Life on the farm is calming down and the itch to write is returning. (I keep trying to tell myself that it’s been a very long and lovely break, but honestly I am thrilled to be enthused about my writing again.) Book four — can I actually call it book four? — is in infancy and I’m excited about it. This morning I was flipping through an old rose encyclopedia and stumbled upon some fun names that might find their way into the book. Check out the pic:
Warning: Excessively long with excessive spoilers.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Told in Art:
Harry sat down on his bed and grabbed Errol’s package, ripped off the brown paper, and discovered a present wrapped in gold, and his first ever birthday card.
Harry scanned the moving photograph, and a grin spread across his face as he saw all nine of the Weasleys waving furiously at him, standing in front of a large pyramid.
He bent over his trunk again, but almost immediately stood up once more, his hand clenched on his wand. He had sensed rather than heard it: someone or something was standing in the narrow gap between the garage and the fence behind him.
With a yell, he rolled back onto the pavement, just in time. A second later, a gigantic pair of wheels and headlights screeched to a halt exactly where Harry had just been lying. They belonged, as Harry saw when he raised his head, to a triple-decker, violently purple bus, which had appeared out of thin air.
“It’s my rat,” he told the witch. “He’s been a bit off-color ever since I brought him back from Egypt.”
“And what about Scabbers?” said Ron, pointing at the lump in his chest pocket. “He needs rest and relaxation! How’s he going to get it with that thing around?”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment, but all were full except for the one at the very end of the train. This had only one occupant, a man sitting fast asleep next to the window.
And then the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings.
“Really, what has got into you all today?” said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. “Not that it matters, but that’s the first time my transformation’s not got applause from a class.”
A few cauldrons away, Neville was in trouble. Neville regularly went to pieces in Potions lessons; it was his worst subject, and his great fear of Professor Snape made things ten times worse. His potion, which was supposed to be a bright, acid green, hand turned–
“Orange, Longbottom,” said Snape, ladling some up and allowing it to splash back into the cauldron, so that everyone could see. “Orange. Tell me, boy, does anything penetrate that thick skull of yours?”
[Professor Lupin] raised the wand to shoulder height, said, “Waddiwasi!” and pointed it at Peeves.
With the force of a bullet, the wad of chewing gum shot out of the keyhole and straight down Peeves’s left nostril; he whirled upright and zoomed away, cursing.
“When the boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Neville, and sees you, it will assume the form of Professor Snape,” said Lupin. “And you will raise your want — thus — and cry ‘Riddikulus‘ — and concentrate hard on your grandmother’s clothes. If all goes well, Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture-topped hat, and that green dress, with that big red handbag.”
“George caused a diversion by dropping another Dungbomb, I whipped the drawer open, and grabbed — this.” …
“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs,” sighed George, patting the heading of the map. “We owe them so much.
It was a Firebolt, identical to the dream broom Harry had gone to see every day in Diagon Alley. Its handle glittered as he picked it up. He could feel it vibrating and let go; it hung in midair, unsupported, at exactly the right height for him to mount it.
“My dears! which of you left his seat first? Which?”
“Dunno,” said Ron, looking uneasily at Harry.
“I doubt it will make much difference,” said Professor McGonagall coldly, “unless a mad axe-man is waiting outside the doors to slaughter the first into the entrance hall.”
“Malfoy is not having hallucinations,” snarled Snape, and he bent down, a hand on each arm of Harry’s chair, so that their faces were a foot apart. “If your head was in Hogsmeade, so was the rest of you.”
“Go! Go! Go!” Harry urged his broom. He was gaining on Malfoy — Harry flattened himself to the broom handle as Bole sent a Bludger at him — he was at Malfoy’s ankles — he was level —
“Hermione!” said Lupin, startled. “What’s the matter?”
“P — P — Professor McGonagall!” Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. “Sh — she said I’d failed everything!”
“Not a dog,” Ron moaned. His teeth were gritted with pain. “Harry, it’s a trap –”
“He’s the dog … he’s an Animagus …”
“Going to kill me, Harry?” he whispered.
“What?” Ron said again, holding Scabbers close to him, looking scared. “What’s my rat got to do with anything?”
“That’s not a rat,” croaked Sirius Black suddenly.
“What d’you mean — of course he’s a rat — ”
“No, he’s not,” said Lupin quietly. “He’s a wizard.”
“An Animagus,” said Black, “by the name of Peter Pettigrew.”
