Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Runtime: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Read by Emily Eiden

These days, twisted fairy tales are all the rage. More than just the stuff of animated movies for little ones, fairy tales now appear in books, on TV, and in more grown-up big-screen adventures. And in the audio version of Fairest of All, the first book in author Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series, two kids find themselves in the middle of one of their favorite tales.

The story follows 10-year-old Abby and her little brother, Jonah, as they set off on an unexpected adventure. When Jonah accidentally knocks on an old mirror that he found in the basement of their new house, the siblings are transported to a strange forest, where they follow a creepy-looking woman to a quaint little cottage belonging to a beautiful young girl and her seven little friends. They’re thrilled to discover that they’ve saved Snow White from eating the poisoned apple until they realize that, in the process, they changed one of their favorite fairy tales. So they hatch a new plan to get Snow her happy ending.

Fairest of All offers a clever twist on the Snow White story while giving readers a whole new perspective on one of their favorite fairy tales. Abby and Jonah are normal modern-day kids thrown in the middle of fairy tale land—a land with no phones and no cars, where Snow and her friends eat a whole lot of stew. It’s fun to listen in on Abby and Jonah’s adventures, whether they’re struggling to sleep together in a too-tiny bed or facing the evil queen’s latest scheme. And the changes in Snow’s story are perfect—often smarter and more true to life than the original.

The characters, too, are likable. Abby is thoughtful and reserved and hesitant about their fairy tale experience. But, since she wants to grow up to become a judge, she’s concerned about fairness—and she’s determined to make sure that the story turns out as it’s supposed to: with Snow getting her prince and her stepmother getting her punishment. Jonah is a bundle of energy who’s up for anything; he’s just excited to be on an adventure. And Snow is as sweet and shy as you might expect—and while Abby is determined to help her find her prince, Snow is perfectly happy to spend the rest of the life cooking and cleaning in the cottage (especially if it means that she can avoid being poisoned).

The narration, meanwhile, brings it all to life. Emily Eiden is so exuberant and expressive that she seems to convey the kind of excitement that any kid would have—and that will make the story more relatable for young listeners and more fun for older ones, too.

With its story-hopping twist on a beloved classic, Fairest of All is sure to be a hit with young princesses in training. Pick up a copy for playtime listening—or for your next road trip—and you’ll be eager to pick up the next book in the series, too.

Listen to the review on Shelf Discovery:

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