Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?
Every hero has their beginning, but so does every villain.
Before becoming the queen that everyone knew and feared, there was an untold story of Levana's life and everything that led to her infamous reign.
There are many instances in which I am intrigued by the villain's backstory and want to learn about everything that made them who they are. Oftentimes, in YA literature, we don't really see that; villains are simply villains. But here, Marissa Meyer gave us a great opportunity to learn about Levana before she wrapped up her series. And I'm very happy with what I was able to learn in this short book.
Before I go any further in this, I wanted to point out that this isn't supposed to make you feel bad for Levana. I know there are people out there who think that knowing her backstory will help us feel for her and relate to her, but really, that's not the intention of this book. Levana wasn't meant to have a touching origin story that made us understand her, she was just the villain who grew into herself. So if you haven't read this book and expect to feel sympathy for Levana when you go into it, remove those expectations. There's really no sympathy required.
I really loved reading this book and had such a great time learning about Levana's backstory. It was amazing to get the chance to understand her better and finally put together the hints and little pieces of her life that were scattered throughout the first three books. I had a couple of theories when I was going into this book, and only one of them was right. Marissa Meyer surprised me by completely destroying one of my other theories, which I was quite happy with.
I enjoyed how twisted Levana's mind was and how it all made sense to her, when a normal person would be terrified. There's something to be appreciated when an author can get into that kind of mindset and really write from the perspective of someone who is clearly wrong, but believes themselves to be right in every way. I must commend Marissa Meyer for that. She really did a great job here. It sounds weird to say it, and I've said this before in other reviews, but I really enjoy how twisted some people's minds are, and Levana is no exception. Saying that probably makes me sound a little bit like someone who should be avoided, but I can't help being interested and intrigued by what the mind can convince us is right. There's just something about it that I like so much.
The book was very well paced and told a greater story than I had expected. There was so much more to Levana's life than I had imagined, and I loved every page of it. I especially enjoyed being able to read something that takes place on Luna, a place that hasn't really been explored or talked about much in the first three books of the series.
At the end of the book, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the story, and the experience I had. For some reason, at one point, I read it in a way where everyone had a British accent. That had never happened before with any of the previous books, and it didn't happen the next time I sat down to pick it back up. But it was a good experience.
I don't think I can ever say that I like Levana, because I don't. I disagree with so many of her choices, pretty much every single one she ever made in this book. But for some reason, I can't say that I hate her right now. That'll probably change once I pick up Winter, but for now, I think I can't say it because I understand her more. That being said, she's still a terrible person.
5 stars. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it. I've heard people say to read this before reading Winter because it does contains some stuff you'd want to know before getting into the last book. I don't know if that's exactly true, but I think you should definitely read this before reading Winter just to have a better feel for Levana.