Years before Cinder's story.
Before Scarlet or Cress.
Once upon a time there lived a princess.
And she plotted.
Until she became queen.
This is the story of Levana.
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Standing: Book 3.5
POV: 3rd person by Levana, past tense
Genre: YA fairytale, fantasy, sci-fi
Source: Physical copy
Release: January 27th 2015
Publisher: Feiwei and Friends
Rating: 5 stars
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Another amazing story by Marissa Meyer!
In contrast to normal books, here we have an entire book about the main antagonist of The Lunar Chronicles. We get to see a glimpse of what's going on in Levana's mind, and what drove her to become the cunning queen she is known as being today.
Levana's struggles first began when she was 15. It was a little difficult trying to imagine her as a teenager, as in the past three books, I always saw her as an adult. Levana's family has issues, and the worst would be her older sister, Channary. Levana is bad, yes, but it was Channary who probably drove her that way, was the catalyst. I'd like to think that had Channary been a better sister, Levana may not have become the person she is.
The thing about Levana is that she is lonely. Add lonely and powerful, and that doesn't always generate the best result. Especially since she's looking for love, is practically convinced of a love that doesn't exist. And it is that very reason that she's able to force a man to marry her once his wife passes away from childbirth. It's needless to say that this man's daughter is Winter, setting up the story of Winter being Levana stepdaughter.
As we know from the previous books in the series, Levana is known to have made some drastic changes to Luna. Developments and advancements in bioengineering, political and strategical warfares, creating an army and a virus, everything. Changes in history, as well, such as how she is suspected of having orchestrated the death of Princess Selene. We get confirmation of everything she has done in this book, and get to see Levana's thought process behind it all. All these new changes all have one thing in common: Levana believes that it's for the best of Luna. As twisted as her logic is, I couldn't help but see her reasoning. She needs that alliance with Earth, because Luna's resources are diminishing. She needs to get rid of Princess Selene, else all Levana's hard work of trying to make Luna a better place will be lost. Though her actions are bordering on being ethical, her intentions are somewhat in the right place. Which makes it hard to truly hate her.
Levana's history is one that isn't pretty. We get to find out exactly why Levana is so dependent on her glamours, and how she came to the conclusion to rid the entire kingdom of mirrors. It's a little sad, but given the state of her mind, it is understandable.
What I really liked in this book was the fact that we got to see a few familiar faces. I particularly enjoyed the irony, knowing the significance of these faces. Winter, Jacin, and Selene are all present, if only a few years old, and years before they actually have a role in the story. Even Cress is mentioned in passing, as well as Dr. Darnel and Dr. Tanner.
The one slight thing that took me off guard was the lack of chapters. Not that it affected the overall content, I just found it a tad strange.
This book really lets us see a different side of Levana, to see everything she has lost, and to what extents she has gone to in order to make up for it all. Her logic is twisted, but in the end, Levana is an equally complex character just like everyone else, and her decisions are reasonable giving her experiences. The author is able to skillfully give us a bit of sympathy for Levana, but without overdoing it so that everyone loves her. Levana remains to be the villain, but readers can now understand her better, and possibly even predict her next moves...
I honestly cannot wait for the final book, Winter, to come out. November 10th, 2015, isn't too far away, so if you haven't read this series yet, go do it!