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Fairest

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  39,074 ratings  ·  3,243 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 dang...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published September 1st 2006)
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
5th out of 1,478 books — 6,551 voters
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59th out of 18,167 books — 48,927 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riannon
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...more
Rachel Crooks
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...more
Bonnie Gayle
Aug 15, 2007 Bonnie Gayle rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Angela
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...more
payasa213
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Jobe
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 i...more
Sella Malin
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. Everyth...more
Katie
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...more
Anna
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! This is a really great book and I recome it to all of you!
Maddie
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...more
Rosalba
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 A...more
Mary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 Rogue
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...more
Stephanie
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.
Colleen Houck
An interesting twist on the Snow White fairy tale.
Jessica
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
Namratha
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 fat...more
HeavyReader
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...more
Jennifer Wardrip
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...more
Kristi
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 at the inn. She discovers that she can “throw” her voice and make it appear as tho...more
Sammy
This book was exactly as I expected it to be. Cliched, light, fluffy and fun, and that's exactly what I wanted. I never read Ella Enchanted but I expect it was written in the exact same style.

Fairest is obviously a new and very unique take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I can't really criticize about the book really because I don't feel there's enough to actually pick apart. It's definitely recommended for younger readers, and I don't mean teen, I mean tween and below. It carries your typi...more
Jessica
Levine has been a favorite author or mine for years. I love her creative take with the classic fairytales and somehow she always fills the holes that were missing from the classics. I'm always a sucker for the modified fairytales... Easy to follow and a fairly easy read.

This story begins with a mystery and keeps the reader intrigued throughout the story. It was difficult to put it down! I loved the new take of the story and her references to her other book "Ella Enchanted." Its the same world,...more
Jane G Meyer
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...
Ang
I enjoy Ms. Levine's unusual versions of classic fairy tales. I enjoyed this one because the main character had to decide that she liked herself no matter what she saw in the mirror. I hope more girls and women will come to love their body image. This is a good book to recommend to friends and young girls.
The Wicked Witch West
Jul 29, 2008 The Wicked Witch West rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every female
I recommend EVERY FEMALE to read this book, because of the beautiful lesson it teaches, in the best way. I don't think it's the best book ever(I gave it 3 stars) but it a book WORTH reading, so it's just as important to read as a 5-star book.
READ MACHINE/ BOOK GOBLER
OMG just finished this book!
Another masterpiece by gail carson levine
I thought this book wasn't going to be as magical as ella enchanted was for me but i was wrong as i picked up this book i knew nothing of the plot for i only picked it up for the author sake and when i read the blurb i wasnt that impressed but as i read things got more exiting and i was more enchanted this book made me feel in the moment that i was the character that i was aza which is pretty impressive i loved this book as i l...more
Julia
i don't like this book. it has too much old stuff in it. i'm only reading it right now, because im in the middle of trying to read as many books as i can. and that was on my shelf.
Orla
This book takes place around medieval time. It was pretty clear and I could really picture where the setting was, because of all the description and how the characters reacted to the setting. Like for example "Benches circled a fountain where water spouted from the mouths of marble singers"(Levine 66).The main characters are pretty believable, the main character was pretty similar to someone I know so it made sense about somethings she thought. The authors writing style is okay, I don't really m...more
Merritt
I really liked this one. My favorite thing was Ijori and his big ears. After that, I liked how Ivi, the queen, was very complex as a villain.
Carolina Riojas


I really liked it. It was slow in some moments, but Aza's thoughts kept me entertained.
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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...more
More about Gail Carson Levine...
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“I was born singing. Most babies cry, I sang an aria.” 109 likes
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