And for once I didn't have to analyze what it was that made me loathe it: there are just some people's heads you don't want to be inside of.

Clearly, I didn't hate FAIREST, but sharing Levana's headspace is . . . well, it's stressful, I was full of stress. And awkward. I don't think I'd like to see a picture of myself while I was reading, b/c I'm pretty sure if my face wasn't stuck in perpetual grimace, my eyebrows were at my hairline with my eyes bugging out of my head, b/c WTF?
Levana had not seen the bodies, but she had seen the bedrooms the next morning, and her first thought was that all that blood would make a very pretty rouge on her lips.

Those bodies? Yeah, they were her PARENTS. Her parents who had been MURDERED. And that is the least of it.

In addition to finding out what's going on under that veil, you also find out why she choose the specific glamour she uses . . . and it is . . . W-H-O-A (and I'm totally making that face again).

Are there reasons for the CRAY?

Oh yeah. And you learn those too.

Did it make Levana a more sympathetic character?

NOPE. Not to me, anyway. Just like Channary (Cinder's mother) wasn't made a more sympathetic character b/c she showed a few surprisingly maternal instincts.

Am I a hardass? Maybe. Probably. But I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it's not what you've been through, it's how you handle it that matters, and I have a sneaking suspicion that even without the crazy (b/c Bad Things), Levana would still be diabolical.

Overall, FAIREST paints an unambiguous portrait of the most vile villain to ever plague (HA!)both Lunars and Earthens. It cleverly weaves together multiple threads from the characters that readers have grown to know and love in previous installments of THE LUNAR CHRONICLES, and reveals, step-by-murderous-and-entitled-step, how Levana and her immediate family have sown the seeds of their own inevitable downfall. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature

My other reviews for this series:

Glitches (Lunar Chronicles 0.5)
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
The Queen's Army (Lunar Chronicles, #1.5)
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)
Profile Image for emily .
228 reviews2,063 followers
March 17, 2020
"Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Who is the most INSANE FUCKING PSYCHO BITCH of them all?"


(a direct quote)


So, this is basically what happened to me while reading this book:

me, before reading fairest: piss off levana god i hate this fucking noodle
me, 25 pages in: PROTECT HER!!!!!!!!
me, after reading fairest: yeah she can choke

i feel like the actual Evil Queen here is Marissa Meyer for putting me through this form of emotional abuse, i hope from the depths of my black sinner heart that she can't sleep at night thinking about what she's done to all the poor souls that decide to read Fairest because 'oh that sounds interesting'. ALL authors are bullies, pass it on.

before reading this book i used to compare levana to donald trump and honestly i take it all back bc even tho trump is a psycho bitch too he's got nothing on levana (my apologies, sir) even though they both have in common that they're a pretty big threat on planet Earth lmao

anyways, i feel like Fairest is the embodiment of the phrase "don't ever judge a person before you really get to know them", because we all fight battles no one knows about and levana is really just a tortured soul like all of us................................jk i still hate her bye

!!!: SPOILER WARNING

Reasons why levana is the #1 psycho bitch and also all of this fucked me up:

• she tried to SET A BABY ON FIRE
• she also fantasized about torturing said baby for,, years probably
• she tried not to smile during basically all funerals she ever attended like o....kayyyy........... psychopath
• she literally mind-raped a guy at the mere age of 16!!! years (at that age i was still playing with Legos probably)
• she forced someone to love her with mind-control (lmao me actually) for 10 YEARS

i can't believe all of this is canon....... i have to lay down for a bit.................. think about the fact that we can all be very grateful that we were not born as Marissa Meyer characters........................ imagine having Channary as sister *shudders*

• buddy read with jiu


_______

have my original thoughts after finishing fairest bc i feel like it says a lot about this book:

you know when you finish a really good book and you're sitting alone in your room at 1am and your whole body is shaking?? #me at this very moment

i'm feeling very...... discombobulated @ my current emotional state i can't believe marissa meyer MANIPULATED me like that

_______

update: no offense but why is the inside of this book more beautiful than most humans i've seen

description

someone take me to luna
Profile Image for emma.
1,786 reviews43k followers
October 31, 2018
Okay so I knew I didn't like this book, but I didn't know I hated it.

