Review- Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

fairest book cover

I enjoyed Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, I was looking forward to reading her other book, Fairest. This book is in the same magical world as Ella Enchanted, but it tells a different story with new people in it. Fairest is a beautiful book because it gives you a new way to see the world that Levine created. It’s not just a repeat of her earlier book; it has its own unique story and characters.

Fairest is a new take on the classic Snow White story, but it’s told in a special way by the author, Gail Carson Levine. The main character is Aza, who is different from the usual Snow White because she isn’t considered beautiful on the outside. In fact, Aza often feels bad about how she looks, and other people in the story make fun of her for it. But, Aza has an amazing talent – she has a beautiful singing voice. She can also do something magical called illusing, which means she can make her voice sound like it’s coming from somewhere else. This magical singing ability is a really important part of the story and makes things interesting as the book goes on.

Just like in Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine’s writing in Fairest is good and easy to get into. She’s great at making characters that readers can understand and feel for. Aza, the main character, has a hard time feeling good about herself and being confident, which is something a lot of people can relate to. The book talks a lot about what it means to be beautiful and how to feel good about who you are. These are big ideas, especially for young readers. Levine writes about these ideas in a way that’s thoughtful and smart, and she never sounds like she’s just giving a lecture. Her way of discussing these themes is gentle and makes you think.

The way Gail Carson Levine creates the story’s world is noteworthy. She expands on the universe introduced in Ella Enchanted, adding more details and depth. The story unfolds in Ayortha, a kingdom where beauty and music are highly valued, aligning well with Aza’s personal journey. The unique aspects of Ayortha’s culture enrich the narrative, enhancing the reader’s immersion into Aza’s world.

Compared to Ella Enchanted, Fairest isn’t quite as fast-moving or exciting. Ella Enchanted took the Cinderella story and changed it in many exciting ways, but Faires sticks closer to the original Snow White story, making it easier to guess what will happen next. This doesn’t mean Fairest isn’t a good story – it’s still interesting to read. However, people who are hoping for lots of new and surprising elements, like in Ella Enchanted, might feel that Fairest doesn’t have as many surprises or fresh ideas.

The characters around the main story are made with care, and each one helps to make the story richer. The way Aza and Prince Ijori’s friendship grows into something more is nice and feels real, but it doesn’t have the same special feeling as the relationship in Ella Enchanted. The bad character in the story, Queen Ivi, is very full of herself and can be quite scary. However, sometimes her character doesn’t seem to have many different sides and can seem a bit simple.

I think Fairest does a good job of following up Ella Enchanted. It might not be as original or as thrilling as the first book, but it still stands out. It has a main character who’s different from what we usually see, it makes you think deeply about important topics, and the world it creates is detailed and interesting. For those who like Gail Carson Levine’s stories, it’s a fun book to read. Also, it’s a strong choice for young readers who enjoy fantasy stories.

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