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.
The story starts before the funeral of Levana's parents. It is implied that Levana and her older sister, Channary, do not have a close relationship with their parents and feel no sadness for their deaths. Both Channary and Levana detest each other as well. While Channary is naturally beautiful yet cruel, Levana needs many glamours to make herself perfect and call herself the fairest queen.
During the funeral, Levana sees Sir Evret Hayle, a royal guard who has known Levana for many years and is ten years older than her. Levana has a crush on Evret, and is immediately saddened when she meets Solstice, his beautiful wife. Evret and Solstice would soon be having a baby. Evret and Solstice have a happy and faithful relationship. Levana ends up being jealous, and goes to Solstice's shop. She is under a glamour and pretends to be shopping. Levana notices that Solstice's work is very beautiful and she sees a beautiful quilt that Solstice has made to look like planet Earth. Before she leaves the shop, she reveals her true identity to Solstice.
Later, Levana is trying out glamours for Channary's coronation after the funeral. She makes herself look like Solstice, until her sister bursts in and Evret sees her. Levana is mortified and rips off the gloves that she bought from Solstice.
Two weeks later, Levana turns sixteen. However, Levana is forgotten during her birthday celebration, which is just a party for the nobles. When she leaves, a guard gives her a present which is from Evret. Levana opens the present and finds a pendant with Earth on it. Inside is a note that tells Levana that both Solstice and Evret sends her the best of wishes. Levana angrily rips up the part about Solstice.
Channary's royal council devises a way to make letumosis succeed. Channary opposes of this before Levana agrees to it. Shells are being taken up and harvested to find an antidote for leutmosis.
Soon, Solstice is about to have her baby. However, Evret is on his shift and Channary has no compassion for him. Levana decides to help Evret by letting him go with Levana to see his wife. The Hayles's daughter (who is later named Winter) is born, but Levana discovers that Solstice has always been sickly. This is Evret's last chance to see his wife.
Levana thinks that she and Evret are fated to be together because of Solstice's death, and fools herself into thinking that Evret is in love with her. A few weeks after Solstice dies, Levana reveals her feelings to Evret, who immediately tells her that he thinks of her as only a friend. She uses her glamours to make herself look like Solstice. She tries to stop Evret from resigning from the guards and also starts controlling his mind to make him kiss her. Evret soon is controlled to act like he loves her, but he always feels restrained and knows that his love for her is fake.
Evret tells Levana to stop manipulating him and reminding her of Solstice. Impulsively, Levana quickly asks Evret to marry her. Evret is forced to agree. However, he never stops being a guard after he marries Levana. When Channary hears, she tells her sister how ridiculous it is. Channary also announces that she would have a baby who would be Princess Selene. The father of the princess was unknown. Later, she talks about setting up Selene with Kai, who was heir to the Eastern Commonwealth. Channary dies of regolith poisoning in her lungs. Levana suspects that this is because her sister frequently went to regolith caves with suitors.
Levana becomes queen regent to rule the throne before Selene is thirteen and old enough to become queen herself. Levana is a wise queen who knows how to rule Luna and make it flourish. However, she dreads the fact that she has only twelve years to rule, and ends up envisioning her niece's death. When Selene turns three, Levana hires a nanny for Selene. Levana takes Winter to the doctor while the nanny is left alone with the princess. With a birthday candle, both Selene and the nanny are believed to be perished. However, there are rumors that Selene survived. Levana discovers from two doctors that Selene still had a slow heartbeat after being rescued but she supposedly died afterwards. Many doctors soon begin dying or mysteriously disappearing.
Winter and Evret become friends with Garrison's family. Levana feels left out because she is never included in family affairs. By talking to Evret, she discovers that the pendant on her birthday was really a gift from Solstice, who pitied her. Levana is angered and pesters Evret, who feels like she cannot trust him. Levana shows Evret what she truly looks like under her glamour. Evret is horrified. It is revealed that parts of Levana's body was paralyzed and scarred, her left eye was shut, and her hair couldn't grow back. This was because of Channary when the sisters were younger.
Later, Levana decides that an alliance with Earth is necessary for more resources. She decides to assassinate Evret so she can marry the heir to the Eastern Commonwealth back on Earth. Joshua Haddon, a retired head thaumaturge, kills Evret because Levana promises that she'll marry him if he does so. She stabs Haddon with a knife after he injures Evret. Evret's last wish is for Levana to protect and take care of Winter.
- Levana Blackburn
- Channary Blackburn
- Evret Hayle
- Solstice Hayle
- Winter Hayle
- Jacin Clay
- Selene Blackburn
- Sybil Mira
- Sage Darnel
- Garrison Clay
- Garrison's wife
- Joshua Haddon
- Venerable Annotel
- Dr. Eliot
- Konn Torin
- Constable Dubrovsky
"She felt no great loss at the death of her parents, who had been gone now for half the long day, eight artificial night. Their deaths had been terribly boring—assassinated by a shell, who had used an invincibility against the Lunar gift to sneak into the palace. The man had shot two royal guards in their heads before making his way to her parents' bedroom on the third floor, killing three more guards, and slitting her mother's throat so deeply the knife had severed part of her spine. He had then gone down the hallway to where her father was lying with one of his mistresses and stabbed him sixteen times in the chest. The mistress was still screaming, blood spurts across her face, when two royal guards found them. The shell murderer was still stabbing.
Levana had not seen the bodies, but she had seen the bedroom the next morning, and her first thought had been that all that blood would make a very pretty rouge on her lips."
"She wanted him to think about her, even if only for a moment. She wanted him to admire her."
"But to be so cherished — what a dream that must be."
"There was an ache in her stomach, perhaps left over from the horrible dream. Or she supposed it could have been sadness, but that was doubtful."
"She tried to distract herself by planning who she would be that day."
"She felt ugly, and she knew that he would never truly love her."
Fairest is translated and published in the following countries:
|Works in the The Lunar Chronicles series|