Fairest of All
Author: Serena Valentino
Publisher: Disney Press
Published: August 18th 2009
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The tale of the young princess and her evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen, is widely known. Despite a few variations from telling to telling, the story remains the same—the Queen was jealous of the girl’s beauty, and this jealousy culminated in the Queen’s attempt on the sweet, naive girl’s life.
Another tale far less often spoken of is the one that explains what caused the Queen to become so contemptuously vile. Still, some have attempted to guess at the reason. Perhaps the Queen’s true nature was that of a wicked hag and her beautiful, regal appearance a disguise used to fool the King. Others claim that the Queen might have hated the girl for her resemblance to the King’s first wife. Mostly, the Queen is painted as a morally abhorrent woman who never loved another being during the course of her miserable life.
In fact, the theories about exactly what cause the Queen’s obsessive vanity and jealous rage are too numerous to catalog. This book recounts a version of the story that has remained untold until now. It is a tragic tale of love and loss, and it contains a bit of magic. It is a tale of the Wicked Queen…
After reading Conceal, Don’t Feel I was in the mood of fairy tale retellings. Quickly, my next reading choice fell upon Fairest of All. With Maleficent still in the back of my mind, I began this book. Honestly, it had quite an expectation to live up to.
Have I grown to like the wicked queen? No. But do I understand her a little better? I definitely did. This book did not disappoint and only fuelled my need for more villain backstories, which I find far more entertaining than the backstories of the protagonists. I’m pretty sure I am not the only one with this.
It was very interesting, and even a bit sad, to see how a lovely person can change due to grief, lost and insecurity. Because that’s what this story is about and it’s a heart wrenching one at that. Even though, while reading, I knew this was the evil queen that had killed Snow White, I still felt compassion for her, still felt bad for her. Knowing you read about the villain and still being swayed, that’s the mark of good story telling for me.
The characters were very well written, though the side-characters were a little two-dimensional at times and I wished to get to know them a little more. But for a 250-page book they have done really well.
The pace of the writing was nicely done as well. The book moved fast enough for me to keep me entertained. So much even that I read the book in one sitting! I have some concentration and focus issues, so for me to read a book in one sitting is quite a feat! That’s how much I enjoyed this book.