Life is just full of surprises.

I like Levana as a villain in the real Lunar Chronicles books (I am already actively removing this from my conception of the series) because a b*tch is RUTHLESS. She is kicking ass and taking names and committing acts of biological warfare that lead to long-term genocide.

Your fave fantasy villain could never.

She's also crafty and smart and mysterious and all of that is what makes her cool as hell.

I also think it's unbearably lame when villains are given ~backstories~ and ~emotions~ and are made ~sympathetic~. Gross. Who wants realistic, emotive characters in 2018? Who wants to feel emotions in 2018? We stan constantly scheming, purely cruel female villains o n l y.

So I was prepared from the get-go not to like this book, which promises to explain why Levana is the way she is and depict her as a person or whatever. My nightmare.

But also this was worse than I possibly could have imagined.

This does a very bad job of explaining why Levana is the way she is or making her seem like a person at all. From the very beginning of this book, she is manipulative and entitled and creepy and awful. This entire story made me so uncomfortable. Rather than being a villain before she was a villain, Levana is a literal sexual harasser who uses her powers to emotionally and sexually abuse the guy she """loves."""

There is just so much that is wrong with this. Every page was hard to get through.

Bottom line: VERY BAD I HATE.
Profile Image for Jessica.
257 reviews3,580 followers
April 6, 2016
Full Review on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RAd1c5jKxA8

Yikes. This queen is cray...

We all knew that Queen Levana was a bit psycho from reading Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress... I never realized how many issues this lady really has.
I LOVED this book, just like the other books in the Lunar Chronicles. If you haven't read this series yet, I would suggest that you don't start with this book, however. I know that it's a prequel, but so much information is shared in this book that you don't learn until book three in this series. I guess you CAN start with this one, and you'll just be really informed while reading the series, but I wouldn't suggest it. I think it will take away a lot and you'll enjoy the series a lot more if you read books 1-3 before this one!



What did you guys think of the book?!
May 9, 2019
Yet another extremely outstanding story. I'm slowly turning into a fan, an adept and an evangelist of M.M., I think!

Q:
She tried to distract herself by planning who she would be that day.
A thousand possibilities floated before her. (c)
Q:
Levana knew a great deal about beauty, just as she knew a great deal about ugliness. (с)
Q:
It calmed her, sinking into the glamour. (c)
Q:
She was a beautiful fool, though, which was the worst kind. (c)
Q:
A risqué effervescent spirit. (c)
Q:
The stronger Luna’s economy grew, the more Levana wanted.
She cried now because she wanted so very, very much.
She wanted everything for her people.
She wanted Earth.
She needed Earth.
All of it. Every mountain. Every river. Every canyon and glacier and sandy shore. Every city and every farm. Every weak-minded Earthen. (c)
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,450 followers
July 31, 2017
Mirror, Mirror on the wall ~ Who's the fairest of them all Well, it sure as hell isn't evil Levana!

Re-read through audio =)




Wow! I can see where Levana turned evil from all she went through from childhood etc. But she didn't have to turn evil, it just takes over if you let it. I see all the reasons she became sad, tired of it all, jealous, whatever you want to call any of it, it's just that I feel she could have become so much more. She seemed to be the happiest when she was the most evil though.

I did not read the first few chapters that were added from Winter. I'm waiting for my pre-order in November and the way time flies, that will not be long! Bring it!

I'm glad Marissa Meyer put out this little book so we could see what all started Levana on her rampage of evilness!

And I absolutely love the name Winter! It's my favorite time of year so of course. I loved Solstice and I felt sorry for Evret. I think Channary was was evil and ignorant!
March 18, 2018
"Love is a conquest. Love is a war".

