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Fairest

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  60,838 ratings  ·  4,088 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
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Satsuki |皐月| 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)
Andraste how do you think you either own it or get it from the library you don't read it off goodreads if thats what you're thinking

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  60,838 ratings  ·  4,088 reviews


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Rachel M
Jan 20, 2011 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
...more
Riannon
Jul 20, 2008 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
...more
Angela
Mar 05, 2009 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
...more
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
Bonnie
Jul 29, 2007 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
...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Snow White is a story that doesn't necessarily appeal to me. It's about beauty and jealousy and the cliche evil stepmother. That is not what this book is about.

Fairest is an incredibly subvervise retelling. The main character is not beautiful, and the queen is not jealous of her beauty. Aza's most praised quality is her beautiful singing voice. She's not a flawless, saintly character either.

I like the message sent here around beauty, that everyone is beautiful to someone. Snow White has such a
...more
Stephanie Jobe
May 02, 2012 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 i ...more
payasa213
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
I don't love Fairest as much as Ella Enchanted, but I still find this is one of those classic fairy-tale retellings that deserves repeated reads. I've read this one quite a few times but apparently it never occurred to me how much of a Snow White retelling it really is. And how young Aza is... ...more
Serethiel ☽ ✨
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
...more
Kate Willis
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Obsidian
I don't hate myself enough to continue to read this book. Going to find something else to fit the "A Grimm Tale" square. I just don't have the patience for the singing or Aza and others talking about how ugly she is every freaking five seconds. My biggest issue is that Aza's not interesting enough to read as a re-imagining of "Snow White." She's mean at times to her sister and family cause she's not beautiful, though it makes no sense why she's not besides the fact she doesn't look like others a ...more
Sella Malin
Dec 01, 2008 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. Everyth ...more
Mary
A very cute story!!! The land in Fairest sounds so nice and pretty and was very well described and had lots of character. The songs were fun, the plot was very good, and the writing was also good. Overall maybe 3.5 stars :)
E.F.B.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pre-teens and lovers of fairytale retellings
Recommended to E.F.B. by: Grace Mullins
4 charming stars

I listened to this on audio, so please forgive me if I make any egregious misspellings of character or place names. I'm actually going to skim some reviews to see if I can find how to spell these names...

"Fairest", a Snow White retelling, was the first book by Gail Carson Levine I've ever read. I'm familiar with her work because of the Ella Enchanted movie, but only now got around to picking up her books. (Seeing the movie did at least allow me to notice and appreciate the refer
...more
Rosalba
Jul 18, 2013 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 A ...more
Katie
Jul 28, 2011 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
...more
Jay G
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

3.5/5 Stars

When Aza was just a baby, she was found wrapped in a blanket in a room of a local inn. The innkeeper and his wife decided to raise her as their own. Aza looks different from everyone around her and considers herself to be ugly. As Aza grows older, she develops a beautiful singing voice. One day a Duchess comes to the inn and quickly finds herself in need of a companion to ac
...more
Mikayla
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely wonderful and engaging read! I couldn't put it down!

And intriguing embroilment of jealousy and finding what you love in yourself set the stage for this great, easy read. The protagonist has a kind spirit and great depth that shows an emotion that especially young ladies can connect and even contrast with. The world, while I hope someday gets expanded (maybe it has?) is well spanned for the plot. A great read!!
 Rogue
May 11, 2009 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
...more
La Coccinelle
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I purchased Fairest as part of The Enchanted Collection (boxed set). I knew that it was based on the story of Snow White, but that was about all I knew. The story does follow along the expected path, but there are certain unique twists that make this version worth reading.

Aza is an interesting character, especially in this context, as she is not pretty (as one would expect the Snow White character to be). She's tall, wide, has "pulpy cheeks", and tends to blush when she's shy or embarrassed (whi
...more
Jessica
Jan 27, 2012 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
HeavyReader
Dec 18, 2008 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
...more
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!!
Deborah
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Snow White was never a favorite fairytale for me. It still isn't. But... Oh! This book was awesome!! Mrs. Levine takes every liberty you possibly can use with fantasy and brings it to a whole new level. The creativeness is pure genius. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole book and that ending... Oh wow.

On a note of caution though, there were a lot of things I was uncomfortable with, but I felt that since it is fantasy that gives enough liberty to the make believe.
Colleen Houck
An interesting twist on the Snow White fairy tale.
Kanely Lemke
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book over 10 years ago when I was still in elementary school. I couldn’t remember why it was a favorite of mine, but the fondness I felt for the book made me pick it up again. The themes now seem overt and simplistic, but honestly I can’t bring myself to care. I loved it then and I thoroughly enjoy it still.
Katherine Varga
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I adored Gail Carson Levine as a kid, but had never read this one. This is set in the same world as Ella Enchanted and felt very true to Levine's voice, but had some new world-building I really enjoyed, like the culture built around singing. I found Ava's obsession with being beautiful a bit tedious, but appropriate within the Snow White context. Thanks GCL for making me feel like a 10 year old book lover again!
Emma
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-chap, lis-565
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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7,909 followers
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

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