A cloud shifted. There were suddenly dim shadows on the ground. Their party was bathed in moonlight … Harry could see Lupin’s silhouette. He had gone rigid. Then his limbs began to shake.
The dark ward dissolved. Harry had the sensation that he was flying very fast, backward. A blur of colors and shapes rushed past him, his ears were pounding, he tried to yell but couldn’t hear his own voice–
And out of the end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist ,but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal. He screwed up his eyes, trying to see what it was. It looked like a horse. It was galloping silently away from him, across the black surface of the lake. He saw it lower its head and charge at the swarming dementors…
“He’s there!” Harry said, spotting Sirius as they rose up beside the window He reached out, and as Buckbeak’s wings fell, was able to tap sharply on the glass.
“We did it!” said Harry breathlessly. “Sirius has gone, on Buckbeak…”
Dumbledore beamed at them.
“Well done. I think –” He listened intently for any sound within the hospital wing. “Yes, I think you’ve gone too — get inside — I’ll lock you in –”
He and Hermione were waiting, listening, their nerves jangling … And then, as they both took a fourth pieces of chocolate from Madam Pomfrey, they heard a distant roar of fury echoing from somewhere above them…
Dumbledore alone looked calm. Indeed, he looked as though he was quite enjoying himself. Fudge appeared angry. But Snape was beside himself.
“OUT WITH IT, POTTER!” he bellowed. “WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Snape stood there, seething, staring from Fudge, who looked thoroughly shocked at his behavior, to Dumbledore, whose eyes were twinkling behind his glasses.
“Why so miserable, Harry?” [Dumbledore] said quietly. “You should be very proud of yourself after last night.”
“It didn’t make any difference,” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got away.”
“Didn’t make an difference?” said Dumbledore quietly. “It made all the difference in the world, Harry.”
Harry quickly pulled down the window, stretched out his arm, and caught it. … The owl dropped its letter onto Harry’s seat and began zooming around their compartment, apparently very pleased with itself for accomplishing its task.
“What do’you reckon?” Ron asked the cat. “Definitely an owl?”
Harry read and reread the letter from Sirius all the way back into King’s Cross station.
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
My Rank: 4 stars
This is the kind of book that sticks with you: lush imagery, intriguing characters, bittersweet, and at times, very, very sad. In my opinion, the strongest character is Kasia — the relationship between the two girls is one of the aspects of Uprooted that I loved the most. Oddly, the Dragon lost his appeal for me in the later half of the book. He was much more fascinating and dominating in the first half with Kasia taking up the more powerful role in the later part. The magic was unique and ancient in vibe with loooong chants. I loved that Agnieszka went about her magic in a polar opposite fashion from the Dragon, with intuition and emotion rather than strict discipline.
And the Wood. Holy smokes. The Wood is terrifying. When Agnieszka says to the Dragon: “Will you go into the Wood with me?” this was pretty much my reaction:
And I wasn’t old enough to be wise, so I loved her more, not less, because I knew she would be taken from me soon.
…truth didn’t mean anything without someone to share it with; you could shout truth into the air forever, and spend your life doing it, if someone didn’t come and listen.
“What an unequaled gift for disaster you have.”
“Let her out!” I screamed at the tree. I beat on its trunk with my muddy fists. “Let her out, or I’ll bring you down!…”
I am Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.
Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time. In such an institution, where I was to rest until my seventeenth year, there was no getting away from the cruel jibes hurled at me from taunting tormentors. My refuge was the arts room, where I started to find some kind of redemption from the stark Dickensian surroundings, whose aim was nurture the army officers, businessmen, and gentry that dominate the class ridden world I was born into. The seeds were sown, I was an outsider. Happier times were to follow. I went to art school, where I attempted to exorcize my time spent at school. At eighteen I turned my back on a parental enforced weekly visit to church and my head was filled with a range of nonconformist ideas. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated and despite losing contact with him, I always read his latest published books with not only great expectation and unabashed admiration, but also a fascination for a person I had really looked up to, his sentences always tight, shooting arrows that always hit the mark. My yearning to be creative stayed strong and diversified, from my twenties through to my thirties and forties I made electronic music, doing concerts, in front ecstasy infused crowds, at a point I was making videos and short films. When the age of the internet arrived I was really able translate my creative endeavors into something really tangible. To earn a living I have worked as a teacher. I moved to Austria where upon I thought I would try writing. It is sure that my writing at that time was rough and rugged and without direction. I dived into a story about immortality, the story remains vegetating on some dusty floppy disk. Then tried short stories for children with illustrations to go with them. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that my writing took shape. I was at this point living in Paris, France. I spotted an advert for short stories. The magazine happened to be called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to traveling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. He had a flat in the Montmartre area of Paris, where he seemed known to all, especially those who frequented his favorite drinking haunts. He offered me many words of encouragement.
