Author Gail Carson Levine
Series: The Enchanted Collection #3
Publication Date September 19, 2006
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.
Fairest was a cross between Singin’ in the Rain and Snow White.
Debbie Reynolds must lip-sync for a silent picture star and with the transition to talkies her annoying voice would ruin her career. Of course, Jean Hagen is exposed as a fraud and Debbie is hailed. The only difference is that Aza snags a prince.
After her husband becomes gravely ill, Evil Ivi is pronounced ruler. She disposes of everything which annoys her, short of music. When her “talent” finally uncovered Aza is sent (supposedly) to her death. The premise after her escape is well-known. She lives with gnomes instead of dwarfs and is one day addressed by an ugly hag. This hag not only offers her an apple but string laces and a comb, both are the other two attempts in the Grimm fairy tale, and I really liked that Gail Carson Levine added that touch. In the end, Aza chokes up the apple and she and her true love Prince Ijori live happily ever after.
I thought the middle was a little slow, but overall I like this retelling. Fairest was sweet and unique and had a great moral; that inner beauty is more important the outer.