"El amor es una conquista. El amor es una guerra".

Vamos a ver... No, Levana, a pesar de tu historia trágica, tu hermana fría como el hielo y tu visión tan triste del amor no te vas a redimir por ser la reina psicópata que conocí durante toda la saga de Las Crónicas Lunares. Ni de broma.

En Fairest nos encontramos, en un primer momento, con el lado más humano de Levana, si es que alguna vez tuvo uno. La Reina que conocemos en los principales libros de la saga empezó siendo una hermana menor, una princesa que nunca llegaría al trono, que vivía bajo los comentarios hirientes y banales de su hermana Channary. Levana también fue una chica que se obsesionó con una idea errada del amor y que sufrió toda su vida por ello. Por ser inalcanzable, por no ser verdaderamente bella y por la impotencia que sentía ante la frivolidad de su hermana, la legítima heredera.

Leer toda la historia de Levana es alucinante, pues notamos realmente cómo la locura y las ansias de poder se van apoderando de ella poco a poco. Atrás quedó la chica que únicamente quería enamorarse para dejar paso a una peligrosa y manipuladora mujer. A veces me daba escalofríos estar dentro de la mente de Levana, pues sus razonamientos eran aquellos de una psicópata, de alguien que justifica todas sus acciones por más viles que sean. Las páginas previas a que decida que Selene es un estorbo para ella y que debe matarla para convertirse en la legítima reina son horrorosas. ¡Está hablando de asesinar a una niña de tres años! Joder.

Quizá lo que más me gustó de este spin off de la saga fue conocer el origen de muchos personajes. Aquí conocemos a Evret y a Solstice, los padres de Winter; a Garrison Clay, el padre de Jacin Clay; a Sage Darnel y su esposa, los padres de Cress; y, por supuesto, vemos a Cinder, la Princesa Selene en sus primeros años.

Sobre el final, y es el momento en el que todo en Levana se destroza y hay un cambio radical que la acerca a la Reina que conocemos, hay una escena que me fascinó y es el colapso que tiene frente al espejo de su hermana Channary. Es una escena llena de simbología y que alberga todo el odio que Levana siente hacia su apariencia, a las injusticias, al vivir en una roca y a lo que le duele el rechazo de su forzado y manipulado esposo. Creo que esta, más que ninguna, hace justicia a que esto sea un retelling basado en la Reina Malvada de Blancanieves. Magnífico.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,359 followers
January 20, 2015
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

If you thought Queen Levana was evil before, you will see just how corrupted she really is! I don't often read novellas, but this one is a bit longer than average and completely worth it to be able to see Levana's childhood and how she grew up to be who she is. It also gives us a glimpse at our beloved characters' childhood so we get a real 360 look at what happened in the past.

Despite her evil ways and sometimes shocking delusions, Levana's story is just plain sad. This hard-edged personality of hers was built from a tough childhood that lacked real parental guidance and, most importantly, love and affection. The fire tragedy that brought about her scars was horrifying, and some might consider it the beginning of the end. Having such a low self-image cost her a lot. She even becomes so deeply lost inside her own delusions that she's missed out on so much - love and happiness for one. Her craving what she thinks is love only makes her more blind to what she's actually denying herself - she's lost in a vicious circle of her own doings. It's sad and not entirely her fault, even, having grown up with a twisted view of love. I found this novella to be an incredibly in-depth and revealing look at her character. While I won't ever sympathize with her, it make us at least understand the "why" behind her actions, her wants.

Even though this novella is ultimately a character study, we also get to see the plot of the whole series take root. The virus sent to earth and her plan to blackmail, the beasts they're breading out of shells, the reason why some want to escape Luna - it just gives the whole series an extra layer of foundation. It's interesting to see that it doesn't all come from pure evil, there were some good intentions in Levana. If she attacked problems in a more… humane way, I'd even say she was a very good Queen for her people. She cares about her planet, about the future; her ways to reach her visions just happen to be quite… destructive. Like whoa!

