choco_princess, July 31, 2007 (view all comments by choco_princess)
I absolutley adored this book. It's about a girl named Aza who just hates herself. She lives in a land where everyone sings all the time. Aza has the best voice in the land, but that's not the problem. The problem is that she has a hideous face. She grew up with adoptive parents since her real ones abandoned her when she was just a baby. One day, Aza learns that she can make regular objects like bowls and staues sing and say things with her mind, a skill she calls illusing. Years later she goes to the king's wedding as the companion substitute for a duchess. There she becomes friends with the King's new wife, who is very pretty in looks, but not in voice, and becomes her lady in waiting. Aza is really happy, until the new queen threatens to do terrible things to her and her family if Aza doesn't illuse for her at the upcoming Sing so it sounds like she has a beautiful voice. Now Aza is trapped in a box, and can't turn to anyone for help, not even her new friend, the prince, without putting her family in danger.
Fairest is a very good book. If you like fairy tales with romance, evil mirrors, queens, ill kings, gnomes, ogres, and ugly maidens, then this is the book for you!
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mimagirl, August 23, 2006 (view all comments by mimagirl)
In a country where singing is as everyday as talking, Aza is blessed to have a beautiful voice . . . but she is not equally blessed with good looks. When she travels to the King's wedding she is afraid everyone will shun her because of her ugliness. Therefore she is pleasantly surprised when she is befriended not only by the Prince but the new Queen herself! But what if those people are not what they seem - or look - to be? What if she herself is not what she always thought? Before she knows it, Aza has delved deep into the intrigues of the court . . . perhaps too deep to stay alive.
I had a wonderful time reading this romping fairytale by the author of Ella Enchanted. One part that disappointed me was that the romance wasn't as charming or well played out as the one in Ella Enchanted. Nevertheless it was full of rich descriptions, colorful characters and an engaging plot.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In an alluring companion novel that some readers may argue even surpasses Ella Enchanted, Levine gives a visionary rendering of the Snow White tale that challenges conventional ideas of beauty. Fifteen-year-old narrator Aza is anything but pretty. In fact, she is so unsightly that her loving innkeeper parents (who found Aza abandoned as a baby) keep her hidden from most of their guests. However, Aza possesses two special gifts and when, through a series of events, she winds up in the royal court, her talents draw notice. She has a stunning singing voice (something prized among her fellow Ayorthaians), and she has the ability to throw her voice, so that it appears that someone else is singing (a talent that comes in handy when the vocally challenged queen is asked to sing in public). After Aza is made lady-in-waiting, she discovers a magic mirror that has the power to make her the fairest in the land. But becoming a raving beauty brings more heartache than joy — and could even cost Aza her life. Readers will instantly fall in love with the heroine, whose heart proves to be as warm as her voice. They will eagerly follow Aza's circuitous journey, one that leads to a tribe of gnomes (who may be distant relatives), lures Aza into a deadly trap and eventually brings her back to court, where she reunites with the man she adores, a prince who recognizes her inner beauty. Ages 8-14." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[F]airy-tale romance...remarkable characters, and...wild, magical adventures."
by School Library Journal,
"The plot is fast-paced, and Aza's growth and maturity are well crafted and believable."
From critically acclaimed author Levine comes Fairest, a spellbinding retelling of Snow White set in the same magical world as Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted.
A reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from a master storyteller
Gorse is the thirteenth and youngest in a family of fairies tied to the evil king's land and made to do his bidding. Because of an oath made to the king's great-great-ever-so-many-times-great-grandfather, if they try to leave or disobey the royals, they will burst into a thousand stars.
When accident-prone Gorse falls ill just as the family is bid to bless the new princess, a fairytale starts to unfold. Sick as she is, Gorse races to the castle with the last piece of magic the family has left--a piece of the Thread of Life. But that is when accident, mayhem, and magic combine to drive Gorse's story into the unthinkable, threatening the baby, the kingdom, and all.
With her trademark depth, grace, and humor, Jane Yolen tells readers the "true" story of the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty.
by Harper Collins,
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.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.