Saturday, March 7, 2015


[To save me some time and get some reviews posted before I fall further behind, I am going to re-post a couple reviews I wrote elsewhere first. I'm involved with a group of writers at, a website dedicated to the telling of a post-apocalyptic fantasy story we are in the process of writing. Six full novellas are already available, and while we wait for our authors to finish the next installments of the story, we post blogs about all manner of things. This month, we are focusing on our latest Good Reads, which coincides with my own blog perfectly. When my week at CotW came up, I posted four quick reviews at once, borrowing from some of the ones I'd already posted here on my personal blog, as well as adding a couple new ones. This time, I am borrowing from my CotW blog and re-posting, with minor tweaks, one of those newer reviews.]

Fairest, by Marissa Meyer, could almost be a standalone novel. It is the fourth book of a young adult series (The Lunar Chronicles) I love and preorder yearly. (I rarely stick with a series enough to pay money for it, spoiled as I am with free advance reader copies.) This one, published in January, is a break in the overarching story of the series and tells the villain’s tale instead. Narrowly focused as it is, it's a bit shorter than the other books in the series.

The Lunar Chronicles are modern, sci-fi twists on fairy tales we know, taking place in a world where the moon is inhabited by Lunars with special powers and where humans on Earth are dying of a virus that doesn’t touch Lunars. Cinder is about a cyborg who gets to go to the ball (Cinderella). Scarlet is about a pilot who teams up with a man-wolf hybrid (Little Red Riding Hood). Cress is about a hacker who lives alone in a satellite in space and just longs to be rescued by the man of her dreams (Rapunzel). And Winter (coming in November 2015) will be about a beautiful princess whose evil stepmother, the queen of the moon, keeps her under careful guard (Snow White). Fairest, then, is about the rise of the queen of Luna and about the forces, some her own fault and others not, that turned her into the villain of the entire series. I enjoyed it very much, but of course, it wasn’t about the heroines who ultimately band together as the series progresses. Though each story focuses on a different leading lady, they all converge as well.

In Fairest, Levana is the younger princess of the Lunar people and, therefore, not the heir. But she is the one interested in politics while her queen sister is concerned only with her own pleasures. When a daughter is born to her sister, Levana is pushed even further down the line of those to inherit the crown. Scarred and ugly on the outside, Levana constantly uses her glamour to disguise her features. All she wants is to be beautiful and loved, and in the world she’s grown up in, the only way to get what she wants is to take it by force.

It is certainly an intriguing story. Complex villains are fascinating, despite (or perhaps due to) their moral corruption. Fortunately, though the protagonist in Fairest has little in the way of a moral compass, this does not transfer to the telling of the story, which is tactful and PG. The only thing "wrong" with Fairest is that it is not about the good guys. Sometimes good guys are seen as boring, but in this case, the heroines’ stories are just as good as the villain's, and they’re more...well, happy. So, this one “only” gets four stars.

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