I do recommend you read this one after you have read books 1-3, just so that it makes it all the more interesting. When you know the characters in the present, it's all the more fascinating to read about their past. But if you really wanted to read this one first it would still all make sense. You just wouldn't be able to appreciate all the connections, and the potential "spoilers" would probably not be noticed by someone who has no idea what's pertinent to the series. All in all, whether you're a fan of novellas or not, fan of the series should definitely read this one. I mean, is there anything better than an in-depth look at the villain of a story?

--
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Anne.
3,792 reviews69k followers
May 23, 2020
description

OMG!
Talk about a book that makes you feel (a bit) sorry for the psychotic villain in all the other books!
Are you reading the Lunar Chronicles?
Yes?
Then this is a Must-Read. No, you can't skip it because it's a novella ...and let me tell you why, ok?
First, this sets up EVERYTHING that happens in the rest of the Lunar Chronicles. It's the prequel that doesn't suck.
Second, you get to find out about the past that Cinder forgot. You know what I'm talking about, right?
No?
Then you need to go read the other books. Now.
Third, it sets you up for the upcoming FINAL installment of this series, Winter. Not to mention, you get the first 3 chapters of the new book (they were awesome, by the way) in the back of this one.
Fourth, Levana's creepy-yet-pitiful descent into madness is not to be missed!
Oh! I wanted to hug her, then slap her, then pat her on the head, then stab her repeatedly, and then give her a band-aid...maybe.
You need to read her story!

Besides, it's over 200 pages, so you're definitely getting your money's worth out of this.

Profile Image for Bangadybangz.
30 reviews873 followers
February 29, 2016
Omg... I'm feeling so many emotions right now and it's absurdly late, and I'm just trying to process it all. Wow. That was intense.

So I debated whether I was going to give this three stars or four, mostly because... this is not a happy read. But then I reminded myself that any piece of writing with can evoke the depth of feeling that this little book did for me is just good writing. So, hence the four stars.

I just feel so sorry for everyone in this story! Except for Channary. That hussy is straight up evil. Mostly I just feel really really sad for Evret! He was so honorable and always wanted to do the right thing and he loved his wife and his daughter so much and it was just so heart breaking to see Levana manipulating and tormenting him the way she did. I just kept screaming at her to leave him alone and let him go be with his daughter and find happiness somewhere.

Jeez Levana is frustrating. Like I understand her a little more now and why she's the way that she is, and I can sympathize a little bit, but I still do t like her. She is a scary, delusional psychopath with way too much power.

So, with all that being said, while this wasn't exactly an "enjoyable" read for me, I feel it was a valuable one. It stirred a lot of emotions within me and has given me a lot to think about, and it's still a beautifully crafted story. And I did feel some twinges of excitement at all the little Easter eggs with the characters that I've grown familiar with from the rest of the Lunar Chronicles.

And the scene where little Cinder was burned alive in the nursery... Damn that was rough. I'm glad we got a full explanation of what happened to her, but damn. And yet, I think the scene where Channary forced Levana to burn herself with mind control was even worse. Again, EVIL.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get some sleep now. Wish me luck. Tomorrow... Winter is coming. =D

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tamara Obradović.
139 reviews20 followers
March 1, 2015
*makes devastating sobbing noises and cries myself to sleep*
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1.11.2014.
I don't know why, but she'll forever be my queen Levana
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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
OH MY FREAKING GOD
LEVANA IS COMING

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LEVANA IS COMING

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IT'S ALL I'VE EVER BEEN WAITING FOR

description

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING

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Young Cinder and Winter. Dr. Erland. Love. Death. This story will kill me.

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Profile Image for Jasmine.
250 reviews327 followers
January 23, 2019
Holy crap.

