Fairest: Gail Carson Levine

That is not how I imagine Aza looking pre or post makeover.

General Summary: Aza has always been a bit of an outcast with her pale complexion, dark hair, and solid figure.  However, despite the fact she’s no beauty queen Aza has a voice that dazzles.  That gives her a chance to have a life she never imagined.


I really wanted to love this.

To be honest, Gail Carson Levine was one of my favorite authors as a kid.  Ella Enchanted is still easily in my top ten reads.  The characters are great, the take on Cinderella is great (she actually makes that fairytale  about a pushover make sense).  One of the main reasons I haven’t picked up a book of hers in years is well because of this movie.

Yeah, Ella Enchanted.  Blockbuster disaster that caused Ann Hathaway to reevaluate her career and its only redeeming feature is that Hugh Dancy was hot in it (might do a movie review of that one later on, we’ll see).

So, that turned me off of Levine.  Until I made my list about bad movie/bad YA book comparisons a week ago and I saw Fairest at my library and being the naive idiot I am I picked it up.

This really isn’t a bad book.  I’ll say that now.  It’s not great either.  It’s just average.  And normally that wouldn’t be such a bad thing but….but…Ella Enchanted.

So, let’s talk about what this book had going for it.  I liked the fact that Aza was not an attractive character throughout eighty percent of the story.  That was a nice change.  But I hated the fact she wanted to be pretty for a good chunk of the book as well.  Girl had a prince liking her.  That should’ve been enough, but nope she still is like oh woo is me I’m ugly.  And since she had a prince going at her, you really had to wonder how ugly she was.  And she had that gorgeous singing voice.

Honestly, she just complained a lot.

I also like the fact that Levine uses the world she created in Ella Enchanted, but  honestly the whole singing thing in Ayortha annoyed me.  I’m sure they’re really nice lyrics put to song.  But I just don’t want to read song lyrics.  It annoys me.  I think I skipped like about ten percent of the book because of that.

Also, the plot was weak.  As I’ll mention later on the Snow White stuff didn’t happen till the last third of the book.  And while that part of the book might’ve been in a way the best thing about it, in a way it was the worst part about it.  It just didn’t work.  The plot really didn’t work as well.  Seriously, Lucinda.  She should’ve been kept to Ella Enchanted her story was over there.  And well I guess I really shouldn’t expect much of the plot because the characters, the characters.

They were weak beyond words.  I already bitched a little about Aza, but the rest of the cast wasn’t better.  She falls in love with a guy who’s hardly Char.  All I really know about him besides the fact he has a name I can’t pronounce and have to look up to spell, Ijori, is that he has big ears.  Some of the best parts of this book’s predecessor was the development between the relationship of Char and Ella.  Here.  Here it doesn’t work.

Best Feature: Um, Snow White retelling.  I like the idea of a Snow White retelling.  But this really wasn’t that direct of a retelling-until the last hundred pages which just seemed rushed.  I’ll be honest, I think Snow White is one of those stories where justice is never due.  The original fairytale version is so deliciously dark.  And I guess I like the Disney movie enough, but it takes out some of this darkness and I know Walt  hand picked the girl who did Snow White’s voice but God it irritates me.  I can’t watch the movie often because of that.  Okay, back to the book.  Yeah, as a Snow White adaption it doesn’t really work.  And I know it’s the best feature of this book, but it’s what drew me towards the book.  But the extra Snow White parts are pretty weak and not in an okay way like how Marissa Meyer brilliantly loosely adapts fairytales to her Lunar Chronicles series.

Worst Feature: Book Musical.  Maybe it’s just me, but I hate reading songs.  It reminds me of those stupid song fics you’d see popping all over the place on fanfiction.net or High School Musical and I hate High School Musical.  Of course, I’m sure these songs were better written than songs about basketball, but I really don’t care.  I skipped them.  If I wanted broadway, I’d go to a broadway show.

Appropriateness: It’s not that bad.  Pretty PG.  Nothing really major or inappropriate that I can think of. Well, I take that back.  Aza’s whole attitude towards her self image was disturbing, but after What the Spell Aza’s self image problem isn’t that bad…well, I guess you can sort of make an argument for that.

Blockbuster Worthy: Um, no.  Levine’s books can never be touched by Hollywood again.  And honestly, this would be a weird movie.  It would have to be a musical, but I honestly don’t really care to see how Disney or whoever would butcher it up.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it five out of ten crowns.  This one isn’t terrible, but it’s Gail Carson Levine.  It should be awesome.  I was really disappointed with this one and I came up with a song about it…um, no I didn’t.  No more songs.  No more songs…….


3 thoughts on “Fairest: Gail Carson Levine

  1. *hugs*I never got around reading this one. The thing is that I really love Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamare (which makes me CRY each time I Read it) but I just never felt the pull toward her other books. Fairiest in particular, just nope… I tend to get very annoyed at girls who just want to be pretty.

  2. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. But I've been on a roll of bad books lately so I might not be the best to judge. I think what drew me towards this one was that it was a Snow White telling. I love the original fairytale which is deliciously dark-though Snow is still sort of a wimp. Calling it a Snow White retelling was sort of insulting.

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