BOOK REVIEW (98): Fairest of All (Whatever After #1)

Fairest of All
I really enjoyed the first book in author Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series. If you haven’t guessed by the cover, the series re-tells some favourite fairy tales. This first book takes another look at “Snow White” and borrows elements from the Disney version, and a few local versions (i.e. poisoned apple, poisoned comb, poisoned pillow).

Whatever After #1Fairest of All, follows 10-year-old Abby and her 7-year-old brother Jonah into a magic mirror in their basement. From the mirror they land in the fairy tale kingdom of Zamel. Currently ruled by Snow White’s evil stepmother, Abby and Jonah realize they need to get home and fast before they are permanently stuck in the technology-free kingdom.

Snow White was annoyingly ditzy, and though she’s sixteen, it felt that Abby and Jonah could take care of her better than she could herself. I should go easy on her though. She was orphaned at a young age and she has a (funny) evil stepmother. The evil stepmother was more funny than scary: she was a bit of a loon, and her plans to poison Snow were laughable. At least I could admire her tenacity… *sigh* The dwarfs were useless for the most part, although they offered a bit of comic relief and they happened to be a big part of the climax.

Of course no “Snow White” re-telling is complete without an appearance from the Prince.

Prince Trevor from the neighbouring kingdom of Gamel is AWOL until about halfway through the book when Abby (or was it Jonah?) remembers the Prince’s role in the fairy tale. In the end Trevor is about as useless as the dwarfs (if not even more useless as he saves NO ONE), but the dude’s nice and though he seems a bit eager to marry Snow, he isn’t put out when she tells him to take things slowly:

“Listen, Trevor,” Snow says. “I’m not looking for a serious relationship right now. I need to focus on my duties here, now that I’m queen.”

“I get it,” the prince says, nodding. “Look, why don’t we take it a little slower? How about dinner?” (pg. 156)

And that, ladies and gents, is how fairy tales should be written.

Other than the endearing twists to this tale, the reason I really loved this re-telling and continued reading was to follow the relationship of Abby and Jonah. These two were hilarious! I could believe they were brother and sister. I’m so glad that each of the stories will feature these two together, otherwise Abby would come across too bossy and Jonah would be ‘act first, think later’. Like all good teammates (and siblings!) they share weaknesses and strengths.

If you’re at all interested, try this first adventure with Abby and Jonah.

My verdict:


(5 stars)

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