Telling the backstory of Queen Levana, this novella is a companion piece to The Lunar Chronicles. I have not read Winter yet, but have read the other three books in the series, and I don’t know that you need to read Fairest. I’ll have a more definite opinion of this after I read Winter. But, if you do choose to read Fairest, you’ll want to read it after you have finished Cress. There are several things revealed in Cress that will be “spoiled” for you if you pick up Fairest first.
Fairest gives a lot of background information about Luna – how the Lunars survive, their history, and Levana’s interest in planet Earth. It’s all interesting, but it is necessary? Do we really care to learn more about Levana and Luna history?
You meet the character Winter as a baby and witness her childhood and relationship with her father, and the scenes with her father, Evret, were very sweet. Evret and his wife, Solstice, were the only two characters in the book with any shred of admirable qualities. I suppose you can count Winter and Jacin in that group too, but they are still very young children in this book, and I don’t know that this book was necessary for knowing their characters. I can only imagine they will be more of the focus in the book Winter.
And now for the biggest problem with the book: Levana does not work as a main character. Yes, you learn more about her motives, her personality, and how she became the horrid person she is, but she is so awful that I didn’t care what happens/happened to her. She is a villain. A villain with depth and reasons, but she is still just a bad, bad character. With that being said, I do feel there is a possibility for a redemption moment in Winter, and if that does happen, then I will feel much more kindly towards Fairest. It isn’t a bad book, I just wonder if it was necessary. I also probably would’ve liked it much more had I been eagerly awaiting each book in the series. But, since I came to The Lunar Chronicles late, all of the books were already released/releasing soon, so it didn’t satisfy my appetite for more, as it probably would have had I read the books when they each were released. I kept thinking while I was reading “I’ve got Winter right here – can’t I be reading that instead?”
And the ending (if you can even call it an ending) was SO abrupt – it is almost like the author wanted this backstory to be in the main books, and her editor thought the books were already unnecessarily long, so she had to put Levana’s story in a companion book. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Has anyone read this and loved it?
Bottom Line: Entertaining, but unnecessary. My opinion may change (I hope) once I read Winter. I’ll let you know.