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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 ueen 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 exuisite she truly isAges 8 14

10 thoughts on “Fairest

  1. says:

    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 todayFirst 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 two characters so you can see how one in coming to accept herself as she is finds happiness and bestows grace on those around her and how the other in hating herself and trying to be other than what she is ends up destroying the kingdom Women are so good at obsessing over their weaknesses an extra ten pounds a lower grade in math than someone else etc What is interesting about this story is that Aza the heroine has one of the best singing voices in the kingdom but thinks and worries about her ugly face She gets to the point where she will do almost anything to be beautiful She finds her appearance so offensive that she believes that she causes pain to anyone who has to look at herBut another character Ivi is so obsessed with the idea of beauty that she actually does begin to destroy people in order to appear to the best advantage Her pursuit to correct her one weakness begins to cause major problems in her life and those of othersWe are constantly distracted by the idea that our external weaknesseses hold us back from true happiness; when really it is the inability to accept our imperfection that is the bane of our existance Why is it easier to notice and worry over an extra five pounds when the real problem is a dissatisfaction with ourselves and a belief that if we were other than what we are in every respect things would be better? Levine poignantly portrays the incredible harmfulness of envy and shows how hatred of self can come to destroy our worlds if we let it

  2. says:

    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 different Superficially Aza is tall wide has dark hair and white skin I'm short small blond and tan easily Also she has an amazing singing voice I can't sing to save my life Small things like this could be overlooked if she had some mental or personality characteristic I could identify with or get to like But she doesn't She starts off by being socially awkward lying to everyone and allowing herself to be pushed around I HATE it when main characters are this stupid And the prince falling for her right away is totally not even believable I'm sorry but people don't fall in what is apparently love at first sight with people who are physically unattractive and especially men do not do this Maybe he could have come to be attracted to her with time and as he got to know her but with the way this story is set up I'm finding it very hard to suspend my disbelief for the entire length of itAnyway the idea of a country where everyone sings instead of speaks as often as possible and birds fly around in the halls and make messes on people seemed pretty ridiculous to me And to sum it up that was the impression this story left on me If I had to choose one word to describe it it would be just that ridiculous I generously gave it two stars because there are probably some young girls who would enjoy the fairy tale aspect despite all the cheesy and irritating elements

  3. says:

    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 horribleThe book staggered under one major inconsistency the main character is horribly ugly but the prince falls in love with her very uickly anyway Hopelessly romantic? Perhaps But I call it an inconsistency because Aza was not only unlovely but almost unlovable Many wonderful heroines are not particularly beautiful Jane Eyre Jo March Anne Shirley Princess Amy etc but they have wit strength courage charm or passion that makes them remarkable Aza had none of these she was whiny miserable thoughtless and full of self loathing throughout the entire bookAlso the prince likes her almost immediately before he has any chance to get to know her this would suggest to me that either the prince has horrible taste in looks or that Aza really isn't as ugly as she constantly tells us she is which would only make her whining all the exasperating Her amazing voice and ability to compose music are impressive to him I suppose and her ability to make him laugh was apparently importantbut he lives in Ayortha where almost everyone sings and composes well and he was called merry smiling and laughing long before Aza captured his heart Even knowing that she deceived him he falls for the ugly wet blanket She was never clever except in her skill at singing She didn't do anything smart and certainly didn't act brave Her sister says she is kind but we never see her acting like it What on earth is there to like about her? Her characterization in my opinion ruined the entire bookThere were other problems as well Couldn't Levine have come up with a realistic antagonist thanLucinda? Of course everyone who read Ella Enchanted dislikes her already it was so much easier to use her than to actually design a characterization for someone who would hand out such a dangerous gift at weddings Unfortunately it didn't fit her character at all Lucinda loves attention and admiration she would never visit the bride alone and give the gifts with absolutely no ceremony or a huge crowd of people around; and why would she give a potion of disguise to someone she was making beautiful? and it even discredits her change of heart that comes at the end of Ella It was a total cop outLast of all it was predictable Not just in the way that all fairy tales are rather predictable but in the way that makes the book really boring because the main character is being such a blind fool predictable Besides the fact that it was clean there is nothing in this book to recommend

  4. says:

    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 uniue 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 there are no total makeovers done in the character despite her imperfect physical characteristics

  5. says:

