Book Review: Fairest Of All (Villains #1) by Serena Valentino

 “I cannot live in fear of losing him, for fear of not living my life at all.”

― Serena Valentino, Fairest of All

Serena Valentino's novel Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, which is based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and serves as a prequel to the movie, tells the tale of how The Queen came to be the villainous character she was in the movie, with the Magic Mirror having had a significant negative impact on her.  Anyone who has seen Walt Disney's Snow White will be aware of how wicked the Wicked Queen is. The Wicked Queen's life will be examined for the first time in order to determine just what makes her so evil.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

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.

My reaction to the novel...

My very favorite books are fairy tales. I recall seeing a classmate carrying this book of fairy tales when I was in first grade. Maybe it's when I started to enjoy reading because I requested my uncle to get me a book of fairy tales. He was happy and surprised that I asked for a book at the time rather than a toy, so he bought a big book of fairy tales that had all of the princess tales. So, three years ago, when I came across this book, my eyes lit up. I wanted to read this book more than anything. In actuality, it is a book full of tales about the evil ones from fairy tales.

Actually, I've had this collection of books for a while, but I couldn't bring them with me when I moved abroad for work, so I only started reading them all recently. When this one showed up, I started reading it with very high expectations.

Since I think that everyone has some good in them and that not all villains started out as monsters, I'd like to know the background behind every fairy tale's evil queens and characters. Thus, the story of the evil queen in Snow White is the subject of Serena Valentino's debut book about a fairy tale villain. There is a certain fascination to this one-day read. I was surprised at how quickly I read this book. This is a series for fans of Disney like myself who may have missed a few specifics but are familiar with the story. I learned a lot about the Queen's past, and it has unquestionably altered how I view her. The author creates a sympathetic and sincere character in this book. I realized that she is not the stereotypically evil stepmother loved in stories and beyond, but rather a person who battles very real feelings of melancholy and insecurity.

The writing was good, and I found it to move along quickly. The end of each chapter caught my curiosity and provided fantastic vivid images. Even though Snow White is one of my least favorite fairy tales, I was intrigued by this story of the evil queen. The accents and general layout were excellent. I also found the environment to be really vibrant. The characters were actually visible to me. I had the impression that I had been taken back in time to when I was a little child reading those fairy tales and first encountering the villains. I loved it so much. I started to picture myself there since my imagination was so vivid.

This slightly darker version was a beautiful twist for the adult me who still wanted to appreciate that fairy tale type of things, and as a consequence, I strongly recommend it to every child at heart out there. It will appeal to you in the same way that the Disney fairy tales did.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

“The words wounded deeper than the bruises and the scars from any physical pain he inflicted on me. At least those wounds healed.”

For me, this is true. Physical pain is easily reversible. Certain therapies and drugs are available on the market to treat it, however words wound profoundly. There is no simple, easily available treatment for it. You will undoubtedly feel the agony for a very long time, especially if you are exposed to circumstances that will remind you of all the pain caused by words, especially if those words were delivered by the one you cherished the most.


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