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Search - Fairest

Author: Gail Carson Levine
I was born singing. Most babies cry. — I sang an aria. — Or so I believe. I have no one to tell me the truth of it. I was abandoned when I was a month old, left at the Featherbed Inn in the Ayorthaian village of Amonta. It was January 12th of the year of Thunder Songs. — The fairy Lucinda has once again given a dreadful gift. This time it's a myste...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060734084
ISBN-10: 0060734086
Publication Date: 9/1/2006
Pages: 336
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 72 ratings
Publisher: HarperCollins
Book Type: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Fairest on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Gail Carson Levine's Fairest will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Like Ella Enchanted, this book is based on a fairy tale - "Snow White," in this case - and the author demonstrates an uncanny ability to stay true to the original story while introducing new and unexpected elements to make it completely unique and original. Aza, the novel's heroine, is refreshingly imperfect - she's deeply self-concious due to the fact that she's considered ugly by other people, which should resonate well with girls who feel out-of-place and awkward. The antagonist, Ivi, is not the evil queen we would expect, but demonstrates a range of emotions and ability for generosity that breaks the one-dimensional villainess convention, which causes Aza to question whether or not they are really all that different. Overall, Fairest is an excellent retelling full of excitment, humor, romance, and lessons that will leave readers deeply satisfied.
Stacelito avatar reviewed Fairest on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An excellent book! One I own! I read it prior to allowing my "tween" daughter read it and it is abou 300 pages and I read it in two days! It is an EXTREEMLY well crafted story! My 6th grade "reluctant reader" chose to read this after reading Levine's "Two Princesses of Bamarre" and hopes to read others by Levine.
skywriter319 avatar reviewed Fairest on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
When we think of fairy tale heroines, we usually imagine a beautiful, graceful young woman. Tall, wide, and pasty, Aza was abandoned at an inn when she was only a few days old. The innkeeper's family adopted her and she has lived and worked with them ever since. The inn's guests are rarely kind with their comments about her looks, but even after 15 years of hearing them, Aza is still uncomfortable with her looks.

However, Aza has a special gift: her voice. She is an amazing singer and secretly masters the art of illusing, or ventriloquism. She journeys to the king's castle to witness the marriage of King Ascaro to Queen Ivi, a foreigner. There, her voice captures Ivi's attention. Ivi is determined to remain the fairest in all the land, and blackmails Aza into becoming her lady-in-waiting so she can illuse over her own weak voice.

Aza is unhappy at the castle, where her only source of happiness is the prince Ijori. Ivi owns a magic handheld mirror named Skulni which can make gazers look beautiful, and Aza is obsessed with becoming beautiful through any means, including spells and potions. When her life is in danger due to Ivi's manic selfishness, Aza flees to Gnome Caverns where she learns the truth about herself and must grow to accept her looks and gain self-confidence.

While it's a retelling of Snow White, Gail Carson Levine makes it clear that the moral is that no one should judge their worth by their looks.
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maryhadalittlelamb avatar reviewed Fairest on + 12 more book reviews
good and magical with songs,love and greedy, u get to know that the real beautiful is what inside of u that count but not just the appearance
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Fairest on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by The Story Siren for TeensReadToo.com

In a land where beauty means everything, Aza finds herself lacking in every way possible. Her only redeeming quality is the beauty in her voice. If only her singing reflected what others saw when they looked upon her face. She spends most of her time trying to hide her face from the staring eyes of guests at her parent's inn. Singing is the only beauty Aza finds in herself, and she sings often while she is working.

She discovers that she can "throw" her voice and make it appear as though it came from another place in the room! She tries to teach her family her new trick but no one else is successful.

A Duchess passing through the inn on her way to the King's wedding invites Aza to come along as her maid. While at the castle, the new Queen discovers Aza's talent in "throwing" her voice and insists that Aza stay and become a lady in waiting, so that the Queen can use Aza's voice as her own.

When the King is injured, the young Queen is hungry for power and the kingdom is soon threatened to fall apart, as well as Aza along with it.

I have heard great things about Levine as a writer, so when I had a chance to read FAIREST I jumped at it! And I have to say that I wasn't disappointed! I loved the fairy tale setting and the storytelling quality of Levine's writing.

The plot was fast-paced and Aza's growth within the novel is believable. Aza isn't your typical heroine and that made the story so much more enjoyable. I loved that the book tackled the issue of beauty, which is something that I know I struggle with, as well. I know that I'm looking forward to reading more of Ms. Levine's works in the future!
reviewed Fairest on
This was a great book with very well developed characters that you grow to really care about. I think this is Levine's best work yet.


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