Living La Vida Levana

Fairest, by Marissa Meyer – I’ve been enjoying the Lunar Chronicles series so far, and while I believe it was originally intended to be four books, this prequel actually came out before the fourth one. Unlike the others, I don’t think this is based so much on any specific fairy tale, although the title and some aspects of Levana’s personality are Snow White references. It fits into the trend of stuff like Wicked and Maleficent that tell the story from the villain’s point of view. Levana is the Evil Queen of the series, the ruler of the Moon with magic powers and a plot to conquer Earth. While it explains how she came to be the way she is in the main series, it does not make her a particularly sympathetic character. She’s vain, scheming, and seemingly incapable of true love. When she develops a crush on a guard whose wife dies, he magically manipulates him into becoming her husband, but there’s no real chemistry there. Part of her obsession with glamor is due to her face being badly burned when she was young, so she constantly uses illusion to hide her true appearance. We also learn how she tried to kill her sister’s heir, and the beginning of the plot to infect Earth with a deadly plague. It’s shorter than the others, but no less interesting. Although it takes place chronologically before any of the main series, it assumes knowledge of the revelations in those books, so I would definitely recommend reading them first.

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