Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine: Aza is not a pretty girl. She is tall and stout with a chalky complexion and black hair. However, in a kingdom where people sing as often as speak, her voice is the loveliest in the land. When a duchess stays at her parents’ inn and invites her to accompany her to the king’s wedding, Aza’s life is turned upside down. Before she knows it, the new queen has asked her to be her lady-in-waiting, and a budding friendship begins with the king’s nephew, Prince Ijori. This take on the classic tale of Snow White is charming and engrossing; I couldn’t wait to see what happens next. Aza is introspective and clever, always at odds with her appearance. I laughed in several places, and the ending found me with a big silly grin on my face. Definitely recommended to lovers of fairy tales.

A note on the audio version: There is a lot of singing in this book, and the audio version actually includes a large amount of original music. Aza’s soprano voice is lovely. Many of the songs are similar, and several are slower than I would have expected them, but it’s all pleasant to hear. My favorite songs were those sung by Frying Pan, though Ijori’s tune at the Healing Sing was hauntingly beautiful. I’m glad I listened to this book instead of just reading it, as the lyrics would have come across as far more dull as poetry. The melodies really added to the emotion of the scene.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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