by Marissa Meyer
The title links to Goodreads and the author name links to her blog.
I'm a huge fan of Marissa Meyers totally awesome-rockin' series. Her writing is so readable, like it slides down into your innards smoothly. Her characters are vibrant. The steampunk elements with wires and gears and spaceships are super-fun and non-confusing. Even though the main characters are girls and there are elements of romance, my son (13) is just as committed to the series. I've had raving success recommending this series to non-YA and non-Fantasy readers, too. I've earned book recommendation creds with the other moms at school and with my work associates. I've reviewed every book and novella as it came out here on Colorimetry (read my reviews of Glitches and The Queen's Army) and and even had Marissa here for an interview. Yep. Huge fan.
I didn't like Fairest at all. It's written well, of course, and provides some crucial information, but Levana is horrible to her core, just as I suspected before reading this book. Worse, actually. This story climbs right into the drippy, stinky, slimy dungeon of this crazy queen's psycho. There are a few moments when I wanted to feel sorry for her, I wanted badly to justify some of her choices. I tried to excuse things or soften the twisted logic of her thought process... all to no avail. Levana is rotten and I feel slimed having learned the extent of it.
I did, however, learn a few key facts about Levana that I value knowing before reading Winter:
* She has no compassion that can be appealed to.
* She will kill anyone when she wants to regardless of how she feels about it.
* Her perspective on life is deeply rooted in royal entitlement.
* The love she experienced did not soften her.
* Those who know her well do not hope for compassion from her.
* Her idea of being a good queen involves squeezing every drop of resource from her people.
* Her people are worse off for having her thoughtful attention.
* She has never allowed herself to be vulnerable. Ever.
* Even if she did show a vulnerability, I would never, ever have compassion on her. I would shoot her dead and face the consequences even if it meant feeling guilty forever or being imprisoned in a real drippy, slimy dungeon.
I also learned some awesome back-story for Winter:
* She is not Levana's daughter. (Phew!)
* She is the daughter of the one person Levana ever loved.
* Levana promised him on his death bed to take care of Winter, so she will unless she doesn't suite her purposes anymore.
* Winter was close friends with Cinder before, well, you know.
* Cinder is really better off for not having grown up in that royal family.
I should rate this book high for making me feel so strongly about Levana. It's pretty cool (in a twisted, literary way) to climb inside someone's head and hate them more for it. I suppose. But I won't read this book again and I won't recommend it. Actually... I summed it up for my son up so he didn't have to roll in the sludge of Levana's brain.
And... it was so expensive when it was released. (Is it still?) It's worth the $10 to read the first three chapters of Winter. That was the highlight of the book for me. I cannot wait for that book to come out. :-D
Believe it or not, I happened upon the book at the library. It was one of those double-take moments. It stopped me in my tracks followed by "are you kidding me?". I stuffed it under my arm and hurried through the check-out line before anyone realized what I was getting away with.
My rating: 5 Stars for the writing, 5 stars for the awfulness of Levana, 5 stars for storyline, 1 star for like-ability.