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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  50,220 Ratings  ·  3,700 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published September 2006)
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Abeer A. yes i would say its Aza on the cover. During the book, they commented on the eyes Aza had, and the cover model had the eyes like her. It could be Ivy,…moreyes i would say its Aza on the cover. During the book, they commented on the eyes Aza had, and the cover model had the eyes like her. It could be Ivy, but i doubt it. Also, Aza has the mirror in hand, and she was interested in it during the book. So in short, yes I'm sure it's Aza. (less)
Lucy March It's a supposal, set in the universe of Gail Carson Levine's other book, Ella Enchanted. Basically it's like what if Snow White was considered ugly…moreIt's a supposal, set in the universe of Gail Carson Levine's other book, Ella Enchanted. Basically it's like what if Snow White was considered ugly instead of beautiful for her black hair, red lips, and pale skin?(less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 22, 2008 Riannon rated it it was ok
When I read a book, especially when I read fantasy, I find myself mentally putting myself in the place of the protagonist. Which is why my very favorite books of all time are the books that have strongly developed protagonists that I can identify with well in some way or another. I had a hard time enjoying this book at all to start with because the protagonist and I could not be more different.

Superficially, Aza is tall, wide, has dark hair and white skin (I'm short, small, blond, and tan easil
Rachel Crooks
Jan 20, 2011 Rachel Crooks rated it really liked it
I pulled this book off of the Young Adult shelves expecting some light fiction, but I really enjoyed some of the deeper meanings behind this story! Yes, it is a retelling of Snow White, but with insights that really apply to most women today.

First of all, the two most prominent female characters are alike in that they find themselves unacceptable- like two sides of a coin, even their names are like each other. One, however, becomes the villain, and the other, the heroine. But Levine paints the t
Aj the Ravenous Reader
The title of this book suggests that the story would be a fantastic tale about a beautiful young girl in distress who is the fairest of all waiting to be scooped away by a fine handsome prince. But that is not the story of this book at all which makes it really unique especially that the title totally negates the actual description of the main character and of the main conflict of the story. I liked that the main character is not those stereotypical female heroines in fantasies. I also like that ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Ella Enchanted in specific, and fairy tales in general
It was really hard for me to decide between 4 and 5 stars. I wish I could give it 4 1/2!
Fairest takes place in the same world as Ella Enchanted, and has one or 2 characters from that book, which is excellent, because that book is one of my most favorites. In fact, this world seemed instantly recognizable, after reading Ella Enchanted. It was like revisiting that book, in a way.
It's a take on Snow White, but only in the loosest of ways, and only after 200 pages. That's the area that I wanted to g
Mar 05, 2009 Angela rated it it was ok
This was a really pathetic book - a sad departure Levine's other fantastic novels. The idea was interesting (a take on the story of "Snow White" where her desirable trait isn't beauty, but instead is her singing voice), but the execution was horrible.

The book staggered under one major inconsistency: the main character is horribly ugly, but the prince falls in love with her very quickly anyway. Hopelessly romantic? Perhaps. But I call it an inconsistency because Aza was not only unlovely, but alm
Sep 27, 2007 payasa213 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Jobe
May 02, 2012 Stephanie Jobe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Snow White but so much more. When I picked up this volume I was unaware of the ties to Ella Enchanted so I giggled maniacally when I came to mentions of Sir Peter of Frell and Areida. I love Ella but I feel like with Aza there is so much more like Levine simply stepped everthing up a notch. I think people tend to see fairy tales as having to be about the pretty princess getting the handsome prince and happily ever after, but personally I love fairytales because they can call into question what ...more
Sella Malin
Dec 07, 2008 Sella Malin rated it it was amazing
This book is very good. The story is very sweet. I love how it's based on Snow White, but the author went in-depth with the story, and the plot is much more complicated; Levine took Snow White and revised it, making it a better, more interesting story. She took the flat characters from Snow White and made them round and three-dimensional. For example, instead of making the queen completely evil and power-crazy, she made her insecure, foolish, weak, slightly barmy, and easy to manipulate. ...more
Kate Willis
This story had such an amazing theme of struggling against vanity and discovering inner beauty. Ayortha's culture of singing and all things related to it was so beautiful. Makes me want to visit it and stay awhile (especially to play the hilarious composing song). ;) I loved the world building with the songbirds, the library, and the beautiful singing hall. It was delightful to experience a similar setting to Ella Enchanted (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Yet another wonderfully intriguing and refreshing story from Gail Carson Levine. This story was set in the world of her older book "Ella Enchanted" and was about the older sister of Arreita.(I'm sure I didn't spell that right.) A spin off of the fairytale Snow white, this was a nice, new rendition of the old fable. I love how Levine intertwines the original stories of snow white and Ella Enchanted with interesting new characters, settings, and plotline. I often found myself forgetting I was even ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Rosalba rated it liked it
Shelves: princess-like
Fairest is a nice and entertaining retelling of Snow White, and I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I not believed it would be as good as Ella Enchanted. Yes, I know it is not fair, but I just couldn't help myself. Aza herself is a sweet character though rather bland in comparison to spunky Ella, and Ijori, nice though he is, turns out a little too generic. He felt like a slighlty watered down version of Prince Char, with a dog. I was dissapointed we did not get to see his relationship with ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok
This book was somewhat charming in that typical YA way, except I couldn't help compare it to Ella Enchanted, and it didn't measure up. The main character (Aza) is very ugly and unlike most YA where ugly isn't ugly, she's described as actually not attractive. And then she spends the whole book obsessing about how ugly she is and wanting becoming pretty. I knew almost nothing about her character other than that she hated being ugly.