My favorite character in the Luner Chronicles is getting a full length novel all to herself. Nothing but cruel Levanna for 256 pages. And full-coloured art. COLOURED ART, PEOPLE.

description
Profile Image for Victoria Resco.
Author 4 books22.6k followers
August 5, 2021
Estoy todavía llorando y procesando todo mientras escribo esta reseña. Si pudiese darle 20 estrellas, lo haría. Les juro que lo haría. Si pudiese denunciar a Marissa Meyer por romperme el corazón, lo haría. Les juro que lo haría.

Todos saben como termina este libro. Yo sabía pERFECTAMENTE como terminaba este libro. Y así me ven, haciendo la lloración a más no poder.

Es increíble como la autora consigue crear un personaje tan despreciable, retorcido y enfermo como Levana y tiene lA AUDACIA DE HACERTE EMPATIZAR CON ELLA. Te parte en mil pedazos ver a la chica destruída que lo da todo obteniendo absolutamente nada a cambio, verla tomar todas las decisiones equivocadas por los motivos correctos.

Es una locura. Cada página de este libro es una locura y no puedo evitar anunciar que es lejos mi favorito de la saga hasta el momento.

Realmente, incluso si no piensan leer Las Crónicas Lunares como saga, deberían leer este libro como autoconclusivo. No tienen idea de lo que se pierden.

P.D.: EVRET TE AMO POR AMOR A DIOS SOS EL AMOR DE MI VIDA. TE DEDICARÍA TODOS LOS TEMAS DE COLDPLAY.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
March 13, 2017
“Levana knew a great deal about beauty, just as she knew a great deal about ugliness.”

I liked reading Fairest to pass the time waiting for Winter. But I just loved Winter.

Marissa Meyer demonstrates again how she can build fantastic worlds and interesting characters from nothing. It was intriguing reading about the Lunar world, especially from the bad guys POV. Even though it did not make Levana more sympathetic. Just more pathetic, naive, self-centered and cruel.

The thing is, I did not really need this novel in my life. I would have preferred reading the final installment at that time. Especially because it made the mysterious and evil Queen Levana less mysterious (but not less evil) and took some of my curiosity for Luna away.

All in all, I still really liked it.

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Profile Image for Andie .
256 reviews375 followers
February 6, 2016
It's official, Levana is bat shit crazy! Off her damn rocker. Needs to be locked up. Insane. Think that about sums it up.

I'm actually really torn about how I feel about this book. I went into it thinking I was going to get a backstory and then in turn understand why Levana is the way she is. And while I did get the reasoning behind it I still don't feel she is justified in any way and I absolutely do not feel sorry for her. Instead my heart actually hurts for those who have been so unfortunate to ever cross paths with the crazy woman. She feels no remorse for anything that she's done and suffers from constantly wanting more and more, fueling her cruelty.

Is this story a necessary read to fully enjoy the rest of the series? No I don't think so. But I did fully enjoy being inside Levana's twisted mind nonetheless. It's a great addition for any Lunartic and Marissa Meyer's writing is superb as always!
Profile Image for Layla.
317 reviews351 followers
March 5, 2021
~ 3.5 stars ~

TW/CW: sexual abuse, rape, adult-minor relationship


I'm really conflicted in regards to this book. On one hand there is one particular thing that I hated with a burning passion and I didn't think it was absolutely phenomenal or extraordinary, but it was good.

I thought Levana's villian origin story made sense. Everything she went through and how that affected her and shaped her into the person she now is, but from the start it was obvious that she is manipulative and doesn't know when she crosses the line. Just as long as she gets her way and things work out in her interest. She is cunning is terrible ways and would go to the extent of killing a child to get her way. And all throughout this, she is sure that she is doing the right thing.

The one thing that made me bump it down was how somehow under it all, is that I got the feeling that we were supposed to feel with her. Under normal circumstances, what she went through, I wouldn't mind that. In the end of the day, she is still a villian, and her experiences do not excuse her behavior, but one thing I do not want to see is someone who is a sexual harasser and ultimately a rapist be presented in such a way. I don't know how to properly convey how I feel about this but I don't like it. Obviously her perception of love is still skewed, but this entire relationship and the way it was dealt with rubbed me the wrong way.

