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Paperback Fairest Book

ISBN: 0060734108

ISBN13: 9780060734107


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty . . . Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

A Twist on Snow White

Fairest is a retelling of Snow White. Many twists have been made, such as gnomes instead of dwarfs, the girl not being related to the queen, the king being alive, and the girl truly falling in love with the prince, instead of getting a glance at a man and deciding to marry him. We all know the original, so it's great to read something with a little spice added. There is some kissing, but nothing inappropriate or violent. If there was a little less of the kissing, I'd enjoy it more. This is my favorite of Gail Carson Levine's books! I give it five stars.

The 'Fairest' 'Snow White' retelling in years

Most babies are born crying. Fifteen-year-old Aza, however, wasn't like most babies. Aza was born singing. A beautiful song, in a clear voice; yet still a peculiar way to announce yourself to the world. Perhaps that's why she has no idea whom her true birth parents are. Abandoned at the Featherbed Inn when she was a mere one month old, Aza has thanked her lucky stars each and every day that the Featherbed's proprietors were so welcoming, and took the little bundle of joy into their home, claiming her as their very own. Of course, it's quite obvious that Aza isn't their child by birth. After all, her introduction into the world isn't the only thing strange about her. Quite the opposite, in fact. Aza has skin as white as snow, lips as red as cherries, hair as dark as night, and a build that would frighten even an ogre. While her so-called parents and siblings are all fair and frail. Aza can't stand the rude looks she receives from everyone who stays within the confines of the Featherbed, and does what she can to make herself scarce when guests arrive. However, there are those whom she can't resist, such as a gnome named zhamM, and a Duchess with a flair for fashion, and a soft spot for felines. It is this Duchess who takes Aza away from her home at the Featherbed Inn, and brings her to the Kingdom of Ayortha, where she will see the King marry his new Queen, Ivi. The new Queen at just nineteen-years-old - a mere four years older than Aza herself - is the most lovely, breathtaking individual Aza has ever laid eyes upon. Her skin is beautiful, her hair long and flowing. Aza would give anything to have the face of Ivi. But there is one thing that Aza has, which Ivi wants more than anything...the gift of song. In the Kingdom of Ayortha, singing is the most important thing to do. Some sing full conversations, and one of the activities within Ayortha is writing your own songs, then sharing them with the Kingdom at scheduled Sings, which the royal family attends religiously. Ivi, not having the perfect voice, envies Aza's powerhouse vocals, and proposes a deal. She will make Aza her lady-in-waiting if Aza agrees to illuse - the title that Aza has given her ability to throw her voice. Aza is hesitant to comply with the Queen, but when her family's life and the Featherbed Inn are threatened, she can't refuse. Besides, if she were to leave the Kingdom of Ayortha, she would never have the chance to see the handsome Prince Ijori, and his faithful canine, Oochoo. Aza can't stand tricking the Kingdom day in and day out, but she knows that she must do so to protect her family. But the longer she works by Ivi's side, the more she begins to realize that something is not quite right. Ivi is in possession of an enchanted mirror - a wedding gift from the mixed-up fairy, Lucinda. The enchanted mirror shows a beautiful individual - the one thing Aza has always craved. And, as much as she works to avoid looking into its powerful glass, she can't resist. But as people begi

Another great book from a great author

For fans of Gail Carson Levine's other fantasy novels (Ella Enchanted, Two Princesses of Bamarre), her newest, Fairest, will not disappoint. Fairest is the story of the teenager Aza, who feels ugly and awkward in a land where beauty and song are prized above other qualities. While she has the most beautiful voice in the country, she is somewhat lacking in the beauty department. Through her association with a noblewoman who frequents her family's inn, Aza is invited to the royal palace for the wedding between the king and his bride, a commoner from another country. It is at the palace that she enchants the crown prince and is blackmailed into being the voice of the new queen, who cannot sing and will do anything to be the most beautiful and beloved person in the land. Fairest contains echoes of the Snow White fairy tale, but is a unique story of its own. Levine is great at painting strong heroines, and creates a likeable and witty character in Aza. Aza grows through her trials and triumphs at the palace, as well as discovering for herself firsthand the pitfalls and advantages of being beautiful. Although she is horribly misjudged by others, she maintains a good heart and seeks to help others, even those who have betrayed her. In direct contrast to Aza is Queen Ivi, whose jealous and insecure nature is the catalyst for most of the bad events in the story. While Ivi does act horribly throughout most of the story, Levine creates a villian that readers will sympathize with. You despise her actions, but you understand her motivation behind them - much like real life, where people are not black-and-white good or bad. This makes Fairest a good choice for older readers, but it will still provide good discussion for younger readers. Another great story by one of my favorite authors. I hope Levine keeps writing for a long time!

