A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{November 5, 2010}   Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Plot: As a baby, Aza was abandoned in front of an inn. The kind inn keepers raised her as one of their own but she always knew that she was different from her brothers and sister. Aza was, to put it bluntly, ugly but she also had the most beautiful voice of anyone in her family. Indeed, her voice was more incredible than she could ever imagine, for she could illuse: make it sound as though her voice came from any place she wished. When circumstances bring her to the royal city for the king’s marriage, her unusual skill will be both her fortune and her downfall.

This is the the first of Levine’s novels that I’ve read though I loved the movie adaptation of Ella Enchanted with Anne Hathaway. The book was as enjoyable as the movie. Though it is, upon reflection, a serious story about political power and insecurity, it feels like an easy, light read. Levine’s writing style is fluid, funny and engaging; her chapters are short and her plot well executed.

Like Ella Enchanted, Fairest plays off a classic fairy tale, in this case Snow White. It would be a stretch to call this an adaptation of the story; they are very different. Instead Levine takes elements of the tale (skin as white as snow and lips as red as blood, magic mirrors, poisoned apples and hiding away with dwarfs/gnomes) and makes them her own.

And I appreciate that Aza’s prince truly is charming, silly big ears and all.

This book is fun from beginning to end.


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