Most of the time, I am not a fan of one of the newer trends in YA literature, the “bridge” novellas. To me, they’re called called short stories and should be put into a collection and published together, like Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass. My teens clamor for them because they want everything in a series, and in most cases I’m having to juggle a budget that has to choose between a copy of this novella or a copy of something else.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer is a bridge novella that is worth the investment. As detailed as the current published books in the Lunar Chronicles, Fairest gives us the background of Queen Levana, the Lunar Queen who is causing all the havok in Cinder’s world. It’s the story of how the Evil Queen of the Snow White story that Winter is based off of became the Evil Queen, just as Gregory Maguire’s Wicked gives readers a new light to the story of The Wicked Witch of Oz.
I admit that I am a sucker for villains- blame it on a weird gene somewhere, but I’ve always loved villains. Getting the story of how Levana became the cruel mistress she is in the series is like reading a secret diary, and the fact that she could have been so different makes things so much more heartbreaking. I’m not going to go into more detail (go read it, it’s a quick read), but if you don’t have a little bit of empathy for Levana somewhere along the line during the course of Fairest, let me know.
Not that any of it excused her actions in the “future” after Fairest, and what happens because of actions that occur in the novella. It does give a new light into a lot of different story arcs that run through the Chronicles, including:
- How leutemois got started
- Details of Winter and Jacin’s relationship
- Princess Selene’s history
- Dr. Erland
- Michelle Benoit
- Genetic mutated soldiers
If you’ve already read books within the Lunar Chronicles, it’s well worth the time to read Fairest and then re-read the series before gobbling Winter upon it’s release on November 10, 2015. If you haven’t started The Lunar Chronicles, a lot of people recommend starting with Fairest and then read the series. It’s sound reasoning as Fairest is a prequel; however, I’ve got sound reasons to go against that logic and start with Cinder:
- Cinder was the first published, and the first introduction into the universe Meyer builds. You get all of the characters, the plot, and the feel of Meyer’s writing. Fairest really doesn’t introduce any of that at all.
- Fairest isn’t made to be anyone’s first introduction to the series- it really isn’t. You wouldn’t introduce someone to Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series by giving them The Magnus Bane Chronicles (as much as I love Magnus), give someone Dangerous Creatures without getting them started on Beautiful Creatures, it’s too confusing.
- They’ve included “sneak previews” of Winter in Fairest– so if you haven’t read at least Cinder, if not farther, you’re going to go from a toddler to a teenager in the blink of an eye, and there is more to the Princess’ story in the books that (hint) you’ll get more out of the preview than if you read Fairest first.
What did you think of Fairest? Share in the comments!