In the Lunar Chronicles, Levana is the Evil Queen whose desire to rule Earth is only surpassed by her desire to find the lost Princess Selene and destroy her once and for all. In “Fairest”, Levana’s terribly beautiful glamor is stripped away, leaving behind a vulnerable and damaged young woman who only wants what is best for her planet…and for herself.
I think the most amazing this about this book is that, before I read it, I didn’t think I was interested in Queen Levana. I liked her in the Luna Chronicle’s, but I wasn’t really interested in learning her back story. But this book was amazing. Marissa Meyer was able to make the evil queen of the Lunar’s sympathetic without making her actions rational or forgivable. Levana is a horribly messed up and misguided woman, and her traumatic past, while shedding light on it, does nothing to excuse her. And I like that in a villain.
What’s been striking me most on my reread of the series is how real each of the girls (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress) are and how much of myself (as both a teenager and adult) I can see in them. I almost think that Levana hit closest to home, which is terrifying, but such a wonderful thing to find in an antagonist. I love over the top, chew the scenery, bad is fun because it’s bad villains, but the ones that really stick with me are the very humans ones. And Levana, for all that she is a Lunar, is very human.
My only complaint is that the ending felt abrupt (I didn’t realize it was the ending until I turned to find the acknowledgements). I would have preferred for the book to end where Cinder began (or where Levana shows up in Cinder).
Now, how am I going to survive until “Winter?”