Audiobook, Books, Fantasy, Romance, YA

The full-cast recording of Fairest by Gail Carson Levine is a great YA fantasy for Broadway-lovers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember enjoying Ellla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine when I was younger, so I was excited to try Fairest, another book in that universe. In this installment, Levine uses several plot elements from the classic Snow White story.

Our first person point-of-view character, Aza, is the fifteen-year-old adopted daughter of innkeepers and has always hated her appearance. Our first person point-of-view character, Aza, is the sixteen-year-old adopted daughter of innkeepers and has always hated her appearance. She looks quite different from other folks in Ayortha, the setting this story. She is tall, with milk-white skin, red lips, and black hair; nothing like the land’s normal standards of beauty. People are often rude to her based entirely on her appearance. However, she has a beautiful and skilled voice for singing, as well as a talent for mimicry and a form of ventriloquism she calls “illusing.”

In Ayortha, singing is the main mode of communication. I highly rIn Ayortha, singing is the main mode of communication. I highly recommend listening to the full-cast audiobook for this novel, which includes melodies for all of the story’s lyrics and songs as arranged by composer-director Todd Hobin. It felt like I was listening to a Broadway production! I could see how the lyrics could feel flat if you’re just reading them off of the page of a book, but they come to life in this version.

Non-spoilery nods to Ella Enchanted include Aza’s adoptive younger sister, Areida, who goes off to finishing school only to become the best friend of the aforementioned Ella of Frell. A certain meddling fairy may also make an appearance.

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