Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

About the Book

Title: Fairest

Author: Marissa Meyer

Source: Library

Publication Date: January 27th, 2015 by Feiwel and Friends

Pages: 222

Blurb: 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.

My Review

I. HATE. LEVANA. SO. MUCH. I thought I hated Levana a lot when I read the previous Lunar Chronicles books, but after finishing this book, I was fuming. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a villain this much. I haven’t even hated Smaug this much. Seriously. It’s only further proof that Marissa Meyer has a way with words that can’t be beat.

In Fairest, Marissa Meyer weaves a tale telling the backstory of Levana, the main villain in the Lunar Chronicles. In this book, readers see an in-depth look at Levana’s troubled childhood and adolescence. Levana could have come off as excessively (and I mean EXCESSIVELY) evil without any reason, which is one of my pet peeve’s in fiction. Villains need to have motivation, even if they are complete pyschopaths. Fortunately, Marissa Meyer’s rendering of Levana’s backstory shows that Levana clearly has a motivation and a background that has influenced her evil nature. I truly enjoyed getting to understand why Levana was evil instead of just accepting her as that way with no reason.

On the other hand, while it can be understood that Levana’s troubled backstory led to her evil nature, her truly evil acts are still not forgiven. No matter how bad of a past Levana has had, the truly evil acts that she has committed can not use her backstory as an excuse. No, sirree. The evil acts that Levana commits in this book for power over her people are truly chilling and so So SO EVIL. She makes horrible choices that can not be excused, which is why I like that Marissa Meyer doesn’t try to make us readers forgive Levana with this book.  This is not some sob-story that tells us the villain isn’t really a villain.

Another thing I loved about this book was the chilling way Marissa Meyer writes. It is clear that she carefully chose her figurative language and the lense through which she describes things to make this story creepy. It’s a lot darker than the other books in the series, but understandably so.

Another perk of the story? It ties back to the rest of the series so neatly. I loved how there were so many references to the other books in this series, and how this book showed the backstory behind the other books, lending a nice continuity to the series. We also got a glimpse of Winter as a child, which makes all the more excited for Winter, which comes out in October *glares at release date* .

The only problem I had with this book was that near the end it felt a little bit rushed. Unfortunately, there were also places where I really had to skim because of some content that I have found uncharacteristic of The Lunar Chronicles. However, the rest of the book shone. All in all, it was an amazing book that gave me a chilling view of Levana’s backstory, created a nice sense of continuity in the series, and made me hate Levana even more than I already had before.

My Rating

fourbutterflies

Have you read Fairest yet? I think it was probably the closest time to the release date that I read a book, as I started reading it three days after it came out. When was the closest time to the release date that you read a book?

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65 thoughts on “Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

  1. Confession: I have not read a Marissa Meyer book. HUGE oversight, I know, but somehow I never get around to it! However, villain stories are always my fav, so I’m wondering if starting with Fairest would work …

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  2. YESSSSSSSSSSSS. I WANT TO READ THIS SO BADLY.

    Fairest is finally here! I couldn’t read your review in case there were any spoilers (were there any?) but I love Marissa Meyer’s books.

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  3. This book sounds so good!! I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but I might just have to get them 🙂 I need something to read. Like, right now. I haven’t read a good book in a far too long!

    ~Emily

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    1. The Lunar Chronicles is an amazing series, and really clean, too. Fairest wasn’t as clean, which I didn’t see coming, but I mean, Levana is a villain. But yes, if you’re looking for a good book, The Lunar Chronicles is a good choice. I think my favorite book in the series so far was Scarlet.

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  4. OH WASN’T THIS BOOK SO GOOD? I need Winter ASAP. Marissa Meyer’s writing is certainly chilling, and I really liked how it ties back to the rest of the series. Lovely review!

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  5. YES TO ALL OF THIS. The whole time reading it was like “…what? oh no. Oh NO.” I’m so glad you felt the same way I do about appreciating that we’re not supposed to feel sorry for her – I like a good villain that has reasons but is still despicable, and Levana is a perfect example of this. I LOVED the way Marissa Meyer handled it. And her writing is gorgeous. Ugh. I need Winter REALLY badly after those three chapters.

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    1. Marissa Meyer really did handle it very well. I was a little bit nervous that I was going to have to sympathize with Levana after reading this story, but it only made me hate her more, and I realized that understanding does not equal sympathizing. I didn’t even read the first three chapters of Winter because I’m not good at withstanding that kind of pain.

