Up till now, these fairytale retellings have focused on each heroine. In Fairest, we see the untold story of Levana, the villain of the series. Have you ever wondered what makes the villain go bad in the first place? This book explains why Levana is the way she is.
Levana has grown up in a loveless family. Her parents, the king and queen, do not love each other, or their two daughters, and Channary, the first born and heir, certainly has no love for her little sister. Cruel and vain, Channary abuses her lunar powers on her six-year-old sister, forcing her into a fire. Levana carries her burn scars for the rest of her life, but she becomes quite skilled at using her glamor to cover them up.
When her parents are assassinated, Levana is left with no one but Channary. Desperate for love, Levana begins to pursue one of the palace guards she has been infatuated with for years, even though he is married. But Levana believes they are truly meant to be together, especially after Evret’s beloved wife dies in childbirth. Her infatuation with him becomes obsessive – she begins using her mind powers to make him return her love, which he never did on his own.
Even when Levana uses her glamor to resemble his deceased wife, he does not return her love. He only cares about his child, his little daughter, Winter. Levana forces Evret to marry her, but their situation does not get any better. Levana is unable to have a child of her own, and is constantly reminded of Evret’s love for his own daughter, from his first wife – the only wife he ever loved.
On top of her marriage problems, Levana has to accept the fact that she will never be queen. Instead, her young niece, Selene, is to be the next queen. Levana is convinced that Selene will be just as terrible a queen as Channary, and she begins to plot how she will get Selene out of the picture to find her own happy ending.
This book was disturbing, young adult level though it was. It is disturbing to see sibling abuse, then marital abuse, and finally child abuse. I can’t tell if Meyer wanted us to feel sympathy for Levana, because I didn’t have very much. We do see just how messed up Levana really is in Fairest, which helps us see why she does everything she does in the rest of the series. Thankfully, this is a quick read, so we don’t have to deal with Levana’s obsessive behavior for very long.
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