Fairest (A Court of Mirrors: Book 1) by Sophia Zaccaria

Only queens with hearts can bleed. And those who flirt with evil are the most heartless of them all.

Fairest by Sophia Zaccaria

I have a soft spot for villains’. I always wonder what their backstories are and what caused them to become the bad guy. So, when I read the blurb for Fairest, I knew that I needed to read it. It is not very often where the origins of the Evil Queen from Snow White are explored!! I am glad that I did because this book had me glued to the pages.

Fairest tells the story of Alina (aka Natasha) and her rise/eventual metamorphosis to the Evil Queen. It was a sad but fascinating tale. Starting with the death of her best friend and the discovery of her magic and ending with her mirror, it was a fantastic read.

Fairest is set in Russia and the fictional country of Velaris. It wasn’t stated where in Russia Alina was from, but I figured it was probably closer to St. Petersburg. There is a lot of Russian language in this book. But the author did include a Russian Dictionary at the end of the book, which helped me a ton (I also used my translate button on my Kindle).

Alina was an interesting character to read. Everything she did during the first half of the book was to protect herself and her heart. But once her younger brother died, that is when everything (including herself) changed.

The main storyline, Alina and her powers, was very well written. I hated to see how Alina realized she had powers and what caused them to manifest. I liked seeing her master her powers and by the end of the book, what she did with people who cheesed her off was very interesting.

There was a romance angle to the book. I disagreed with Alina and Cole becoming romantically entangled. They were too dysfunctional together. I wish that the author had stuck with Alina/Mikhail’s romance. They were good together. Mikhail was good for Alina.

There were exciting references to Snow White sprinkled throughout the book. There was a reference regarding Cole and Snow White, which made me go, “Hmmmm.” There was an interesting reference to The Brothers Grimm, which also made me go, “Hmmmm.” I can’t wait to see if the author will bring up either of these references in the second book!!

There were things I didn’t like about Fairest. I wouldn’t say I liked that there were multiple POVs. If the author had stuck to Alina and Cole’s POV, I would have been fine. But there were POVs from characters that disappeared from the book. Also, I wouldn’t say I liked how it switched from 3rd person to 1st person and then back.

I did not expect what happened at the end of the book. There was a huge plot twist that involved Alina and her mother. Talk about shocking. I am hoping that the next book explores what was revealed.

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