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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2015 Gr 8 Up—She loves fiercely and kills with little remorse; her iron grip over the Lunar people is equal parts impressive and terrifying. Queen Levana from "The Lunar Chronicles'" (Feiwel & Friends) is more than a beautiful villain. In this prequel, Meyer explains how she went from lonely, shy second daughter to the most feared and relentless woman in the universe. Levana grew up in the shadow of her distant mother, Queen Jannali, and her vengeful older sister, Princess Channary. After the murder of their parents, Channary takes the crown and produces an heir, Selene. Having permanently assumed a glamour, or altered physical appearance, after a childhood "accident" caused by Channary resulted in a severe disfigurement, Levana coerces a widowed palace guard to marry her, bringing his young daughter Winter to the palace. Her older sister's unexpected death catapults Levana to the position of Queen Regent—but that isn't enough for the ambitious, entitled protagonist. Meyer successfully sketches in some humanity to Levana's actions. At times, her raw loneliness invokes short-lived sympathy, such as when Levana clings to a dented pendant given to her by her husband. Even if readers despise her, it is worth reading this interim background novel to gain insight into Levana's complex character. VERDICT Thorough world-building and fascinating character development will thrill fans and entice new readers.—Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2015 In this bridge to her Lunar Chronicles series, Meyer shifts the focus from the cyborg Cinder (featured in Cinder, BCCB 2/12) and her attempts to save Earth from a Lunar invasion, focusing instead on the backstory of Levana, the Lunar queen and formidable villain of the series. Readers are taken back over a decade to the moon to find Levana as a painfully awkward teenage girl, scarred and mutilated from years of abuse at the hands of her merciless older sister. Although Levana’s powers of glamour allow others to see her as still beautiful, her insecurities reach an almost paranoid level and lead her down a path of increasingly immoral choices, from using her mind-control abilities to get a married man to love her to eventually killing her niece to secure her position as queen. Although the abuse by her sister is horrific, Levana is no accidental monster created by victimization; she is a calculating and intelligent young adult who weighs the pros and cons of each situation, choosing the strategy that is most likely to gain her power, whether it be over another person or an entire kingdom. Although she’s not terribly easy to sympathize with, she’s awfully fascinating to watch, and readers of a series that has so far been mostly about noble heroics might find the perspective of someone so morally bankrupt as provocative as it is disturbing. Levana’s stepdaughter, Winter, also makes an appearance, ostensibly as the Snow White of this multivolume fairy tale sci-fi mashup, and the book ends with the first three chapters of Winter’s tale, ensuring Meyer’s rabid fanbase will stick around for the full version’s release later this year. KQG - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.