Fairest: Levana's Story, by Marissa Meyer

The fourth book of the Lunar Chronicles ("Cinder," "Scarlet," and "Cress" are the first three) is a novella origin story of the antagonist, Queen Levana of Luna. Lacking chapters, it's a very quick read, but really quite interesting. Burned horribly as a child by her psychotic and manipulative older sister and desperately searching for genuine connection and love, it's hard not to sympathize with Levana. It's a welcome addition to the series, an added complexity that makes it more adult. Bad guys aren't always all bad; we all have a past, our own origin story, that made us who we are today. Yes, the decisions we make as adults are free-standing and cannot be excused simply because of a rotten childhood, but Meyer illuminates an uncomfortable truth that is relevant to fiction and life in general: we don't know each other's pasts, and any judgment we make about another must be tempered with this grain of salt. I'm interested to see how this story affects the ending of the series, and can't wait until #5 is out.


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