Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Fairest by Gail Carson Levine is a second novel set in the fantasy world of Frell which she created for her popular, Newberry Winning Ella Enchanted. Just like Ella Enchanted is in a way a fractured fairy tale related to Cinderella, Fairest is a fracturing and retelling of Snow White. While there are similar elements (a magic mirror; the white skin, black hair and blood red lips of the heroine; a jealous queen) the story is very different. The heroine, Aza, is a foundling living in a country inn with a loving family. Chance takes her to the castle to see the king’s remarriage to a beautiful bride from out of town. Complications ensue. Aza has a beautiful singing voice, which she is able to throw like a ventriloquist. She’s also (by her own admission) quite ugly. My 9 year-old daughter loved it, but for me, about 2/3 of the way through, it took a wrong turn in the plot and it never quite got back on track. I loved (adored) Ella Enchanted, and this began just as wonderfully, but it didn't quite deliver the story I personally was hoping for. The writing is very nice, however. 3 stars out of 5.

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