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I listened to this book out of order, I listened to Cinder and then Fairest. This is the story of how Levana came to be the vicious ruler that we hear about Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.
Queen Levana didn't have very loving parents, and she had a truly pathological sister. We learn the sad tale of how Levana came to have the scars she had, and about her ruthless rise to the thrown, and what she was willing to do in order to never lose it.
A lot of reviews talk about the sexual aspect of this book; I feel that it's worth mentioning that, just like in Harry Potter, you grow with the book. As you move further into the series, the age of the reader is presumed to have grown as well. I don't think the book was overly sexual; but if the reader hasn't learned anything about sex, then you won't want them to learn about a 16 year old girl losing her virginity.
Remarkably, the sex wasn't the part of the book that I found upsetting. I was more upset/disturbed by the story of Levana's accident, and the things that she did to secure her role as queen.
**Possible spoiler; but related to sexual aspects of the book**
The only sexual events in this book include: the older sister sleeping with many men, in no detail other than you know that the relationship is sexual. Levana (at age 16) using her glamour to get a man to take her virginity, and then a brief sentence where she mentions the blood on the post coital sheets. Otherwise, Levana talks about wanting a baby, and sharing a bed with her prince, in little to no detail.
*I hope this information helps listeners decide if this appropriate to share with younger listeners/readers.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
This should really be called The Lunar Chronicles 0.5, not 3.5, because it is a prequel that takes us up to the start of events in Cinder. It's an interesting backstory on Queen Levana. As a fan of the series, I'm glad to have listened to it, although you can easily give it a miss and not lose any momentum of the main story arc.
However, my primary criterion for an audiobook's success is 'Will I listen to it again?', and by this measure, Fairest fails completely. I never intend to listen to this book again. It has no humor, no light moments at all. It is unrelievedly dark and sad, as Levana first experiences horrible physical and mental abuse as a child, always feels unloved, and grows up quietly turning into a sociopath. How many times would you want to listen to a child being forced into a fire, or a absolute monarch deciding to cut off a servant's feet so she'll have nothing better to do than sew the queen's clothes? See what I mean? It's ALL like that.
Rebecca Soler's narration is fine, but it's not going to redeem a story like this for me.
Also, buyer beware that this book really only clocks in at around 6 hours, which I generally feel is not worth an entire credit. A full 30 minutes is given to the beginning chapters of Winter, which is supposed to complete the series and is not due out until the fall. I got more enjoyment out of those few chapters than I did from the entire story of Fairest.
33 of 36 people found this review helpful