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  6. I wannnnnna read it and I wannnnna own the hard copy but I don’t wannnnna pay for it right now and I don’t know if I want the Kindle version or not but I suppose I could check it out from the library. Hm. I WANT IT AND YOU MAKE ME WANT IT AND LIFE IS HARD. I am going sit here now and cry. *cry*

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    1. Awwww. *pats Heather on back* It’s all right, Heather. *whispers to herself* Well, it’s not alright, but you know… *talks to Heather again* The bookworm life is very difficult, but you can do it. I know you can. Just get Fairest somehow. It doesn’t matter how. AND GO READ IT RIGHT NOW.

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      1. I’m waiting in line on Kindle… Only 7 people to wait for; which, in the best light, I suppose, is better than the fifties to hundreds who probably want to read the hard copy. Blah. I will be patient. *stifles tears*

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  7. I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS OUT!!!
    I need to read it now!

    I really want to see why Levana becomes even more evil! Great review! You got my all interested in reading this book without spoiling anything. I find that this series just keeps getting better and better:)

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  8. I haven’t read Fairest…I don’t know if I will, since dark and depressing really isn’t my thing. When the third Keeper of the Lost Cities book came out, I had preordered it, so I got it and started reading it the day it came out. 😀

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    1. Dark and depressing really isn’t my thing, either, but it was The Lunar Chronicles so I couldn’t resist reading Fairest. I’m sure Winter will go back to Marissa Meyer’s normal story style, which is good. Wow, reading a book on release day?!? That’s definitely on my bookish bucket list. I really want to read the Keeper of the Lost Cities series because I’ve heard great things about it. And the books in the series are fat, which makes me happy.

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  9. I really need to start this series, considering I have the first two books already on my shelves. I tried to read Cinder not long after it first came out, but couldn’t really get into it at the time. I love the cover on this, so no doubt I’ll buy a copy, if not just for the gorgeous cover. Lovely review Ana ❤

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  10. I loved the first three books in The Lunar Chronicles, and I mean LOVED. I’ve been looking forward to Fairest for ages, and yet I still haven’t found the time to read it. I usually read books as soon as they come out, as long as I’ve been anticipating the release. But I haven’t had to to get to this one around my blogging schedule. It may be annoying now, but I think sticking to my blogging schedule will help in the long run. I also I have a feeling that Fairest will only serve to make me more anxious for Winter’s release, which is still AGES away.

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    1. I LOVED the first three books, too, but Scarlet was definitely my favorite. Wow, I admire you for reading books really close to the release date. I am horribly bad at that, but I’ve found myself paying more attention to the newest releases now that I’ve begun book blogging. Fairest will only make you more anxious for Winter, which is why I was a little bit hesitant to read it now. But…it’s a Lunar Chronicles book, so I kind of had to read it. The excitement was too much.

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  11. Awesome review! I haven’t read Cress yet, but it’s been on my wish list forever. I’m glaring at Winter’s release date too, and I’m even waiting on reading Cress until it’s a little closer to the release date so I’m not left with a giant cliff-hanger from Meyer that will ruin my 2015. Lol.
    When I first heard about “Fairest” I was nervous that Queen Levana would become less of a villain. Glad your review cleared that up, because I don’t think I could EVER be sympathetic about her.

    Nice review!

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    1. I kind of wish I had done that with The Lunar Chronicles because after reading Cress I was left hanging, and the release date of Winter is so far away. However, I couldn’t resist starting The Lunar Chronicles, and once I did I was hooked. I think I’ll reread the books before Winter comes out to refresh my memory. I could never be sympathetic about Levana, either, because she’s done such horrible things. I think Marissa Meyer handled it really well.

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  12. I keep saying this to anyone and everyone who talks about Fairest, but… goshdarn, the crown Queen Levana wears in that cover is BADASS. No other way to describe it. It’s like full of sharp spikes that could kill anyone, and yet there’s a certain elegance to it that kind of fits her character… even though she’s evil evil evil. (But I’m only reading Scarlet, so I don’t know if she changes in Cress, heh.)

    Anyway, I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Ana! Though I’ve really come to expect nothing less from Marissa Meyer’s books: she’s pretty much a master storyteller. I know what you mean about Levana coming off as unnecessarily evil in the main series — that’s how I felt when I read Cinder, too, and it was definitely a pet peeve of mine as well. (Generally all unnecessary things in books are pet peeves of mine. Yup, I am a picky reader.) Marissa must have done a fantastic job of bringing Levana’s past to life if you were able to understand why she does what she does, even though it’s still impossible to forgive her.

    And THIS — “It is clear that she carefully chose her figurative language and the lense through which she describes things to make this story creepy.” Oh man, I love dark and creepy stories. Both Cinder and Scarlet aren’t that dark in my opinion, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading this a lot more. Ahhh, it’s amazing when side stories add so much more development to a fantasy world. ❤

    Lovely review, girl!

