Now 2023 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special by James Sturm
Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
Amulet 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi
Angels by Marian Keyes
Arthur's Nose by Marc Brown
Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel
Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Bog Baby by Jean Willis
Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix by Graham Salisbury
Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss
Disappearing Desmond by Anna Alter
Emily the Strange: Lost Days by Rob Reger
Everything on a Waffle (audio) by Polly Horvath
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
Fullmetal Alchemist 17 by Hiromu Arakawa
I'm Going to Grandma's by Mary Ann Hoberman
Maggie's Monkeys by Linda Sanders-Wells
Mooshka, A Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear and illustrated by Anne Mortimer
Soul Eater 01 by Atsushi Ohkubo
Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Spork by Kyo Maclear
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 03 by CLAMP
Twin Spica 06 by Kou Yaginuma
Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker
xxxHolic 10 by CLAMP

What Am I Reading
July 02, 2012
July 09, 2012
July 16, 2012
July 23, 2012
July 30, 2012

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2023

Canadian Book Challenge: 2022-2023

Chicken Art

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Fairest 07/23/12

cover art

Bear with me if this ends up being a somewhat rambling review. I both read and listened to Fairest by Gail Carson Levine over the course of a weekend car trip.

Fairest is a tween fantasy inspired by Snow White but that connection only becomes obvious in the final third of the story. Aza is a foundling, raised by innkeepers of the Feather Bed. In the kingdom of Ayortha, beauty in voice and body are prized above all else. While Aza can sing better than anyone she knows, she is too tall, too wide, too plain of face and too clumsy. As she hones her singing skills, she learns how to throw her voice, or as she calls it, illuse.

Aza's self-esteem therefore isn't great. It gets put the ultimate test, though, when circumstances beyond her control take her to castle for a royal wedding. When the king is injured, leaving his new queen in charge, Aza finds her stay extended for the foreseeable future.

Queen Ivi, the young commoner with unusual beauty but a terrible singing voice, stands in for the wicked stepmother queen. Aza with her hair too black, her skin to pale and her lips too red, stands in for Snow White. Ivi's, though, isn't driven by an insane desire to be the "fairest one of all" even if that's what's expected of her. Her actions are driven more by her immaturity and homesickness, making her both a more interesting and more dangerous character.

As Ayortha prizes singing, there's frequent mention of singing, including characters randomly breaking out in song mid sentence when the mood strikes. In the print form, these moments of song are rendered as short lines of poetry — the longest one taking maybe three quarters of a page. In the Full Cast Audio version, these songs can add upwards of five minutes to a page that would otherwise take a minute or two to read. As I was reading it on my own at night and listening to it in the car, these inflated areas were more noticeable than they would otherwise be.

Four stars

Comments (0)


Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2023 Sarah Sammis