May 13, 2015

Review | Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Title: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino
Series: Villains
Genre: YA - Retellings
Publication: August 18th 2009 by Disney Press
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Synopsis: 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…


Thoughts: To be honest, the main reason I got this was the gorgeous cover. It's prettier in person than on screen and when I saw a copy I had to have it. That was years ago, so I finally decided to give it a shot. Of all the Disney princesses, Snow White is one of my least favorites, but I was intrigued to read this to find out what re-telling Valentino created for the Wicked Queen. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed at everything inside the pages.

There were quite a few issues I had with the book and the writing. One of them was how wordy the paragraphs were. There was too much prose, too much unnecessary descriptions, etc. I didn't connect with any of the characters either, and thought they didn't have much depth. I really had a hard time finding the story itself enjoyable since there wasn't anything remarkably unique about it other than learning a little more about the Wicked Queen, which wasn't all that interesting either.

The writing seemed to be directed at very young audiences, but with so much description, I'm sure children would have a hard time getting through this one as well.

I wasn't DNF'ing books at the time that I read this, otherwise I probably would not have finished it. When I saw the author had written a similar retelling of the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast" (my favorite Disney movie) I was tempted to purchase it because of the beautiful cover on that one as well. After I looked at the first page, I could tell that it would be another similarly disappointing book and decided not to pick it up.


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