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.
Whoa, what did I just read? I knew it was going to be a villain’s story but I did not count on it being so unexpected. It gives a picture of Levana’s past – the path she takes to become the fearsome villain of the Lunar Chronicles, when before she was just the scarred neglected second princess – but it doesn’t try to redeem her. Truth is, Levana has done some extremely messed up things, but reading Fairest adds a whole other dimension to it.
First, there is the fact that she is obsessed with Evret Hayle (Winter’s father); so much that after his wife’s death, she takes on her face and forces him to marry her. Then after her sister’s death (who was even more villainous than Levana, tbh) she tried to get rid of her niece (but you already knew that) to secure the throne for herself. But ultimately it boils down to the fact that she is pitiful character who never knew love, and only knows power to be wielded in its place. But lurking beneath this human-like need to belong and to be accepted, also lies a vicious and selfish monster, who may or may not have been created by her circumstances. All I can say is, kudos to Meyer, for giving us a villain story but without redemption.
That aside, I loved the little nods to other characters in the series, like Jacin being introduced as the family friend who knew Winter from birth, Selene and Winter being best friends, Cress and Kai also being referred to. Overall, it is an amazing perspective brought out.