    It was really hard for me to decide between 4 and 5 stars I wish I could give it 4 12Fairest 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 wayIt'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 give 4 starsor even less The story is about a girl named Aza who is found as a baby by owners of an inn She is different looking than everyone else around her and she finds herself very ugly Think Snow White's appearance but in a world that doesn't appreciate that asthetic She also lives in a world that loves singing Singing for any reason and sometimes no reason At this she excels and in fact discovers she has a gift of throwing her singing voice A dame visiting the inn decides to take Aza to the castle to be her lady in waiting She's going to the castle because the King is getting married to an out of towner who can't sing When the new ueen discovers Aza's gift of throwing her singing voice she hires her as her lady in waiting and binds them together with a secretwhether Aza likes it or not As long as that took to describe that's only about the first 50 or so pages Sounds nothing like Snow White right? Whereas Ella Enchanted was so brilliant because it answered a uestion that Cinderella left in a totally plausible way ie why does Cinderella humble herself by working as a servant for her evil mother in law? Because she has to do what anyone commands her to That just makes sense But in this story ah The story Snow White is the way it is because she can throw her singing voice??? It didn't fit in the traditional story and didn't add anything to it I would have prefered if Fairest had been an original story rather than trying to be a retelling of Snow White The connection to the classic story made this story worse whereas the connection to Cinderella made Ella Enchanted betterAnother reason that I wanted to give it less than 5 stars is because there are a lot of songs in the book It's a world that loves singing and the author made up songs for itbut most of them are just STRANGE Due to my years of choir experience I tried to figure out their melody as I read them but the number of syllables changed constantly so that was impossible In addition to that the lyrics of most of the songs are very weirdAs for why I wanted to give it than 4 starsit's just a great enjoyable read It was great being in Ella Enchanted's world again I didn't want to stop reading It was a great romance very adventurous funny a good sense of character and after I finished I wished there was All the signs of a good book which is why I'm torn

  6. says:

    Snow White but so much 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 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 uestion what is beauty? What is friendship? What is love? What is happiness? And they ask these uestions in a way that makes you see the story as if there was a fun house mirror but it has been taken away Aza has a beautiful voice and a beautiful spirit but physically she is nothing to be admired She gets swept away from the Inn of those who raised her to the castle and there meets the beautiful new ueen who is her polar opposite only attractive on the outside or so it seems The prince has ears that are too big and a saucy hound by the name of Oochoo In this tale of magic and mystery things are not hardly ever as they seem they are never as they seem

  7. says:

    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 ueen is not jealous of her beauty Aza's most praised uality 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 an emphasis on beauty and it was nice to see that subverted VERDICT Gail Carson Levine's retellings are truly so amazing and I'm so glad I read these as a kid Definitely recommended to preteens although maybe not uite as much as Ella Enchanted

  8. says:

    Once I started to read this I couldn’t stop it took me two days to read it and it was good Fairest by Gail Carson Levine is a Fiction book and is told in first person Fairy Lucinda has done it again but instead of having a gift to obey like in Ella Enchanted this time it’s a magic mirror Ever since Aza was left on her adoptive parents' doorstep as a baby she's been a mystery She is plain looking with large bones pale white skin ruby red lips a big sphere of a face and round button eyes For all this though she makes up with a beautiful even magical voice In the kingdom of Ayortha music and singing are prized among all other gifts sometimes they sing for no reason which I didn’t get and Aza has the most beautiful voice in her whole region What Aza has that all other Ayorthaians don’t have is the gift of illusing of throwing one's voice and mimicking the song or speech of almost any other person which she invented by starting to hiccup Growing up in a happy caring family and helping to run the family's Featherbed Inn Aza wants to be beautiful Through a series of events Aza is chosen to go with a duchess to the marriage of King Oscaro to a foreign princess her uiet life will change forever Shortly after Aza arrives King Oscaro becomes injured ny getting hit by an iron ring making his teenaged bride the ruler of Ayortha When ueen Ivi becomes aware of Aza's power of illusing she secretly tells Aza to use her voice when Ivi who can't sing must perform at the high profile courtly Sings Soon Ivi directed by some mysterious advisor lets her power of being ueen go to her head as she abuses her crown and takes away many Ayorthaian rights and privileges Anyway Aza falls in love with the Prince Ijori and Prince Ijori falls in love with het too not caring that she is ugly I soon found out that the magic mirror made ueen Ivi prettier but she was already pretty At the end ueen Ivi is exiled from her crown and Prince Ijori and Aza get marriend and live happily ever after The author’s purpose in this book was to send a message about the value of inner beauty and that it shouldn’t matter what somebody looks on the outside and also to entertain us in another Great book by Levine This book is supposed to be like Snow White but interesting It’s also romantic which I like I am a great Gail Carson Levine fan for her books So you would already know that I like this book I would recommend this book to anyone definitely because its just good if you have read Ella Enchanted you can see that these to books are great and interesting Like a lot of fairy tale books I read I like then end because good always wins and they live happily ever after like in this book and almost in every other fairy tale book I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars because once I started to read it I couldn’t stop even at school in classes the teachers would tell me to put it up It kept me entertained just like Ella Enchanted did

  9. says:

    I don't hate myself enough to continue to read this book Going to find something else to fit the A Grimm Tale suare 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 around her She apparently has a fantastic singing voice she can throw and bah I just don't careAza is a foundling in the kingdom of Ayortha Apparently being beautiful and being able to sing are the only things people care about Aza is tall has dark hair pale skin and red lips and is therefore ugly I am playing the world's smallest violin Her family hides her away in the tavern not really she acts like a fool if anyone sees her and most people don't seem to care and or know her until a Duchess needs Aza to accompany her to the royal wedding So even though Aza is so ugly that she can make death die she is still invited as companion this made zero sense to me and I don't care enough to fixate on it Aza goes to court and of course the new ueen has zeroed in on herThe writing is repetitive and I loathed all the songs Maybe I hate happiness? Who knows I think the main thing is that there is barely any character development to Aza and zero to everyone else I just didn't have the energy to completely finish a book I knew I was going to be lukewarm about

  10. says:

    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 uite 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