When I read Cinder in 2012 I came out of it feeling like we had a rocky love/hate relationship. In the end I rated it 3 stars and then bumped it up to 4 stars a few weeks later. Then Meyer put out Scarlet and the novel came into my life like a wrecking ball (cue Miley singalong here) and tore me apart. Scarlet completely immersed me in the character’s lives and it literally had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I believe I ended up rating that one 5 stars x1000 on my blog. Now that I have read Cress I am sad to say that the reading experience was much more like the one I had with Cinder rather than the completely perfect one…
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: January 27th 2015
by Feiwel & Friends
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
-A copy was provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for review-
If you thought Queen Levana was evil before, you will see just how corrupted she really is! I don’t often read novellas, but this one is a bit longer than average and completely worth it to be able to see Levana’s childhood and how she grew up to be who she is. It also gives us a glimpse at our beloved characters’ childhood so we get a real 360 look at what happened in the past.
Despite her evil ways and sometimes shocking delusions, Levana’s story is just plain sad. This hard-edged personality of hers was built from a tough childhood that lacked real parental guidance and, most importantly, love and affection. The fire tragedy that brought about her scars was horrifying, and some might consider it the beginning of the end. Having such a low self-image cost her a lot. She even becomes so deeply lost inside her own delusions that she’s missed out on so much – love and happiness for one. Her craving what she thinks is love only makes her more blind to what she’s actually denying herself – she’s lost in a vicious circle of her own doings. It’s sad and not entirely her fault, even, having grown up with a twisted view of love. I found this novella to be an incredibly in-depth and revealing look at her character. While I won’t ever sympathize with her, it make us at least understand the “why” behind her actions, her wants.
Even though this novella is ultimately a character study, we also get to see the plot of the whole series take root. The virus sent to earth and her plan to blackmail, the beasts they’re breading out of shells, the reason why some want to escape Luna – it just gives the whole series an extra layer of foundation. It’s interesting to see that it doesn’t all come from pure evil, there were some good intentions in Levana. If she attacked problems in a more… humane way, I’d even say she was a very good Queen for her people. She cares about her planet, about the future; her ways to reach her visions just happen to be quite… destructive. Like whoa!
I do recommend you read this one after you have read books 1-3, just so that it makes it all the more interesting. When you know the characters in the present, it’s all the more fascinating to read about their past. But if you really wanted to read this one first it would still all make sense. You just wouldn’t be able to appreciate all the connections, and the potential “spoilers” would probably not be noticed by someone who has no idea what’s pertinent to the series. All in all, whether you’re a fan of novellas or not, fan of the series should definitely read this one. I mean, is there anything better than an in-depth look at the villain of a story?