Ever After High: The Unfairest of Them All
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2014
I am a big fan of the first Ever After High book, so I had high hopes for the second installment. This book has just as much adventure and fun as the first. We get to learn a little more about some of the supporting characters and watch several more entertaining chats with the narrator. Ever After High fans who watch the webisodes should have no problem starting with this book if for some reason they want to skip the first (but you will want to read them all).

I am definitely a Shannon Hale fan now. I recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy a fresh take on classic fairy tale characters.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed the second installment in the Ever After Series. They are so much more detailed and engaging then either of the Monster High book series and so I give all the credit in the world to Shannon Hale. Shannon is an amazing author of her own works and I think she has done such a great job working her own personality and skills into the Ever After books. I think I enjoyed the first book "Legacy Day" just a little more than this one....I thought the riddle treasure hunt drug on a little too long but that is certainly my only complaint. I loved getting a better perspective on Apple White in this novel. I wasn't sure I cared for her much in Legacy Day and this book did a good job of showing us who exactly Apple is and where her heart is coming from. I do think its time to let Apple and Raven Queen take a seat and let us see more of these amazing characters that are far too often in the background. This is splendid and engaging series for children, teens and adults.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2014
This book was even better than the first book STORYBOOK OF LEGEND. I loved reading the results of Raven's actions and how Raven's mother in her mirror prison hopes her daughter is turning as evil as she is. Besides Raven quest to the answers she seeks for the need to rebel meeting with Red Riding Hood among these she seek answers from. Red Riding Hood's daughter turned out to be among my favorite section of this story as well as Maddie Hatter as she was as fantastic here as she was in book 1. I don't know if this series is continuing any further but this is a book for all those into fractured fairy tale stories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2014
This is complete literary candy. I try to focus my girls on great literature and well written classics. This is certainly not great literature but it is better written than a lot of stuff for this age group and my daughters (ages 8 and 12) completely love it. I will admit to skimming the books and finding them intriguing. Shannon Hale has successfully created an engaging world and I credit it for my 8-year-old picking up Alice in Wonderland on her own. She wanted to know more about Wonderland since her favorite Ever After High character is Maddie Hatter.

My girls actually put their own money together to purchase this sequel and I am sure we will continue to acquire the books in this set as they are released.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I had not heard anything about this series, but the synopsis was too good to pass up. One of my favorite twisted author of retold children’s stories is Jasper Fforde and his Nursery Crimes series. Seriously folks – you will NOT stop laughing from beginning to end, even as you are puzzling out just who can solve the crimes, and I was hoping for a lighter youthful approach from this book. Fortunately I was not disappointed, in fact I was smiling and laughing out loud often. Shannon Hale has managed to take some serious issues: destiny versus free will, preconceived stereotypes, personal growth and the value of being kind and taught everyone a lesson without sounding preachy, moralistic or even going over the top with the dramatics. And that would be an easy step to take – since we are dealing with the teenaged offspring of the fairy tale and children’s lit characters we all know.

There are several new and creatively named characters Apple White, Cerise Hood who demands she be called Cedar, Raven Queen – all named in reference to their more famous parent, and all expected to follow their destiny: to be good or bad depending on their parentage.

But not everyone agrees with this. Apple is the co-president of the class with Raven. Apple has her group of supporters - The Royals, who are all comfortable with the status quo, and don’t understand why anyone would want things to change. A little narrow-minded and sheep-like in their adherence to the old ways, the Royals are also scared to death of the consequences: if people change their destinies, perhaps things won’t be in their favor anymore. Raven leads the group of dissidents, The Rebels, who cannot believe that they are being forced to assume their destinies with no chance of choosing differently. The Rebels are far less rebellious and far more thoughtful than anyone gives them credit for, and several, including Cerise / Cedar have specific and logical reasons for wanting a choice.

While the groundwork is laid for a West Side Story-like battle, the real struggles come from the kids themselves, as they have to learn to articulate their own reasons for their choices, and explain those choices to the people they have known all their lives. Mixing in some real growth for the characters and the lessons they are all learning, this story has the potential to go preachy and dull really quickly. BUT, horrendously hokey jokes, fun and unique insertions of nursery rhyme elements, quirky minor characters and some truly clever interactions loaded with puns bring this book’s fun quotient up several notches, and has you wondering just what a day in the brain of this author is like.

