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A meta-sequel to Levine's Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Fairest is a warped Snow White, set in the singing country of Ayortha with the sister of Ella's best friend Areida as the main character. Aza is an adopted, abnormal-looking child in a country obsessed with beauty. Her parents are innkeepers, and since Aza is expected to do her part in taking care of the inn, she often falls victim to rude staring and remarks by the guests - except for the gnomes, one of which becomes her close friend. She has a singing ability that can be done by no one else, called 'illusing', which is actually a voice-throwing skill made magical in a way. Through an interesting course of events, she becomes the companion of the Duchess one night thanks to her cat, and makes her way to the castle for the king's wedding.
The catch? 40-something-year-old King Oscaro has married a 19-year-old Ivi of Kyrria, (Ella's country) a commoner who people distrust at first for that very reason. However, her radiant beauty eventually wins over the court. Ivi discovers the shy, withdrawn Aza while she illuses in private, and forces her to sing for her because she despises Sings and singing so much. When the king falls ill, Ivi uproots the kingdom with Aza in tow with deception dragging at her every day. Aza's story winds around falling in love, getting over her weakness, and learning to accept herself for who she is.
- BBW: Aza is heavily implied to be one, being abnormally wide as well as abnormally tall. Ijori likes that aspect of her as well, avoiding a preachy Beautiful All Along message and instead opting for Just the Way You Are
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When Aza meets Queen Ivi for the second time.
- Blondes Are Evil: Ivi, to a tee.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Ivi is less evil than just self-absorbed and afraid of being alone.
- Crazy Cat Lady: The Duchess of Olixio. Though she's a lot more sane than others.
- Disney Death: Aza has one in the strangest way possible. You could also call her predicament a Big Sleep, because it's unclear whether she died after she was poisoned, even though her trip into a magic mirror and becoming an apparition (except while singing) certainly implied this.
- Dub Name Change: In the Hebrew translation, Aza's name is Kyra, presumably because the name Aza in Hebrew provokes associasions to the Gaza strip.
- Et Tu, Brute?: The fact that the prince, who is Aza's friend and love interest, allows her to be taken to prison once her secret is revealed.
- Faux Death
- First-Person Smartass: Aza in a few instances when she's referring to people she dislikes.
- Food Porn: Done twice, although the second time it's done disgustingly.
- Fridge Logic: In Ella Enchanted, Prince Charmont is visiting the court in Ayortha during Ella's stint at Finshing School. And Areida is there at Finishing School at the same time. And during this time Aza is there at court too. But we never hear mention of the Prince at all during the course of the book.
- Genki Girl: Ivi, especially when it comes to fashion.
- God Save Us From the Queen: Ivi again. To the point of needing protection from her own subjects, which has apparently never happened before in Ayortha. She dissolves the council, imprisons people for minor crimes, refuses to help countries in need, and apparently studies the art of effective blackmail. Later on in the book, she tries to murder Aza. It very nearly works.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Ijori. Make up your mind whose side you're on, dagnabit.
- Humans Are Bastards: The beautiful, ethereal-voiced Ayorthaians are snobbish to the point of being xenophobic, and god help anyone who isn't attractive or can't sing.
- I Feel Angry: Aza, when the tailor ruins all her new clothing in an attempt to rebel against Ivi, who has appointed Aza her lady-in-waiting and therefore her right hand woman. Ijori helps out with this quite a bit.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Ivi's motivation for most of the book. When King Oscaro falls ill, she tries to seduce Ijori just so that she can have someone else to love her.
- Karma Houdini: Ivi, for the most part.
- Kick the Dog: Ivi when she somehow manages to take the songbirds away from Ayortha.
- Les Yay: Aza had to carry Ivi when they were running from the choirmaster. Plus, the way Ivi acts sometimes...
Ivi: Do you care about me deeply?
- Magic Music: Sort of. Aza can skillfully throw her voice without moving her lips, sound like an object or a person whenever she wants to, but no one else can except for the gnomes.
- May-December Romance: The forty-year-old king Oscaro and 19-year-old Ivi. It's implied to Oscaro truly does love Ivi.
- Our Monsters Are Different
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Aza, to keep within the Snow White theme.
- Pinocchio Nose: See if you can tell what Ivi does before she lies. Aza even mentions it.
- Rewrite: See Fridge Logic above.
- This Is My Name on Foreign
- Uncoffee: Ostumo, a common hot morning drink made with molasses.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Once again, Aza, through no fault of her own. It's not forever, though.