I can be found at
Give me a random tidbit about you. It could be anything. Anything at all.
I was born in the UK, but have lived in two foreign countries. I am presently living in France, I previously lived in Austria. I was once on Austrian TV, wearing a kilt, pretending to toss a caber. I was at the time very skinny and did look the part of a caber tossing Scot.
How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They can be published or not published.
I have been writing on and off for a long time. I have had short stories published in magazines and on internet websites. I have had poetry published in anthologies. Flight of Destiny is an anthology of my short stories and includes 22 illustrations which I also did.
Which genre do you prefer writing the most? What challenges do you face in this genre?
I write dark surreal stories, that have an element of wit. The challenge is to get the reader hooked from the start, with a powerful opening line. For the stories to build and build and move in the direction of a powerful ending. With my endings I like to give them a dramatic unexpected twist. With short stories, you need each sentence to be very precise and to serve a function. You need to establish the main plot and characters very quickly. At the same time I like some of my stories to have a certain amount of ambiguity, so the reader asks…is this real?
Tell me more about Flight of Destiny.
Flight of Destiny is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People’s conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.
How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump straight in with the initial idea?
I don’t really create outlines. Ideas come to me suddenly. I live with my stories in my head, working where they are going. I establish characters very quickly within the stories. I suppose I am more of a dive straight in person.
Editing can be quite the challenge. How do you go about editing your work? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Editing was complicated to say the least. E mails were sent back and forth, between me and my editor. There is always a danger of over editing and the editors interpretation and an author’s interpretation is not always the same.
Talk to me about your marketing strategies. Any tips?
I am going through the process of marketing at the moment. I am exploring any avenue possible. I am learning as I go along. You often have to depend other people’s (often other writer’s good will). I do an author to author interview exchange, I post interviews with other authors on my website. I am also promoting my book trailer. I am trying to build up the number of followers I have on twitter.
And I wish you the best of luck! Thank you so much Francis!
If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, check out more at Be My Guest.
I’m rereading Harry Potter for the twentieth time (it’s a guess, but probably accurate; I do wish I’d kept track). Instead of writing reviews (because they can become embarrassingly intense) I thought I’d share some fan art that I especially love.
Warning: Contains spoilers.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Told in Art:
Harry suddenly sat bolt upright on the garden bench. He had been staring absent-mindedly into the hedge — and the hedge was staring back.
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigpen, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several stories high and so crooked it looked as though it were held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was).
“But you’re Muggles!” said Mr. Weasley delightedly. “We must have a drink! What’s that you’ve got there? Oh, you’re changing Muggle money. Molly, look!” He pointed excitedly at the ten-pound notes in Mr. Granger’s hand.
There was a thud of metal as Ginny’s cauldron went flying; Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backward into a bookshelf. Dozens of heavy spellbooks came thundering down on all their heads; there was a yell of, “Get him, Dad!” from Fred or George; Mrs. Weasley was shrieking, “No, Arthur, no!”; the crowd stampeded backward, knocking more shelves over; “Gentlemen, please — please!” cried the assistant, and then, louder than all —
“Break it up, there, gents, break it up–”
“Can you believe our luck?” said Ron miserably, bending down to pick up Scabbers. “Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.”
Ron was pointing at the red envelope. It looked quite ordinary to Harry, but Ron and Neville were both looking at it as though they expected it to explode.
“What’s the matter?” said Harry.
“She’s — she’s sent me a Howler,” said Ron faintly.
Professor Sprout had made it look extremely easy, but it wasn’t. The Mandrakes didn’t like coming out of the earth, but didn’t seem to want to go back into it either. They squirmed, kicked, flailed their sharp little fists, and gnashed their teeth; Harry spent ten whole minutes trying to squash a particularly fat one into a pot.
“Hands on?” said Harry, who was trying to grab a pixie dancing out of reach with its tongue out. “Hermione, he didn’t have a clue what he was doing –”
“Rubbish,” said Hermione. “You’ve read his books — look at all those amazing things he’s done–”
“He says he’s done,” Ron muttered.
Harry sprinted up the marble staircase to the first floor, Ron and Hermione clattering behind him … Harry strained his ears. Distantly, from the floor above, and growing fainter still, he heard the voice: ” … I smell blood … I SMELL BLOOD!”
