Top positive review
Four and a half points, rounded up.
on May 6, 2013
I enjoyed this book so much! The characters and settings were well-drawn and memorable. At its peak moments, it reminded me of the best of Ursula LeGuin, with insight into the habits of thought of several different cultures.
And yet ...
The pacing of the story was quite uneven. Some sections were fascinating because the author gave them enough space to include descriptive details. Others - the castle library episode, the discovery of the magic mirror, the whole story of the Fairy Lucinda (who didn't seem to belong to this book at all) were sketchy and rushed. I felt as if I was reading the "theatrical version" and would rather have read the "extended version." (Fans of the "Lord of the Rings" movies will know what I mean.)
The story was marred by the inclusion of elements of "Snow White" that just didn't fit into the interesting world the author created. Reading the early draft packaged at the end of the book, I realized that the author had begun "Fairest" with a different slant and couldn't bring herself to discard some elements that had once been central to it. Maybe the author and her editor were too close to the story to realize that the whole Fairy Lucinda element had almost entirely disappeared in successive edits -- until suddenly at the end of the book, it was terribly important.
So I give this book one four and a half points "to be exact" (as one wonderful character would say) -- rounded up to five, and I know I will read it again.