    P.S. I think there's a map/picture of a castle in Fairest, too?? I'm not sure, but I've seen pictures of it on Instagram and it's so unbelievably gorgeous and as expensive as it is I think I will have to get this book in hardback. *clings to book*

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    1. Yep, that crown is pretty intense, and totally fits Levana’s whole personality. Trust me. You will ALWAYS hate Levana no matter what. She is so evil that it almost crosses the line of unbelievable.

      Marissa Meyer is a master storyteller, and I think she just has this innate ability to tell really good stories with really good writing. I kind of wish that she had somehow woven that back story into the other books more so that I wouldn’t be as peeved by Levana’s one-sidedness, but Fairest fixed that well enough.

      You know, I’m not much of a fan of creepy and dark stories, but I had to read Fairest because I cannot abandon any book in The Lunar Chronicles. However, since you love those types of stories, I’m sure Fairest will be perfect for you.

      Thanks!

      There is, but I’ve only seen pictures of it online because I was reading an e-book version. There were way too many holds on the physical version at my library. It’s so gorgeous, though, and I even saw this one picture online where it was basically enlarged on a huge canvas. So pretty!

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  13. I’m a bit behind in the Lunar Chronicles as I have yet to read Cress, but everyone’s positive reviews of Fairest has me so excited to continue with the series. While I don’t do it frequently, I read Heather Demetrios’ and Ally Carter’s 2015 releases about two days after they hit shelves. It can be fun to devour a book so soon after its release! Lovely review 🙂

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  14. Awesome review Ana! I’d love to read this soon!! I haven’t been to the bookstore for a while now, so I’ll look for it ASAP 🙂 Most villains become evil because of the way they grow up to be (no doubt that it also applies in reality), and I like how Meyer did that for Levana. Very unique!

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  15. I am so glad to hear this! I was afraid to read Fairest before Winter because I didn’t want to end up liking Levana, and pitying her, because I like hating the villainous villains. I am glad to hear that Levana’s backstory isn’t as sympathetic as most recent YA villains.

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  16. I enjoyed it a heck of a lot, and while I HATE Levana..I kind of feel very sorry for her too. So the book was doubly gold for me because it kept me hating the villain, but also just feeling a little bit sad for her. And AJFDKLSAFSD I LOVED THAT IT HAD CHAPTERS OF WINTER IN THE BACK!!! That alone was awesomeness. x) I am so excited for November.

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    1. I guess I felt some sympathy towards Levana, but that feeling was mostly overcome with pure hatred. She has a horrible back story, but that doesn’t quite excuse what she’s done. I didn’t even read the chapters of Winter in the back because I couldn’t do that without feeling the pain of having to wait forever for it to release.

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  17. Ooh I’m glad that you enjoyed this one! I just got this one in the mail and I am so excited to start it. Me don’t like Levana eithers <.< WHO DOES?! Seriously.

    Lovely review, hun <33

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  18. I don’t agree that her troubled past completely led to her current nature. There is the whole nature vs nurture thing plus the factor of environment and I also believe more heavily in a person’s nature. Yes what we see and grow up around greatly shapes us but then that’s like justifying that someone grows up to beat their kids because they were beaten as a child. Which most definitely doesn’t always happen because you just know some things are wrong based on how terrible they make you feel. So I couldn’t sympathize with her at all.

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  19. I expected this book to make me sympathize with Lavania, I guess not. I’m glad she didn’t try to make her a ‘good guy’ because that wouldn’t make sense either. I’m excited to read about the ties to the main series. I was a bit afraid when everyone said how dark and twisted this book was. I haven’t read it yet! Mine’s still in the mail. I rarely pre order books so now that I get arcs I can read it before it comes out.

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    1. I’m glad I didn’t have to sympathize with Levana because in my mind she’s gone way too far. I’m not a fan of dark and twisted books either, but The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series, so I made an exception. I hope you enjoy it! It’s so cool that you get arcs now. I haven’t received any yet.

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  20. I actually just reviewed Fairest! It’s so interesting to read another bloggers perspective. Honestly, we agree on most points of the book! I think that yes, much of Levana’s actions were explained in Fairest, but I don’t think that Marissa Meyer had the intention of excusing them (and I think that author’s don’t really do that). The idea of excusing antagonist behavior is one thing that I think people really don’t get about the Harry Potter Series. Particularly for Snape, but also for Voldemort. J.K. Rowling spends time explaining the whys and the hows of our two villain’s atrocious backstories. Some fans falsely interpret these explanations as signs for excusableness, especially when connected to Harry’s forgiveness. But forgiveness (as seen in Fairest) doesn’t justify anything.

    Sorry for completely going off on a tangent there! I really enjoyed reading your review. Aren’t you just dying to read Winter?

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