Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

4 of 4 for the Once Upon a Time II Challenge

Gail Caron Levine's clever retelling of Snow White was not what I expected. Mainly, this is because the Snow White character is NOT lovely. At all. She has many lovely qualities (she sings like a maniac, she's kind to dogs and handsome princes...) but beauty is not one of them. And throughout this version of the fairy tale, we not only get a unique version of the familiar tale (studded with ogres, gnomes, crazy spiders living in mirrors and tragic ring tossing accidents) but we get to spend some time thinking about what beauty REALLY is.

Aza (aka Snow White) spends this story looking inside and outside herself, trying to find worth beyond her appearance. For me, there was almost TOO much angst about how "ugly" she was, but I once I remembered that she was a teenager, I was able to let it go and still really enjoy the story. I loved the romance threaded throughout and even though I knew how it would end, I liked how Levine tied it up. If you are a fan of Ella Enchanted, you'll love this one too

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