But otheriwse, I liked the glimpse into Luna and it's history and Levana's history. It enhanced my experience of this series, and I enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to read it.



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Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,088 reviews6,590 followers
November 14, 2015
I am so sad. This absolutely broke me. I definitely recommend reading this if you love the series because you get such an interesting insight into Levana's character. She is so so so so evil :(
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews821 followers
August 10, 2017
Honestly, Fairest blew me away.

After reading Cress two months ago and getting highly disappointed by it, my excitement for Winter decreased. I wasn't even planning on reading Fairest. However, Cait recommended it to me after I told her I was looking for something short and easy to read and told me it was fantastic. Naturally, after Cress, I was a tad hesitant but I still decided to give it a try. And would you look at that! Blown away!!

Prior to starting this, I was aware I'd get to see the extent of just how insane Levana is, but I was also told I'd feel sorry for her at some point. Yes, I felt sorry for her early on, then I hated her again as the novella progressed. And yes, I got to see just how much of a psycho she is. But now I know why she's the psycho she is, you understand (but not necessarily accept) why she's the way she is. She's so multilayered, it actually shocked me since we don't always get villains who are that developed. So, kudos to Meyer for creating such a complex villain!

“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.”


So far... Fairest is my most favorite of the series. It actually reminded me that I indeed love The Lunar Chronicles. And since Fairest offers background info on Selene and Winter, it got me super excited for Winter again.

Levana, having grown up in the shadow of her mean sister Channary and without the love she needed from her parents, slowly turned into the horrible, crazy Levana we know now. We see all the inner thoughts of Levana and all the messed up, psychotic ideas that come to her mind. We also come to see how she lacks self confidence and she hides it well and that manifests in her need to control and manipulate everyone... My heart broke and I had tears in my tears over what she did to her first husband. It was absolutely heart breaking and I hated Levana for it, in addition to a bunch of other messed up things which solidified my hate for her.

I know some people say it doesn't matter if you read this novella before or after Winter, but I highly recommend you do read it before Winter as it gives background history for Winter and it gets you really excited for the book (if you aren't excited already!). I absolutely can't wait for Winter!!!

••• Buddy read with my fellow parrot lover, Amy
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
November 10, 2015
Re-reading because I have just enough time to fit in this craziness before Winter

Okay....bumped up 1/2 star because it is brilliant even if it is difficult to be in Levana's head for that long. She is BAT-SHIT-CRAZY and I understand how every step and decision she made from the time she was 15 led her to that last cruel step she took and rationalized to herself. She is so broken there is no chance of redemption anywhere.

*sobs for Evret*

First Read Jan 2015

3.5 Self Loathing Stars

The best villains are the ones that can rationalize and don’t believe they are the bad person, the ones that in a way you can sympathize with. After reading this I definitely understand the level of crazy Levana has going on in her head now. I can’t really say I sympathize with her BUT…I totally understand her better now and she is cray-cray.
Love is a conquest.
Love is a war.
Here is what I think of love

It is uncomfortable to be in Levana’s head as she mistakes common niceties for love and as she reads far too much into the actions of others. The first time she used her gift to get what she wanted from someone else was horrifying at the same time it might have been understandable given her age but I still felt so bad for the person involved. The way she forced Evret into marrying her and the way she hurt him every day without even realizing it made it abundantly clear she doesn’t understand emotions the way a normal person would.
Waiting would be agony. She would have to let him know that it was all right for him to mourn and love at the same time. She would not judge him, not when they were so clearly destined for each other

Even though I did have a chance to see how her sister Channary tormented Levana and made her childhood practically unbearable it was still so hard to feel any true sympathy for her when what she did to Evert was so horrendous and tantamount to rape under the illusion of love.

