Fairest of All: A Villains Graphic Novel (Paperback)
Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling Villains series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of All, The Beast Within, Poor Unfortunate Soul, Mistress of All Evil.
The evil stepmother in this retelling of “Snow White” starts life as a commoner who marries the king and becomes a loving mother to his little girl. How does she develop into a murderous monster? Valentino constructs an emotionally complex story that investigates the queen’s origins as the daughter of a cruel mirror maker. The bitter man never showed his daughter any love, frequently telling her she was ugly. He bargained away his soul to give the beautiful wife he cherished the child she longed for and was devastated when she died in childbirth. The queen discovers that three witchy sisters—the king’s cousins—brokered this supernatural deal. They appear throughout the story, continually weaving their evil magic into the queen’s life and encouraging her to do horrible deeds. The royal family’s lives are richly described, with the inclusion of a new character: trusted lady-in-waiting Verona. Also called “the fairest one of all” by the magic mirror, Verona is banished by the queen. The dwarves are barely seen, but many familiar plot points remain in this graphic adaptation. The tolls of parental resentment, jealousy, envy, and magic manifest in the queen’s behavior as the story progresses. The illustrations, in black and white with large quantities of off-putting green, are striking. The queen’s and Snow White’s likenesses to Disney characters are evident; most characters read White. Of interest to readers who wish to deeply explore a tale remembered from childhood. (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)- Kirkus (Mar 1, 2023)