Review 92. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest.

FairestTitle: Fairest.
Author: Gail Carson Levine.
Pages: 326.
Published: September 19th 2006.
Publisher: HarperCollins.
Sort: Stand alone, but in the same world as Ella Enchanted.
In the kingdom of Ayortha, who is the fairest of them all? Certainly not Aza. She is thoroughly convinced that she is ugly. What she may lack in looks, though, she makes up for with a kind heart, and with something no one else has-a magical voice. Her vocal talents captivate all who hear them, and in Ontio Castle they attract the attention of a handsome prince - and a dangerous new queen. In this masterful novel filled with humour, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.

Aza has the most beautiful voice of them all, but she believes she has one of the ugliest faces. Left by her real father and mother in an Inn, Aza grew up in a loving family. They always believed that she was special, even when she isn’t that pretty. Because sometimes, beauty comes from within and Aza has a wonderful heart.

She also has a special talent. She can make different voices and let them come from other objects. Illusing. When she goes to the Royal wedding from the King and his new Queen, her talent is discovered. The Queen – Ivy – wants to use her voice as her own, since her voice isn’t as pretty as she looks. Aza can’t decline, because Ivy uses evil methods. She is stuck, but her developing friendship with the prince makes everything much better.

Can Aza escape from the Queen?

First of all, I could identify with Aza. A huge period of my life, I felt ugly and I never believed anyone could fall in love with me. I felt so sorry for her and the fact that she couldn’t see how special she was. Everybody – except her family and the prince – treated her so badly! I hate the fact that appearance are so important. I was so glad that she discovered that beauty is more than just a pretty face – and that she is beautiful in her own way.

Second, this book is loosely based on Snow white and I love the originality. Instead of dwarves, she gets Gnomes and she even got locked up in the famous mirror. Snow White isn’t my favorite princess, but Aza captured my heart. She totally deserved her prince. Their love developed – no instant love after a kiss.

The only thing that bothered me was the singing. I liked it when they performed, but they also sing random lines in a conversation. Can you imagine that? That you are talking to your best friend and suddenly, they break out into singing? It was.. too strange for me.

If you are looking for a different spin with a lovely heroin, definitely take a look at this book!


  1. A huge period of my life, I felt ugly and I never believed anyone could fall in love with me.

    First off, I'm glad you speak of that in the past tense. Meaning you don't feel the same way now? I don't know what you look like, but I DO know you're a beautiful person! Never forget that <3

    I haven't heard of this book before, but I love the idea behind it! Twists on original fairytales always intrigue me. The singing thing does sound a bit weird, though. Was the author going for the same feel you get in those Disney-esque movies where they burst into song at random points? Anyway, fantastic review!!

  2. @Brodie, sometimes I have those feelings again, but after I met my wonderful boyfriend, I started to understand that I might be pretty :) He makes me feel beautiful and he always gets me through the periods when I'm a bit down. Luckily, they aren't so frequent anymore! I think it's because I'm getting older and wiser :p haha.

    & thank you so much, that is so nice of you to say! <3

  3. They break out into song during conversations? O_o That IS strange! It would be pretty hilarious if that happened in real life though. ;)

    My younger sister is a fan of this author but I haven't read anything by her myself. This sounds like a book I need to check out. Wonderful review! :)

  4. I love this book, maybe even more than Ella Enchanted. I've struggled with my body image, too, but this book always makes me smile when I read it. Aza's a great character, but I think I love Ijori even more, for treating her special. I agree that the singing was kind of weird, but it added to the overall story in a way that I really liked. Great review!

  5. I really feel sad for the character just by reading your review.. i can see how a great book this would be for those who feel insecure! Lovely review, and lol at the random singing!!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  6. I think every single person has felt ugly and undesirable at some point, so that DOES sound easy to identify with. The singing part sounds a bit odd, though? Random lines right in the middle of a conversation? Huh.
    Great review!

  7. I remember reading this book a long time ago, and falling in love with Gail Carson Levine's unique fairytale retellings and wonderful storytelling. This one was enjoyable for me, but I was always partial to Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I'm really pleased that you were a fan of this, though. Stunning review, Mel :)
    And I'm going to second Brodie's comment: You're a beautiful person, Mel. Don't think otherwise. :)

  8. Oh wow, the cover totally got to me. Your review is really good! I do wonder, is it childish? Cause it feels kinda... verrryyy young adultish but it could be really cute!

  9. @Sam, you totally should check it out!
    @Debz, isn't it great how books can make you feel better?
    @Maji, it was sad in the beginning, but the development was great!
    @Maja, thanks for stopping by!
    @Leanne, I still need to read The two princesses of Bamarre :) And thank you so much, that is sweet.
    @Emma, I didn't find it childish at all!

  10. The cover is gorgeous and I loved Ella Enchanted :) Also, both the heroine and how the book is somewhat based on Snow White sounds great. Amazing review!

  11. I definitely enjoyed this one. So far I have enjoyed everything that Gail Carson Levine has written, but it wasn't my favorite. I pretty much agree with everything you've said, only, I kind of enjoyed the singing bits. I've always wanted my life to be like a musical, so, it was awesome. ;)


Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate it and I will return the favor as soon as possible.