Levana’s madness grew over years from it being okay to poison an enemy with a plague, to forcing a person into an action against their will, to convincing yourself it is okay to murder a child, to stealing the throne, later glamouring more people and then later much much worse. She truly descended into madness.

I loved getting glimpses of Winter as she is younger with Princess Selene and Jacin in the palace playing together as children. I’m really excited for what this means for the next book because Winter remembers her childhood even if Cinder does not.
“Why is it always a prince?” asked Winter. “Why isn’t she ever saved by a top-secret spy? Or a soldier? Or a … a poor farm boy, even?”
“I don’t know. That’s just how the story was written.” Evret brushed back a curl of Winter’s hair. “If you don’t like it, we’ll make up a different story tomorrow night. You can have whoever you want rescue the princess.”
“Like a doctor?”
“A doctor? Well—sure. Why not?”
“Jacin said he wants to grow up to be a doctor.”
“Ah. Well, that’s a very good job, one that saves more than just princesses.”
“Maybe the princess can save herself.”

I’m really excited for Winter since one of my favorite books of all times involves a crazy princess. Maybe our Winter could save herself.

Is this necessary to the rest of the series? - Probably not. I did like getting some of Winters origins in this and seeing Levana’s PoV on the events of the past. Plus this story does clear up some of the speculation on how far Levana has gone to secure the Throne and which deaths she is responsible for.

But if you like origin stories and enjoy knowing the motivations for characters then this is a great accompaniment to The Lunar Chronicles. I do however suggest that you have read up through Cress so that nothing will be spoiled
758 reviews2,358 followers
April 22, 2017
2 1/2 stars. I hate Levana and I don't care for her at all. However, that is not the cause of my low rating.

This novella is about what turned Levana into such a monstrous evil queen. Now I really liked her whole point of view, her thoughts and feelings, but some of the stuff she did was just plain fucking monstrous and no matter what she went through, does not excuse what she fucking did.

My friends that read this felt a little sympathetic for her for what she went through, but to be honest, I was quite bored. I was expecting something more extremely traumatic and heartbreaking. Call me heartless, but I was just bored and couldn't give a flying fuck about what she went through. Meh

Overall, it was a boring story, but I learned quite a lot about Bitch Levana.

I hope she dies for what she did to my ships.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Should I read this before Winter or after?

P.S I've heard this book will make me sympathize Levana? AHAHAAHAAHHA, try me Levanaaaaaa.
Profile Image for Sofia.
295 reviews5,947 followers
October 1, 2020
This is good enough to be its own novel, and I would gladly buy it if that ever happens.

I love a good villainous backstory, but I wasn't prepared to sympathize with Levana as much as I did. As a child, she's constantly covering herself up with a glamour - because she's hiding something. Levana, having been mistreated her whole life, hasn't the faintest idea what love is. So when she falls head over heels for a married man, Evret Hayle, she does what she thinks is right - she tricks him. His wife dies tragically during childbirth, but when he's still in mourning, she forces him into a loveless marriage. But she does love Evret, in her own twisted way. And when he never shows any love for her, she slowly descends into a deep depression. Not content with just being queen of Luna, she sets her sights on Earth, driven by her own desire for more - more love from Evret, more acceptance from her people. But what she really wants is for someone to see her. And no one does.

Looking through Levana's perspective is such an experience. She believes what she's doing is right - even as she murders children and forces a new widower into a marriage with her. She's convinced that everyone would love her again if she just did a little more, and honestly? I empathize with that. The expectations of others warring against her own desire for true love puts such a strain on her that she's not even sure what to do anymore. But Levana doesn't know any better. She's been raised like this. She's almost innocent.

All in all, this was such an eye-opening novella. I love how grey Levana's character is - she's better than Cinder and Kai combined, in my opinion. And this short story tugs at your heartstrings like nothing else. It's the story of a girl longing for acceptance and the twisted way she tries to earn it.

5 full stars
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