One of the awesome things about Ella Enchanted was that GCL showed
Colleen Houck
An interesting twist on the Snow White fairy tale.
Dec 20, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! This is a really great book and I recome it to all of you!
Nov 29, 2015 Ifigenia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cuentos, fantas-a, juvenil
El libro empieza mal, estamos en un reino donde lo que más se valora es la belleza y la habilidad para el canto . Al parecer los habitantes también son generosos y no destacan por su gran inteligencia. En concreto, nuestra protagonista tiene una gran virtud para el canto, pero es fea. Su máxima aspiración en la vida es ser guapa, se siente ofendida porque hay algunos que la desdeñan por ser fea, pero ella es la que más valora la belleza, la pobre es simple como un vegetal.

Conforme vamos avanzan
Apr 15, 2008 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-chap, lis-565
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 14, 2011 Namratha marked it as to-read
Fairest is a fairly engaging Fairy-tale.

It has the commoner heroine with low self-esteem, the prince with golden looks (and endearing pet/sidekick), the beautiful (and vile and obnoxious and double-dealing) queen, the helpless king, the assortment of good, bad and bl-ehh characters and enough adventure to keep you hooked till the end. There’s a beautiful message ensconced in the tale and it’s something that I heartily approve with.

A passage I especially liked (written by the protagonist’s fa
Dec 18, 2008 HeavyReader rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book is the second that I've read by Gail Carson Levine. Although this one has a storyline similar to Ella Enchanted (teenage girl goes through trials and tribulations, grows wiser, and things work out positively in the end), it was different enough that I was not bored.

The story is set in the same enchanted universe as Ella Enchanted, and halfway through, the reader realizes that this one is loosely based on the Snow White story (or at least the one I learned thanks to Walt Disney).

I real
Feb 21, 2016 Maddie rated it it was amazing
I wanted to start this off with "Don't judge a book by it's cover", because that really is the underlying theme of the book. But seriously, how beautiful is this cover? This cover is wonderful, just like the wonderful story written on it's pages.

I was always a fan of Ella Enchanted (the movie) when I was a kid, and I remember that day at around ten years old when I realized that Ella Enchanted was in fact a book. There is something so deeply satisfying about falling in love with a book (and the
May 14, 2009 Rogue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I thought I'd just read for a hour or so before bed to make sure my bedtime snack had enough time to settle. Yeah, that didn't work. LOL Six hours after starting, and no sleep later, I finished.
I couldn't put the book down! :) I cried, I laughed, I enjoyed this story. It's a fun read, but not in a 'fluffy' way. When I picked up this book at the library, the summary didn't sound too terribly interesting, but then I saw it said 'set in the land of Ella Enchanted.' (Or something like that.) I remem
Kylara Jensen
Listened to this. The full Cast Audio production is AMAZING! They actually sng all the songs. I was humming them afterwards. It was like watching a musical.

As for the story, fun but predictable as fairy tale retellings often are. I found this one, being in the same world as Ella Enchanted to be totally entertaining, though.

