My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is more of a novella than a novel, it’s short and sweet and to the point. This story is more of an explanation of Levana’s dive into madness and greed more than anything else. The story is straightforward and I was both intrigued and disappointed at the same time. The part of the story I liked was Levana’s progression from being a bratty princess into the full out witch she becomes. Because we see her from her point-of-view we understand that she has a small moral compass at the beginning. We are “told” that she understands that some thoughts and actions are deplorable or rude and we “see” her choose to be either nice or acceptably polite. We also see how she justifies her decisions and those feelings change over time.
The problem was that I didn’t feel that there was enough character differentiation between Levana and Queen Chanery (sp?) in personality. They both pretty much sounded the same and I think it would have been worse if I had read the book rather than listening to the audiobook, where the actress could at least change her voice so I could have a better que. The only big difference between them seemed to be that Levana had more interest in actually ruling the lunar kingdom rather than playing court games.
Chanery is cruel to the bone and doesn’t take others lives very seriously, not even that of her younger sister. I know that children when left to fend for themselves can me cruel to each other, but there was no obvious motivation for Chanery’s cruelty, which lessons the horror of what happens to Levana from a story perspective. What happens to her is horrible and you wait with baited breath throughout the story to find out what disfigured her so badly, but with many of the rules that were put in place by the story, I found the accident a little unbelievable. If fire was banned on Luna why are there candles?
It is hard to say if Levana was a product of her environment or if she only needed a slight nudge to be selfish and self-centered. I think the intention was to imply that she was a product of her environment, but as we’ll more than likely see in Winter (Lunar Chronicles book 4), Levana’s stepdaughter Winter will prove otherwise and at the same time prove that this book is nothing but a simple history without any real growth for Levana as a character other than to say she becomes more and more power hungry and apparently mentally unstable.
If you want a quick read and are a fan of the Lunar Chronicles, then Fairest is worth the read.