Reviewed July 9, 2007.
HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 2006. 326 pages.
Fans of Ella Enchanted, of which I am one, will love Gail Carson Levine’s latest book, loosely based on the fairy tale of Snow White. In fact, the story involves the king who married Ella’s stepsister, Ivi. It turns out he was king of neighboring Ayortha, the home country of Ella’s roommate, where everyone loves to sing and those with beautiful voices are honored.
Aza has one of the most beautiful voices of all, and she finds she can do amazing things with her voice. Unfortunately, she’s terribly ugly.
When Aza gets a chance to go to the king’s castle, the new queen takes special notice of her. Then the king gets injured, and the queen is in charge. She seems only concerned that people think her beautiful. The queen has a mirror. When Aza sees her own reflection in the mirror, she is changed, astonishingly beautiful.
This book doesn’t follow the fairy tale it’s based on as closely as Ella Enchanted does. But the elements of Snow White are there, woven into a story of beauty and power and love and deception. Gail Carson Levine has done it again!