Monday, September 08, 2008

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Aza, 15, is blessed with an amazing voice and wonderful family, but feels cursed by her size (enormous compared to her fellow Ayorthians) and her appearance (in her words "an ugly ox. . . a blemish". Working in her family's inn, Aza is surprised when chance finds her accompanying a crotchety, cat-loving Duchess to the royal wedding. Aza is even more baffled when her amazing talent for "illusing" or copying and projecting the voices of others leads her to become the new queen's lady in waiting. Her good fortune turns sour when the new queen forces her to use her gifts to deceive both her king and her country. Torn between loyalty to her homeland and fear for her family, Aza is drawn into an adventure that might just help Aza see beyond her physical appearance--if it doesn't get her killed by ogres, magic mirrors, or angry courtiers.
If you've enjoyed other works by Levine, be sure to read Fairest. Readers of Ella Enchanted will be pleased at the cameo references to Lucinda and Ella's best friend. Grades 5+.