I just finished reading Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino.
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...
It's no secret that I love anything that has to do with Disney or with a fairy tale. So when I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately it sat on my shelf for a while until my Disbrides Book Club decided to read it.
I enjoyed this telling of the Snow White story from the Queen's point of view. I know the Disney version backwards and forwards. And my husband and I have been watching Once Upon a Time on tv so we know that version of the Queen too. But this was unlike any version I have heard of yet.
I loved reading that the Queen was a good person to start with (and really to end with). I loved realizing that she loved Snow as if she were her own daughter, not just a step daughter. And unfortunately, things happened that made the Queen turn into the character that we know from the fairy tale.
I don't want to give too much away, but I loved the little things that were new in this version--the three sisters, who the face in the magic mirror was, the Queen's first handmaid, and other things.
I thought the Queen's choice at the end was interesting, but I think it might go over younger readers heads. And the verrrrry end...as I was reading it, I thought it was going to go one way and I was thinking "Oh no!" but it pleasantly surprised me.
This was a fun retelling of Snow White and if you are interested in retellings of fairy tales, then I think you should definitely pick this one up!
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 44
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 41
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 2
*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.