Once upon a time there was a little girl, a princess, born on the moon. No, not that princess. The other one. The one who grows up to be the evil, baby-killing psychopath who brings a literal plague to Earth and is now using it to control diplomatic relations so she can, you know, take over and stuff.
Fairest is a novella-length attempt at a much-needed fleshing out of Levana’s backstory and motivations, Levana being the villain from Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series. If you haven’t read the series yet, don’t start here. It’s meant to be read after book three, or else you’re going to spoil yourself. Really, this story would have been better integrated into the main books. Levana comes across as totally one-dimensional and evil in the main series, and not every reader is going to pick this book up. I understand there’s no way this full story could ever have been told, but I really hope at least some of it makes its way into the final book, Winter, whose background we also see in this book. Hers and Levana’s stories are perhaps even more intertwined than Cinder’s with Levana, and they’re blood relatives.
This book is essentially a psychological character study of a deeply troubled girl who grows up to become extremely powerful. While this book may not endear her to many readers, I think most will come away from it understanding her actions and how her story shaped her into the kind of person who does what she does, which in my opinion actually makes her a better villain. There’s a pretty neat underlying metaphorical conceit with Meyer’s invention of the glamour that really crystallizes in Levana’s story here, in the way that for her, her emotional dysfunction is mirrored in the way that she can literally shape the appearance of her own world.
Still, for me this was like not love. Definitely pick this up, though, if you’ve read the other books.