Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, is a kind of spin off of Snow White, except the heroine, instead of being the fairest, is not at all pretty in a kingdom where beauty is almost prized as much as a beautiful singing voice. Fortunately, though, Aza does have an unusual talent with her voice, but she doesn’t really appreciate it because of her deep-set desires of becoming becoming. Aza lives with her adopted family at an inn, where she learns exactly how unusual her voice is. Then, by some twist of fate, she finds herself on her way to the castle at the country’s capital for the king’s wedding where her adventures finally begin.
Gail Carson Levine is an amazing author. I don’t know how she can get old fairy tales and turn them into something so spellbinding –ah ha– and original. I was first introduced to her by Ella Enchanted, her rendition of Cinderella, which I absolutely loved. All of her books have healthy doses of adventure, mystery, ogres, gnomes, princesses and romance. I really liked this book because it follows the same basic story line of Snow White, but it’s different enough that it isn’t completely predictable. And there is a certain bit of irony in this book, like Aza not being fair, and her dislike of apples, which I found humorous.