Indeed, the "fairest of them all"

Aza ins't just plain; she's plain ugly. In a land where song, grace, and beauty are prized, Aza's large stature, not just in height but also breadth, are deemed appalling and overshadow her amazing abilities in singing. Abandoned at the Featherbed Inn as a newborn, she is lovingly raised by her foster family. But their love can't overcome the low self-esteem Aza develops because of how other people treat her. When an unexpected chance to travel to court for a royal wedding comes, Aza is hesitant but goes to help her family. There, she is "befriended" by the new queen, Ivi, who is selfish and self-absorbed. Soon after the wedding, the king is severely injured and Ivi is claimed ruler in his place. Forcing Aza to use her unusual ability to project her voice for her own gains, the queen quickly becomes a dictator that threatens Aza's honor, her tenuous relationship with Prince Ijori (the king's nephew and heir), and the country in general. Can Aza overcome her own lack of self-assurance to save herself and her land? Very loosely based on Snow White, _Fairest_ is filled with all of the insightful and humorous writing that made _Ella Enchanted_ so delightful and is sure to quickly become a hit with readers of all ages. Also recommended: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Ella Enchanted, the Septemus Heap series, books by Shannon Hale

I was her Lark.

"You are not my advisor". I was her lark. Aza was born singing. In fact in the land of Ayorthaian village of Amonta Aza means lark. The thing is Aza was born in an inn, by a woman who smuggled herself in and out, leaving Aza behind with the innkeepers. When the woman abandoned her the innkeepers took her in as one of their own. Now Aza lives with Ollo, Yarry, and Areida (whom readers may recognize from "Ella Enchanted"). Aza grows up quite the songbird, but the problem is that she is unattractive. Her cheeks are far to chubby, her skin far too pale, her lips far to blood red, her hair far too black. To top that off she has proportions quite unbecoming to a young woman, her shoulders and neck are too wide, and her height is far from diminutive. She manages her ego until she becomes a young woman of 15, but by then people's stares and rude comments are too much for her and she has developed many quirks to help hide her ugliness. She also has a peculiar gift that she calls illusing. This allows her to throw her voice at various objects and not move her lips. Being an excellent mimic also lends itself well to illusing, as she is able to convince people it was not her whose voice It was. When she befriends duchess Olixo who frequents the inn she suddenly sees a chance to visit Ontio Castle, where King Oscaro is planning to wed Lady Ivi, a Kyrrian woman of 19 and incredible beauty. Garbed in the hideous castoffs of the Duchess' Aza enters into court as a companion, but quickly befriends Ivi after an accident involving the King renders him near comatose and is elevated to the status of a lady in waiting. She agrees to take this position as a means of providing much needed funds for her family as well as a chance to be near the Prince Ijori. The rub of the matter is that Ivi knows about Aza's talent for illusing and, being a poor singer herself, forces Aza to provide her voice for her at the court's many sings. Aza feels dirty and used, but her developing friendship with the prince encourages her to keep up the charade. Also there is a certain mirror that Ivi has in her possession that has shown Aza what it would be like to be beautiful, and the lure of that vision is far to great for her to resist. What's an unattractive girl to do? Readers will appreciate the premise of "Fairest", as it is based off of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". It is also se in the neighboring land of Ayortha, neighbor of course to Frell, whom we all remember from Levine`s Newbery Honor work "Ella Enchanted". This book is a sequel in a very loose sense that the story is set in the same world, but not about all of the same characters. While Areida, who was Ella's best friend, is present she is hardly ever written about, and Ella is only mentioned once towards the very end of the book. Aza, however, is a character worthy of Levine's ability. Whereas Ella found strength in defiance, Aza finds strength in her talent, as uses it to her quiet advantage. The thing I lik

Snow White with a Head on her Shoulders

Aza is so ugly that she was abandoned as a baby. Fortunately, the innkeepers who found her on their doorstep took her in as their daughter. Teasing and stares aside, she has grown into a beloved member of her family. Aza's life changes when a special talent catches the new queen's eye. Asked to be the queen's lady-in-waiting, Aza is thrilled--until she learns the price she must pay. Trapped in a deal she dare not break, Aza will face love and danger, and a chance to gain the beauty she always wished she had. In order to find her way, Aza will risk everything she has, and more. Levine has created a fresh interpretation to the Snow White story. Set in the world of ELLA ENCHANTED, FAIREST introduces us to a young heroine who is forced to rely on her talents and wit where other girls would use their pretty faces. Aza is strong, yet fallible, as she embarks on an adventure beyond anything she ever imagined. Her character is wonderfully realized within Levine's vivid world. FAIREST provides girls and young women a strong message of self-worth. As they say, beauty is skin (or voice) deep. It is a person's character that counts, and girls are perfectly capable of handling their own problems--or accepting help when they need it. Aza does both in this story. She learns to stand up for herself and what's right, but she also finds out when it's wise to let others help. As great as this novel is, the ending is wrapped up a little too neat. The villain of the story doesn't seem to get the sort of punishment that they seem to deserve, although this is an issue discussed at one point. Some other loose ends are left dangling at the end of the book, but perhaps this is a lead-in to more modern fairy tales. I highly recommend this book for girls aged eight and up. In a world where "thin is in" and looks count, this is a super way to reinforce the importance of valuing the individual. Everyone has something special to offer, as long as we're willing to get to know them. Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer 9/17/2006
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