An Author’s Take on a Villian’s Origin

Marisa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” Second on Bestseller List

By Dennise DeJesus

Over the recent years, a series has taken a hold for readers and fans alike. The Lunar Chronicles is a New York Times Bestselling Series written by Marissa Meyer. Currently it is #2 on the bestselling series list.

The series takes place in a dystopian futuristic world in which the citizens are affected by massacres and deadly plagues. Refreshingly compared to other dystopian series such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, The Lunar Chronicles does not have the theme of being in a sorted society.

It is based on the struggles of the four protagonists as they work together to fight for honor, freedom, and independence.

Each novel within the series is based on a fairy tale character with four different central protagonists. There are some parallels to the manga Sailor Moon in Cinder. Despite the shift between protagonists, Meyer seems to magically center each novel, linking the current main protagonist, the past protagonists and minor characters from separate plots that eventually become a universal story web.

Starting in the series is Cinder which is based on the fairytale Cinderella, revolves around Cinder, a 16-year-old mechanic who deals with struggles with her family and being a cyborg.

Moving onto Scarlet, based on Little Red Riding Hood, 18-year-old Scarlet is searching for her missing grandmother when the authorities refuse to help.

Cress, which is based on Rapunzel, follows 16-year-old hacker Cress and her journey to freedom. Closing off the series will be Winter, based off of Snow White. Winter, will face her stepmother, Levana in her tirade of overpowering her.

Fairest is the latest addition to the series. The novel follows the beginnings of the main antagonist of the series Levana and how she became a menacing queen. As with the other characters, Levana parallels the evil queen in Snow White.

Though for Lunar Chronicle fans, the release of Fairest fills in the long gap in between Cress in February 2014 to the upcoming release of Winter in November 2015. It serves as the book that answers the questions left unattended in previous novels and the origins of the characters Cinder and Winter, protagonists of their respective novels.

When encountering Levana first in Fairest, she appears to be a naïve, spoiled version of the person she currently is. Recently, her parents were killed by assassins and the throne will be handed to her beautiful, cruel older sister Channary.

Levana is jealous and resentful of her sister becoming the queen since she fools around with romantic escapades and neglects her duties.

She struggles to find her own happiness since her sister denounces and tortures her and deals with heavy body issues with mutilations on her face from an accident. Insecurely, Levana hides her face with the illusion of the Lunar gift with the scars.

Additionally besides the inhumane treatment, the relationships between Levana and the people around her is deflected by a psychological barrier that isolates her into lunacy. The barrier eventually leads to her current motives and personality in the current novels.

This was not the best piece of work written for this series. Comparing Fairest to the first three novels of the Lunar Chronicles is like tasting a dry slice opposed to a whole frosted cake.  The lengthy, well-detailed chapters of the regular novels were reduced to sections that were back-to-back within each other.

It is understandable that the context of Fairest would not contain the quirky, happy moments in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress that balanced serious moments.

But considering the novel was not meant to be a completely happy one, it would have been preferable to see Levana with happier moments to completely empathize with her.

There were also moments that were sickening in Levana’s character such as manipulation and sexual situations. Additionally, some of the questions answered from previous novels could have been answered in the novels themselves.

Though Fairest is a prequel to Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, it does not contain the same whimsy and adventure the usual novels did.

The prose of the novella is a total blow to the buildup of the first three novels. But there is hope with Winter to make up the blow with the style similar to the first three novels. But the novel is a good placement to answer questions not answered within the first three novels and the final novels.

It is recommended for a person who has never read the first three novels to consume this between Cress and Winter in order to gain a full understanding of past references.

The novel itself is not worth a buy or reread since the basic ideas of plot can be absorbed in one sitting. To be fair, the novel was a miss for the extraordinariness of the series. But, do not hold the opinions of this novel to be on the same structure of the main novels. Overall, the main series is an exciting one that should not be missed.


Categories: Arts

Tagged as: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.