Okay, this chick, Levana, she's got some issues. For serious.
Naturally, since I haven't read The Lunar Chronicles (I know, I know), I felt a tad lost when I started this one. Okay, Levana eventually becomes queen. Got it. But how does she get there? And am I rooting for her? Well, come to find out, No, I am not.
She's straight up cray-cray.
Her motivations are pretty well explained here, so she isn't the the-bunny-in-the-suit-told-me-to-do-it kind of crazy. She's the ambitious-I-will-make-you-love-me kind of crazy.
Her bounds of insanity begin with Evret, the guard. She has sort of fangirl crush on him, because he's a guard and that makes him sort of heroic or whatever. I can get that. I can even understand her being jealous when she finds out that he's married and his wife is pregnant. But you'd think the princess, even a burnt one that covers her face with glamor, but nonetheless a princess, would move on. Oh, no. Not this princess.
Poor Solstice dies in childbirth, and Levana jumps on Evret like a lion on fresh meat. His wife just died! She's all 'It's fate! It's fate!' Whatever. You're cray-cray.
Then she's determined that he loves her when he doesn't even know her then decides to change her glamour to look like his dead wife. Sweetheart, if you have to make yourself look like his dead wife to get him to have sex with you, he doesn't love you! Move on.
Then she forces him into marriage because she's so convinced he loves her. Whatever.
Oh, she kills her niece. Yep, sets the girl little thing up to burn to death so she can remain queen. Any remorse? Not a bit.
Then the husband that she has obsessed over, yeah, she has him killed so that she can many an emperor on Earth. My head was ready to explode at that. For serious. All that trouble to get him and keep him, then kill him when you finally realize what he's been telling you for years. He still loves Solstice. Well, gee, since I can't win him, I'll marry this poor schmuck emperor and kill off Evret.
Honorable mentions: Channary, the sister, is a bitch, but at least she isn't insane.
Can't wait to find out what happens to Winter. Except I'll have to read Lunar Chronicles 1-3 first. Shucks.
I'm fairly certain that Levana is the evil stepmother here. I think.