by Gail Carson Levine; Sarah Naughton; Full Cast Family.; Full Cast Audio (Firm) Audiobook on CD : CD audio : Elementary and junior high school : Fiction  |  Unabridged
Awesome audio!   (2009-07-26)
I really enjoyed this retelling of the Snow White story... which I didn't get until shamefully late! The twist is that Aza, the main character, doesn't meet any traditional standards of beauty - she was abandoned in an inn when she was a baby, without any knowing who left her. Her skin is mottled, her hair is a dull black, she's grotesquely tall and extremely wide. However, she has an amazing singing voice, as well as the ability to imitate others and throw her voice. When strange circumstances send her to see the king's wedding, Aza becomes a member of the court and the new queen's lady-in-waiting. But Aza's luck quickly turns bad, as she becomes tangled in deception and political plotting.
Aza's a terrific character, if a bit too mopey for my tastes. She is obsessed with being beautiful, and sometimes that got old to hear. I enjoyed her strength and her kindness. I also appreciated where Levine chose to depart from tradition - there are several hints throughout the plot that make you think "aha - this is Aza's background" and Levine doesn't go with the obvious choices. Queen Ivy is just the right amounts of dislikable mixed with pitiful. There are a few plot points that clear up just a bit too quickly, considering how other elements of the story take their time unfolding.
I listened to this book, mostly because I've heard several librarians rave about the fact that it's done by Full Cast Audio, Bruce Coville's audiobook company. For a book that relies to heavily on music, I can't imagine what it would've been like to read it on paper. The songs, the voices, the way that each actor played their role, made this a complete story. I'm surprised to find myself humming songs from the book, like Frying Pan's protest song.
If you're a fan of fairy tales, especially retellings, this is a great book, and an even better audiobook!
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