Very heavy-handed with the whole beauty isn't everything etc. message.

Overall, if you're going to read this book, listen to it instead!!
Jane G Meyer
Jan 09, 2008 Jane G Meyer rated it did not like it
Shelves: youngadultbooks
Blah. Were the editors interns? Levine's writing style is plain, but I can forgive that if the characters are fabulous, but they weren't. I suppose the plot was fine; it kept me turning pages, but in the end I was disappointed. She had the makings of a great book, but I'm thinking that deadlines kept her from flushing away the weeds that seemed to crop in all around her...
Apr 23, 2015 Trisha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think maybe this one was just a little too young for me. Or maybe I'm just too picky

but I didn't like the music parts and all the singing. I've never been so glad I didn't have the audio book.

This one just isn't for me.
Mar 11, 2009 Stephanie rated it did not like it
This story has a bit of the Snow White story in it, but it had an undertone of evil that was really disturbing. And the audience includes young teenage girls. It could have been building and inspiring to the youth, whereas I'm afraid it ended up being just the opposite.
Apr 30, 2015 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an okay read. The singing and songs were a bit annoying, but it was a really different fairytale read. :)
Liv Fisher
Sequel to the Newberry Honor Award-winning Ella Enchanted and a retelling of Snow White, completely its own, Gail Carson Levine's Fairest tells the story of Aza -- a young woman with hideous looks yet a voice to make up for them; abandoned at an inn when she was a child.

I really enjoyed Ella Enchanted, so I had rather high expectations for Fairest. Though the beginning and end were both rather slow, Gail's tasteful writing and curious plot in between helped to make up for it. I greatly admire ho
Sputtering! I am absolutely sputtering at the INANITY of this book!

This is not a story, it's a rambling, incoherent, nonsensical tangle of random details, wandering plots, and irrelevant crises!

The style of storytelling is most akin to some long, pointless bedtime story made up on the fly by an exhausted and irritated parent trying to BORE the child to sleep! Even Grimm's tales are more meaningful than this is.

And what's with the operatic element? Half of the book is characters responding to e
Aug 17, 2011 Queen rated it it was ok
I had high hopes when I broke this book open.

I enjoyed the retelling of Snow White. For some reason I haven't ever loved Snow White... it could be the Disney movie I never enjoyed... but she was never a favorite princess.

I felt that the writing was weak compared to the other YA novels I've been reading. It seemed the author spent more time telling us about people, thoughts, emotions, rather than showing us through the writing. It got to the point that I thought I should get a penny for every tim
All the way through this novel, I kept wanting to read Shinn's Summers at Castle Auburn. I'm not sure exactly what in this novel reminded me of that one -- maybe it's the poorer child being brought into a castle and becoming friends with a prince? Whatever it is, Fairest didn't fare well in comparison to that book.

Overall, it's a very shallow book, with thin character motivations and some serious plot holes and loose ends. Granted, the intended audience is middle school kids, so some shallowness
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by The Story Siren for

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
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Prince Char's visit? 15 30 Apr 20, 2016 09:34PM  
English 238 Review 2 5 Oct 09, 2015 06:36PM  
Purple Elephants ...: Fairest (May 2015) 4 7 Jun 01, 2015 12:05PM  
A Million More Pages: Fairest: Apr 1 36 33 May 02, 2015 04:00AM  
so you like YA?!: Fairest by Gail Carson Levine - 4 chapters each day 20 14 Feb 23, 2015 08:31AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 2 5 Feb 11, 2015 06:07PM  
  • Bella at Midnight
  • The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of The Ballad of Mulan (Once Upon a Time, #15)
  • Princess Ben
  • Once Upon a Curse (Tales of the Frog Princess, #3)
  • Forest Born (The Books of Bayern, #4)
  • Palace of Mirrors (The Palace Chronicles, #2)
  • Princess of the Silver Woods (Princess, #3)
  • Water Song: A Retelling of The Frog Prince (Once Upon a Time, #10)
  • Violet Eyes:  A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (Once Upon a Time, #18)
  • The Rumpelstiltskin Problem
Just letting you all know: I'm only going to review books I love. There's enough negative criticism without me piling on. A book is too hard to write.

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and began writing seriously in 1987. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Yo
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“I was born singing. Most babies cry, I sang an aria.” 124 likes
“Who judges the judge who judges wrong?” 87 likes
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