I did, however, review the AudioBook version of this story, and Kathleen McInerney did a wonderful job voicing the characters and presenting us with characters who actually sounded as they were described: a touch of valley-girl, some cloying sweetness, a touch of edge, even that peculiar ennui particular to teens everywhere when they utter “whatever”. Her narration was a delightful addition to the story, and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2014
This was a fantastic continuation on the story of what happened after Raven Queen stated she would make her own Ever After. There has been a great divide between all the students denoting those who wanted their original story and ever afters as the Royals and all those who want to make their own story as the Rebels. With the divide between all the students things started to go horribly wrong. Leaving a trail of disaster and rebellions behind them, Apple started to doubt herself as a leader and Maddie Hatter got caught in a horrible situation. The characters must work together to help solve the problems that have arose from the aftermath of Legacy Day.

This book continued in the cuteness that came from the first in the series. Shannon Hale did a fabulous job with the story and addition of new characters and their secrets and stories. In this story you learn more about characters that were introduced in the first book . The characters are so dynamic and full of personality. They are quirky and all have such different stories. Maddie Hatter is definitely one of my favorite characters! She is silly and highly entertaining. The other characters like Apple and Raven are such strong characters and send out such good messages about strong females and deciding your own life.The way that Hale also works and weaves together the fairy tales is perfection.

Overall, this is a great sequel to The Storybook of Legends! It was precious and absolute adorable. The language and writing is wonderful. The book is full of adventure and has great lessons about being yourself and finding your own spot in life! I can’t wait for the third book that comes out later this month! This like my review for the first book is very repetitive. I just had a hard time expressing my feelings. This book just made me so happy and was such a fast read. Although it is meant for a younger audience I am so happy I read it and highly recommend it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.5, Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

The Unfairest of Them All is the second book in Shannon Hale’s EVER AFTER HIGH series for children. These are tie-in novels for Matel’s line of EVER AFTER HIGH dolls, clothing, diaries, and sundry accessories. I feel like a real chump for obliviously falling into Matel’s greedy little trap, but I love Shannon Hale’s children’s books, so…. so THERE.

The first book in the series (The Storybook of Legends) was sweet and charming, so I went in to this one knowing exactly what I was doing and I found it just as original and adorable as the first one. In The Unfairest of Them All, Raven Queen, daughter of the evil queen, refuses to sign The Storybook of Legends, a contract that would require her to carry on in her mother’s evil role. Raven doesn’t want to be evil, but by choosing not to be evil she ruins everyone else’s “happily ever after.” Now some of her friends think she really is evil because she wants to choose her own destiny and ruin theirs. She’s in quite a quandry. How can she rebel without hurting others?

The Unfairest of Them All is Apple White’s story. Apple is Snow White’s daughter and the person who Raven Queen is supposed to give the poisoned apple to. But Apple and Raven are also best friends. While Apple admires and respects Raven’s decision to not poison her, Apple risks losing her “happily ever after” with Prince Charming if she isn’t poisoned. There are plenty of other classmates at Ever After High who are in a similar situation. (It’s probably occurred to you that there should be two high schools in fairyland — one for the heroes and one for the villains. Then these destiny-killing kind of mix-ups couldn’t happen.)

All the cute quirky characters are here again, including Humpty Dumpty the rapping hacker and Madeline Hatter who keeps trying to learn secret information from the narrator. It’s all so cute (gosh, I keep using that word) and silly. Some of the silliness starts to grate (such as using words like “Hexcellent”, “hextreme sports” and “hext message”) but much of it is delightfully clever.

There’s actually quite a bit of contemplativeness, too. Using the fairytale context, the story thoughtfully explores real-world issues such as prejudice (especially about interracial marriage), dysfunctional families, benevolent leadership and crisis management, and the consequences of following or not following social norms. As silly as this book is, there is plenty of opportunity for serious discussion of these social issues, too.

Once again I listened to the audio version read by Kathleen McInerney and produced by Hachette Audio. McInerney gives a wonderful lively performance. I recommend this version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2014
I was suspicious going into these series, because surely anything tied to a marketing line couldn't be all that--right? I'm so glad to be proven wrong. Since I trust Shannon Hale as an author, I was willing to try these books for my 6 yo daughter. We've read both books in the series out loud together and they are wonderful.

I love that the books explore real choices and consequences: do we value a life that's safe and mapped out for us, or one that allows us to make our own choices? I love, too, that Raven Queen and Apple White are both fleshed out characters--though they want different things, they are still friends who support each other to the extent that they can.

The supporting cast is also delightful--it's fun to see all the different spins on various fairy tales that show up here. But the best part is Hales' writing: reading that Humphrey Dumpty (son of the original Humpty Dumpty) "cracked" a smile is just a small example of the attention to detail and setting that characterizes these books.

