Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Aza is the ugliest maiden in the land, but she also has one of the best voices. Her voice is unique because she can “illuse” her voice; throw it as far as she wants and make it sound like someone else’s. When she accompanies a duchess to the castle for the King’s wedding to Queen Ivi, she meets Prince Ijori and his dog, Oochoo.

                This book has a lot of conflict. The first conflict is that the king goes into a sort of coma when a ring during a performance gets smashed into the side of his head. Then the Queen catches Aza when she is illusing and wants Aza to be her lady in waiting to sing for her, because the Queen Ivy has a terrible voice. Aza does not want to do it, but when the Queen threatens her, she goes along with it.

                Aza would do anything for beauty.  When she finds a flute and some magic potions in the Queen’s bedchamber, she is strongly tempted to use them.  Then, something terrible happens and Aza is falsely accused and sentenced to death.

                This story of love, beauty, and temptation is a wonderful retelling of the classic “Snow White.” I thought it was a great read.