Between binge watching the first two seasons of Once Upon A Time and being stuck in the children's room at the library every Thursday morning for story time, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the middle grade retelling of fairy tales books with their tempting covers. This past Thursday, I gave in and picked up this book. I have not yet read Ella Enchanted, but after reading this book I will remedy that this summer.
Fairest is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, but with more than enough differences to make the story its own world. I liked Prince Ijori (love interest, but it was a slow understated love story) and Aza (our heroine) and her family. There were many fantastical elements, but the story was rooted, so there was no WTF moments. The story was based on Aza's decisions and actions, rather than a series of obstacles for her to be saved from - Aza was her own rescuer (and that of the kingdom, so go girl!). The Gnomes were great as well, and used appropriately throughout the story to info dump without it seeming as if they were info dumping.
I took one and half stars off the rating because our "villain" (dude in the mirror) did not get much page time until the climax of the story and he was not punished....just disappeared after being defeated by Aza. The villainess, Queen Ivi, was not punished either; rather the King (her hubby) forgave her and then exiled her and himself to let Prince and Aza rule the kingdom. After all the evil things she did at court and personally to Aza, this was a let down. The King and Queen's relationship also disgusted me; he was 41 years old and served as king for the last 17 years, she was 19 and not in any way mature enough to handle life at the court. The lack of punishment for almost restarting a civil war/rebellion and leaving drought victims to fend for themselves irked me.
I really like what Ms. Levine does to the story of Snow White and want to read more of her versions of fairy tales. Plus, this random library pick gave me another category filler for the pop sugar reading challenge. 3.5 stars.