Also a plus--my kindergarten daughter has plowed her way through each of these books on her own after we read them together. Anything that can motivate a child her age to tackle writing above her comfortable reading level is doing something right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2014
When I got the book I actually finished reading it in. 6 hours. I have to admit. It's really good. ( spoiler alert ahead! ) I love the fact that they made me believe that the evil queen can actually change but she didn't but I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't show a lot of Ashlynn even though she's in the cover but Cerise's part was really amazing! I have to say it was really fun reading it even I rarely read anything. I really should think that everyone NEEDS to read it.
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on December 11, 2014
This is a second book in the Ever After High series and I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. While the first book was extremely entertaining and fun read, the "Unfairest of them all" had just a few gripes for my personal taste that I couldn't ignore, still, however, being enjoyable and amusing read.

The book started exactly where we left off (and I like it - no waste of pages retelling what we already know), BUT it took a whole lot of while to get into the actual story. Actually, nothing particularly exciting happens until page 144. Remember the blurb on the book? About Maddie Hatter getting in trouble? Well, yes, page 144. If you read the first book and know how it ended, then be prepared to read about Snow White's and Raven Queen's deliberations on the matter for a good portion of the beginning of the book. They get together, talk about their (VERY DIFFERENT) opinions on the matter, go their own way, then Royals and Rebels make a mess, then they get together again and talk about their opinions on the matter and etc....again and again. I felt like this reasonably uneventful (as of events with serious consequences)part was unnecessarily stretched out. I read the first story in few hours, and I had to put this one down a few times...
However, once the story gets rolling - it gets rolling! I loved how Shannon separated Apple and Raven who has their own agendas in mind to complete their little quests to come together in the end to help Maddie. There were stories within stories, and tales within tales which were really fun to read. Bonus points for a sub-story of Baba Yaga's cottage! Honestly, I have NEVER thought about even the possibility of what is happening with it here! Seriously, I think it's a first in a fairy-tale retelling.

Another point that confused me a little, was author's desire to show how important your friends are; that you will get task done better and faster if you rely on your faithful pals. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that notion itself (and I think great friendships are very important and valuable), I felt that putting this in opposition of relying on your own strengths is a bit strange. I happened to think that both are equally important. And while I understand that Shannon Hale was trying to show that not depending on anyone but yourself is hard and in the words of Apple White "kind of evil", I do find this part somewhat confusing because I'm one of those people who actually think that you do have to be ready to depend on no one but yourself at all times, and if great friends and help come along - wonderful! But if not, then there is no need to give up, you just have to keep going.
Despite that the message itself was a bit perplexing to me, it all does come together nicely in the end. Friendship, trust, hard work and EXCELLENT delegation skills (I felt like Apple White might have taken a Dale Carnegie course along with her high school subjects) will bring a delightful conclusion to the second book that many kids will love, and, hopefully, learn from.

And that brings me to the strengths of this book, which are cast of wonderful characters, fun takes on fairy tales and a sprinkle of light adventure on top. I find it great that Shannon created a cast of characters that are not all cookie-cutters, but each have their own identity - rebellious Raven, always positive Apple, party-loving Briar, mysterious Cerise, quirky Maddie, adorable Dexter and annoying Daring (she even managed to pen characters that I really dislike - like Sparrow who irritates the hell out of me, and Gus and Helga, who are just plain not likable - and I LIKE when an author is able to create a character that can make me NOT LIKE them, as long as it is not the main protagonist, ha!) - all of these students make the stories come to life with humor and very distinctive personalities. And then, there is Shannon Hale's imaginative takes on classic stories. I won't spoil the fun by describing them, but let me just say that she is one inventive author! (Another extra bonus for a nod to Ms. J.K. Rowling - I smiled ;)
The half of star still goes to the LANGUAGE that I just can't seem to embrace - once again, One Reflection, hexting and MirrorPhone make me cringe ever so slightly...Once again, I understand that the target audience (which I'm not a part of) will probably love it... Hell, 10-year old me probably would too, but right-now me still can't.

All in all, I got this book because I knew what to expect and I liked it! The characters welcome you back on their next search for freedom vs. destiny solution. The Ever After High with all it's dorms, libraries and Castleteria (ugh...) provide you with familiar settings, and new fun takes on fairy tales will satisfy your craving for light and entertaining MG. It's the safe book, because you know exactly what you going to get, and that you going to like it. Sometimes we need safe books - when we need to take a breather and just relax...Wait, I think it's raining outside right now and I just got book 3...
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