TITLE: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
AUTHOR: Serena Valentino
MY RATING: 4/5
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
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 catalogue. 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…
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Despite feeling more than a little unsure before reading this I actually really liked it! My worry was that it might ruin the tale of Snow White, a tale that I am really fond of. I needn’t have worried though because if anything it has made me love it even more.
This book was one of the titles from my The books I had forgotten were on my shelf (part two) post and when I included it I said then that I anticipated that it would be a fun read, and I was intrigued to see if I liked it or not. Well, it was a fun read and I did like it so I’m really glad that I put it into that post, because there is a strong chance that I wouldn’t have ever gotten around to reading it otherwise.
I finished this in one evening, it took me only a few hours to read. I liked everything about it, with the characterisation of The Queen my highlight. Valentino shed a fresh light on a well known character and she’ll leave you conflicted about your feelings towards one of Disney’s most memorable villains. I say Disney because for me the tale of Snow White conjures up the film in my memory first and foremost…a classic in my eyes.
As I said it’s a quick and fun read, perfect for a quiet evening, perhaps if it’s stormy outside and you’re under a blanket with a hot drink. I’ve read it recently but in hindsight I think it might have been better placed as an autumn read. My favourite thing about this book is that it has reminded me to keep broadening my reading choices because I continue to come across books that I don’t expect to enjoy but really do.
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Would I recommend it? Absolutely, for fans of fantasy and fairy tales particularly. It’s also a great book to bridge the gap of child and adult readers. It’s well-written, full of action and excitement, and despite its short length it has characters that you really feel for, whether this be good or bad. Most importantly (for me anyway) the plot unfolds in a way that makes sense and doesn’t cast doubt on the story of Snow White at all. Definitely worth a read.
Have you read Fairest of All? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!