Home / Book Review / Queen Levana Backstory | Audio Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Queen Levana Backstory | Audio Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest – the content and audio review!

Audio Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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fairest marissa meyer book review

Title & Author: Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer

Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Retelling

Release Date: January 29, 2015

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #0.1

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
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.”

Queen Levana, Past & Present

Fairest was my first ever audio book! Because this was a unique experience for me, I decided to split this review into the actual content of the book and my thought on listening to an audio book for the first time.

Book Content Review

I’m sure you figured out from the description that Fairest is a origin story of the evil and lovely Queen Levana. What this means for the reader is that there is a very narrow focus to the story. It’s Queen Levana time 24/7 in the book.

It’s important knowing that going in because Fairest is not the typical novel. There aren’t the additional threads of other stories and sub-plots woven in. This book is all Levana all the time.

While I did enjoy getting to see the queen we love to hate a little closer up, I couldn’t help but wonder why her story was made into a 222-page book instead of a shorter 100-page novella.

Although I enjoyed learning the whys and hows of Levana’s past, I do think the story got stuck a little on one storyline that seemed to drag a bit.

While I think that Fairest is well-written and offers great insight, I really wonder how many fans will buy this book based on a very hateful character who has little redeeming quality.

Audio Book Review

I’m very thankful that the fine people at Macmillan Audio sent me a handy-dandy audio book of Fairest. At first, I was really worried I wouldn’t find time to listen, as I work from home and don’t spend that much time in the car.

However, I managed to download the book to my iPhone and listened to the book when I worked out at the gym. I HIGHLY recommend doing this. Workouts have never gone by so quickly!

Things I liked:

  • Hearing the characters literally come to life
  • Getting a deeper sense of tone and hidden meaning
  • Experiencing a new way to consume books

The only thing that I didn’t expect, which took me awhile to get used to, was that the narrator was the voice of every character. She did a great job of pausing and doing slightly different voices for the female characters when there was dialogue, but the male voices were a bit strange.

Also, I often put my own inflection and tone into the story as I’m reading, so it was odd sort having someone else’s interpretation forced on to the book instead. I didn’t dislike that, but it took some getting used to.

I really enjoyed the audio book and would especially love to try out another book in the future – one that isn’t a novella/in-between book, for sure.


Fairest is the Lunar Chronicles version of Star Wars Episode 3. You know there’s evil in the making but you’re powerless to stop the transformation. In that way, I was hooked but in another way I was disgusted and sad. Fairest is clearly recommended to Lunar Chronicles fans only and then only for those with a very keen interest into the behind-the-scenes look at Queen Levana and the pre-story of Winter.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I’m jealous of you 🙂 I’m just listening to Scarlet now and Levana has been on my mind for the past few days… She could make a compelling character, and I guess the book you’ve just listened to proved it. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  • Erica Jane Ostergar

    I’m interested to see what this book has to offer. If nothing else, Levana is a very compelling character.

    I’m a little surprised this was your first audiobook. (But yay!) I started listening to audiobooks as a kid–when I was 10 or so. I love them. If you’re looking for more great audio Maggie Stiefvater’s books have always been so lovely in audio format. I especially love the narrator for The Raven Boys series. He made me love those books even more.