Let me just tell you that when I read Cinder, I hated Levana on sight (when I read her in the first book Cinder, I mean)! She really felt like some weird, ugly crypt keeper-like Lunar with the veil concealing her face from the public, and even from us, the readers.
So, when I heard that she was going to have her own story, I was excited! This novella would be the answer to all the questions that had been on my mind. Like: What’s with the f-ing veil? or Why do you insist on marrying Prince Kai when you are so f-ing old? and What made you the way you are? You know that sort of thing. Fairest answers all these questions and we also get a glimpse into Levana’s mind and psyche.
Without sharing a lot of spoilers ahead, I just want to flat out state that [spoiler]Cinder is indeed Princess Selene, Queen Channary’s daughter (father unknown) and Winter (the heroine in the next book of the same name), is Queen Levana’s step-daughter.[/spoiler]
Fairest tells Levana’s story from when she was fifteen years old to her rise as the Queen of Luna after her sister Queen Channary dies from natural causes and her daughter Princess Selene dies from a fire (set by you know who). Unfortunately, her backstory did not endear her to me, which I hoped it would. It did not change my initial thoughts on her. Levana IS a selfish and spoiled brat who will do anything to get what she wants. Ok, so I do not blame her because it was Channary who was evil and Levana was the one who wanted to be loved and accepted by her family and it was Channary’s fault as to why Levana became twisted. But still, this does not mean that she can act the beeeaatch that she is just because she had a lot of baggage, right?
I actually felt a little bit sorry for her initially when it was revealed that she did not really have a loving family. Her parents were killed by a shell who did not like their rule (which is one of the reasons shells were hated amongst the Lunars), and her EVIL sister Channary was instrumental in her disfigurement. Because of that incident, she was scarred for life and she hid behind her glamor (which also explains her hatred for mirrors). However, despite pitying her, her actions did not endear her to me. She was cold and calculating and I actually blame Levana for what happened to her in the end. I really love reading that pivotal scene with the mirror when Levana just about lost it and banned all the mirrors in the palace. Classic!
Fairest is also a retelling of Snow White (well, the Queen’s side ) and I am expecting Winter to be a full-out Snow White Retelling.
Fairest was a quick listen for me and I really enjoyed it. It was the perfect filler-story to the whole Lunar Chronicles world. I am definitely looking forward to Winter in the fall!
THOUGHTS ON THE AUDIO
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Miss Soler has done it again! Her perfect narration really enhanced the story IMHO. I HOPE that she is also reading Winter since she read the first 3 books!