Harry took his remaining hand off his broom and made a wild snatch; he felt his fingers close on the cold Snitch but was now only gripping the broom with his legs, and there was a yell from the crowd below as he headed straight for the ground, trying hard not to pass out.
Harry was just thinking that all he needed was for Dumbledore’s pet bird to die while he was alone in the office with it, when the bird burst into flames.
“Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion! And while you’re at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I’ve ever met, the sly old dog!”
Professor Flitwick buried his face in his hands. Snape was looking as though the first person to ask him for a Love Potion would be force-fed poison.
“Go?” said Aragog slowly. “I think not…”
…at once the tap glowed with a brilliant white light and began to spin. Next second, the sink began to move, the sink, in fact, sank, right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into.
Fawkes was soaring around its head, and the basilisk was snapping furiously at him with fangs long and thin as sabers —
I’m rereading Harry Potter for the twentieth time (it’s a guess, but probably accurate; I do wish I’d kept track). Instead of writing reviews (because they can become embarrassingly intense) I thought I’d share some fan art that I especially love.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Told in Art:
“I would trust Hagrid with my life.”
“Seems a shame ter row, though,” said Hagrid, giving Harry another of his sideways looks.
Dumbledore’s silver hair was the only thing in the whole hall that shone as brightly as the ghosts.
“I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death –”
“Now, don’t forget that nice wrist movement we’ve been practicing!” squeaked Professor Flitwick, perched on top of his pile of books as usual. “Swish and flick, remember, swish and flick. And saying the magic words properly is very important, too — never forget Wizard Baruffio, who said ‘s’ instead of ‘f’ and found himself on the floor with a buffalo on his chest.”
Up in the air, Snape turned on his broomstick just in time to see something scarlet shoot past him, missing him by inches —
“Do you not see that unicorn?” Firenze bellowed at Bane. “Do you not understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not let you in on that secret? I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane, yes, with humans alongside me if I must.”
“I’m going to be a knight.”
“Brilliant,” said Hermione. “This isn’t magic — it’s logic — a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be stuck in here forever.”
Parenting for the GENIUS is for parents who would rather spend time with their families than read this book. It offers a no-nonsense approach to parenting that presents values you can proudly parent and live by in an accessible and enjoyable way. Parenting for the GENIUS is a guide for parents of children of all ages. It’s a how-to book that supports parents in creating clear and realistic strategies based on reflective practice.
As a resource, Parenting for the GENIUS is full of usable strategies for a host of situations that are discussed with honesty, complexity, and care—in the comforting style of discussing difficult problems with a good friend. Amy Alamar delivers her wisdom and expertise through insightful, familiar, and charming examples. The anecdotes and practical advice come together to illustrate the importance of reflecting on your parenting practice to inform your future decisions.
Parenting for the Genius is a comprehensive source for parents that discusses:
Additionally, Parenting for the GENIUS provides day-to-day practical advice in areas such as:
“Amy Alamar dispenses parenting advice with humor, compassion, and wisdom. This is a confidence-boosting book for parents and one that will be useful from cradle to college.”
– Daniel H. Pink, Author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
“The brilliance of this book is how it blends real-to-life vignettes with practical advice, allowing parents to reflect on what is best for their children. Parents will develop strategies to develop the character, values, and resilience in their children that will prepare them to thrive now and far into the future.”
– Kenneth R Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, Author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings
“Like a good parent, Amy doesn’t adopt a judgmental or scolding tone. She approaches her reader like the good, experienced friend every parent needs. Her practical, realistic advice acknowledges the realities of balancing work, personal health, and relationships. I thought I’d heard every bit of parenting advice, yet this book kept surprising me.”
– Peter Hartlaub, Father, Parenting Blogger (The Poop), and Journalist (San Francisco Chronicle)
Where Can I Get It?
Make no mistake, you’ll be making many mistakes. Sometimes there are no right answers, but often there are plenty of wrong ones. If you take nothing else from this book, know that mistakes (while they can present challenging situations) are extremely valuable and that you can view each one as a teachable moment.
I can’t stand it when parents say things like, “I’m such a bad mom,” or “I know, I’m the worst father in the world!” You will say the wrong thing. You will react too strongly, or not strongly enough. You will lack consistency. Tell yourself this is okay as long as you learn from it and make a better (but still maybe not the best) choice next time. It is very hard to move forward and enjoy the great moments of parenting when you feel stuck in the bad ones. Nobody’s perfect, so why should you be any different? But you can be a terrific parent—as long as you make productive mistakes. Stop worrying about being the best or worst parent, and just focus on being the best parent you can be. Have good intentions, reflect on your practice, and forge ahead with knowledge.
