Book Review: The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn TurgeonThursday, October 03, 2013
The Fairest of Them
Genre: Fairy Tales
Format: Ebook, 288 pages
Published On: August 6, 2013
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First Sentence: I was the girl with the long long hair, trapped in the tower.
What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and Mermaid, The Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.
Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who banished her.
One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.
Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.
But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.~ taken from Goodreads
Fairytales and retellings are one of my favorite themes in books, so you can accurately guess I was pretty excited to read The Fairest of Them. I could not wait to find out how Carolyn Turgeon combined Rapunzel and Snow White.
Surprisingly, the merge of these two fairytales went pretty smoothly. First events from Rapunzel happen and then from Snow White happen. Transition was masterfully done and there were a couple of new unexpected elements and twists that made the reading enjoyable.
Story is narrated in first person by Rapunzel. There were times when I struggled with her descriptions of events. If something bad happened to her, I felt like she tried to make me feel sorry for her. Vice versa, if Rapunzel did something bad, I felt like she was making excuses for her behavior. I guess what I am trying to say is that too much is explained through narration. And that leads us to second problem I had: sometimes flat characterisation. I like to get to know characters well and then decide myself. Too many excuses will not make me sympathise with them.
Yeah yeah... :p You always have a choice. [image source]
If we neglect these personal issues I had, The Fairest of Them is a quick and entertaining read.
You may notice that I didn't label it as young adult. Honestly, I think that there is too much sexual situations and some themes that are not of interest to younger audience like: infidelity in marriage, infertility etc.
In The End...
With interesting combination of two famous stories, The Fairest of Them will make all fans of fairytale retellings happy. Just be warned, for a book labeled as young adult, there is a lot of sex and other mature topics.