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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen - Serena Valentino I love Disney, fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. But this did not impress me.

Fairest of All is a retelling of Snow White from the Wicked Queen's point of view. It is very clear that Ms. Valentino (and I somehow strongly suspect that Serena Valentino is a pen name cause I mean... really... a name like that is right up there with Bella Swan *insert eye roll here*) is desperately attempting to do what Wicked did for The Wizard of Oz. But this falls so short of the mark.

First off, one of the key problems is that the Queen is never given a name. Strike one. It's difficult to connect with a character if they are only reffered to by a title. It forms a wall and lack any intimacy between the reader and the character. Same with the Huntsman. Then of course we come to the large sections of info dumps. We rarely get any show and instead all tell in the form of long expositions. When we aren't being dumped with information we have to endure pages of purple prose.

It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever read, but yet again I am amazed by the publishing industry for allowing such a rough draft to be printed without fixing it up a bit first. The writing really struck me as a bit amateurish.

The story and the characters were not engaging and I couldn't muster any sympathy for the main character. There is such a giant leap in logic that takes place halfway through and it really doesn't seem convincing. From where she starts with the character to where she ends doesn't ring true. I can suspend my disbelief rather far... but not this far.Maybe if we had witnessed more of the degenerationa dn breakdown it would have become more realistic, but instead we get a brief foreshadowing and then a giant leap in time in which we are filled in via info dumps. There is nothing intimate to draw the reader in. I say stay away from this one. There's nothing compelling about it.