My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Marissa Meyer never ceases to amaze me with her simplistic word formations and descriptive, yet easy-to-read writing.
Over the past few years, my tastes for books have grown, and my interests have evolved beyond the simple contemporary stories and leaned towards high fantasy. Although Meyer is considered a juvenile fantasy/sci-fi writer and her books are targeted towards middle-age readers, her readership is extremely versatile. She strongly reminds me of Rick Riordan whose book series is just as easily enjoyed by people of all ages.
The geared focus on fairy tales is an idea overdone and modified so many times that it’s a wonder Marissa manages to come up with an original, thrilling combination of ideas. Sure, the concept may be simplistic and in the hands of a less talented writer, can result in complete failure. This is where the magic happens. She is amazingly talented and skilled in manipulating interesting characters and weaving plots together.
In Fairest, Marissa Meyer cemented herself as one of the leading literary figures in this decade. Maybe she’s not on the same level as Diane Wynne Jones but she comes close enough with this series and this extremely critical novella. The novella is by no means necessary but the history of Queen Levana is intricate and must be expertly outlined so that she does not come off as a 2-dimensional villain who was born evil. She cannot be too sad of a figure that readers will end up sympathizing with her. The purpose of Fairest is to give readers a glimpse of Levana’s motives behind her actions and the events that drove her to implement extreme measures. Of course, knowing her history is important but that’s not the whole point and I liked that Marissa paced the story reasonably enough to a incorporate a 10 year long timeline.
Unlike the flimsy fairytale, Snow White, where the queen’s obsession with beauty is baseless, Fairest offers reasonable factors that fit seamlessly into the story. Without giving away the core reason of Levana’s glamour, I’d just like to say that it’s understandable why she’s so obsessed with beauty. In Luna’s society, beauty triumphs all and opens all sorts of doors and opportunities. Levana may be mad but her madness has a sort of twisted logic. Her ideas of love and what is right is strongly affected by her sister who was older and the crown princess by birthright. However, all these things are overshadowed by her selfishness. The root of all her problems are her selfishness and everything she does is not truly for the good of the people of Luna (although she thinks she’s ruling so well) but to satisfy her own agenda.
Levana is strongly influenced by her beliefs of righteousness that it consumes her superego. Sure, she knows a lot of times that what she’s doing is wrong but her guilt is minimal and oftentimes justified in her mind. She is very oblivious to the true politics in her court, what people are suffering, and understanding the root of so many problems. Basically, her id (Freud reference) is consuming her and thinks highly of her own methods. Levana was naive as a child and is still naive.
Everyone who hasn’t started the Lunar trilogy, look at these gorgeous covers and go buy it!
And here are the novellas!