I recall my mother’s advice when I returned home from a show with my son. I had made a special day for him: dinner out, a live show. On the way home, he wanted to go for a treat. I said it was time for bed, and he pouted and whined—and that is a nice way of putting it. Well, I lost it. Really? How could he be so ungrateful? Why wasn’t he thanking me for such a special day? As I went to bed, I was frustrated that I had spent so much time making it such a special day only to find it was all ruined. I was near tears with anger as my mother pointed out to me that just because we had a bad drive home didn’t mean the whole day was ruined. It was a great day with one bad moment.
At some point, you have to let these things go. It’s okay to be upset, of course, but you have to move forward and know that one imperfect experience doesn’t make the whole day a failure. More importantly, it doesn’t make you a bad parent—just a good parent who had a perfectly normal imperfect moment with your child.
Who is Amy?
Amy Alamar, EdD, is the director of school partnerships at Girard Education Foundation, where she works with K–12 schools on integrating Activate Instruction, an interactive, online curriculum tool. In this role, she gathers and disseminates best practices and works with teachers, administrators, parents, and students to implement this tool. Previously, she served as the schools program director for Challenge Success at Stanford University. In her role there, she oversaw all the programming for member schools and conducted professional development for middle and high school faculty and parent education presentations. Amy has been working and researching in the field of education as a teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and reformer for over fifteen years, with a focus on underresourced students, literacy, curriculum design, and constructivist education. She has also done additional research in the areas of utilization of multimedia in education and student stress. In her role as an educator, Amy has been in classrooms ranging from elementary all the way through higher education. In her role as a frequent speaker for parent and faculty groups, Amy has facilitated parent education sessions focused on student stress and wellbeing as well as faculty development workshops focused on engagement with learning, professional communication, and curriculum design. Amy is the mother of three of her very own research subjects whom she learns from and enjoys each and every day.
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Going through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated–super-heroic changes.
Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore…now that she’s a man.
When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew–one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.
Thank you to Samantha and Rosie for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Delightful fun. This is a new way of thinking about super heroes and I love it. It’s a quick-paced read that ends on a cliffhanger. The characters are well crafted and differed from each other splendidly. I would have liked there to have been more dialogue, but hey, I’m a dialogue fanatic.
A refreshing take on super heroes. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.
“Well, I don’t actually like coffee. It’s just a vehicle for cream and sugar as far as I’m concerned.”
…her legs suddenly dropped like gravity had remembered they were there. She was no longer holding on to the chandelier in order not to float away. Now, she was hanging from it, and she was starting to fall. “Nathan!” she squealed. One hand was already starting to slip. Her hands always got damp when she was scared. It had been a real problem when she’d been doing competitive gymnastics.
To her great surprise, the instrument shifted in her grip, and suddenly, Linda was standing in her dining room with a piano in her hands. “Hah,” she cried aloud. “Hah!”
The garden had become quite overgrown. It was pretty in a way, wild and untamed, but also, somehow, a little threatening.
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.
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.
My Rank: 4.5 stars
I read an answer Meyer gave about character development; you must ask why the evil characters do what they do. By understanding their history and how they came to the point they are now makes them realistic and even more frightening. In Fairest, Meyer does just that. Levana’s life is not sugar-coated. Did I pity Levana? Yes. Did I feel horrible for the trauma and torment her sister inflected on her? Doubly so. But do I still hate Levana and want her gone, gone, gone? Oh, yeah.
This is a story about the bullied becoming the bully. About the tormented becoming a tormentor. Levana’s aggressor was her older sister. What makes the story even more wonderful is that even Channary’s viciousness is explained. Meyer shows us that hate and a childhood without love has a domino effect that is passed down the ladder, twisting and harming everyone next in line.
A great read into the insight of the villain. Not mandatory in order to follow the series, but one to chew on while you wait for Winter.
“Maybe the princess could save herself.”
“That sounds like a pretty good story too.”
“Love is a conquest! Love is war!”
“Come here, baby sister,” she whispered, and despite the terror twisting inside Levana’s stomach, her feet obeyed. “I want to show you something.”
“Are you still waiting for me to fall in love with you?”
Levana had not seen the bodies, but she had seen the bedrooms the next morning, and her first thought was that all that blood would make for a very pretty rouge on her lips.