Fairest Son, by H.S.J. Williams

amelianicholebooks's review

Go to review page


The premise of this book as a genderswaped retelling of Snow White intrigued me. I am ecstatic to have received a signed paperback copy! The cover is beautiful, and the story is touching. It is surprising that a novella like this can twist such emotions out of you, but it can.

merieshenanigans's review

Go to review page


This is one of my favorite Snow White retellings! The author does a fantastic job rewriting the fairytale in an entirely new way. It's the first gender-swapped retelling of this fairytale that I've read, with the oft-overused setting of fae courts, but changes into something wonderfully original.

Idris is a total sweetheart and fulfills the role of Snow White (!!!) even better than Walt Disney's princess (sorry, but I'm serious. as much as I love Disney, some fairytales have been taken a little too far). I enjoyed Keeva's character too-- she was strong but also sweet and soft even though she harbored her own secrets as well.

By far my favorite retelling of "Snow White" I've ever read :P

loveforwords's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


I read Fairest Son in a couple of hours when I was sick and sad, so I'm really grateful for the company.

It's predictable but quite sweet. Even if I don't like any love that develops too fast, I don't really mind this one because the book was really short. Idris is such a sweetheart.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ladyfives's review

Go to review page


" not deserve forgiveness, fair lord."
"Forgiveness is a gift, not meant to be deserved," he said.

What a beautiful surprise! I'd seen art of this floating around, and dove into it without even reading the summary. Was swept away by the first page. It pulled off my favourite thing in retellings - was distant from the source material when it comes to the concrete details, but instead referenced it in clever (subtle and not-so-subtle) ways that made how it all came together more satisfying.

It's a little novella but a powerful one, and super, super pretty. And can I just say it's so nice to read a male love interest who is that sweet and soft and earnest.

"Please, you are not thinking, you will dishonor your people forever."
"Honor," Adoh spat, eyes glowing with the most unholy of fires. "Only the Seelie care about honor."

r_j_setser's review

Go to review page


In this short story retelling of Snow White, we not only encounter a brilliant gender-swap to the classic tale, but we also see familiar pieces to the beloved story put together in a new and unexpected way.

Fairest Son is no light fairytale. From the very first page, it is a tense story with very dark themes like magic, torture, and war. But there is a battle between light and darkness and I loved seeing that reflect in the characters' actions as they attempted to overcome the darkness with light.

The story is brilliant! I loved the twists and even though I knew that this was a Snow White story, I didn't know what was coming next or how key elements of the famous fairy-tale would be interwoven into this fresh new take. 

Because this is a short story, it did move a lot faster than I would have liked. There was one aspect to the story that held all the promise for a fearsome battle, but it was resolved in just a few short pages with almost no consequences, so it was just slightly disappointing.

However, Fairest Son as a whole is an excellent story. Beautifully written and intricately cared for even as a short story, so I am certainly looking forward to more works from this author *fingers crossed for a full-length novel*! 

So overall, I give Fairest Son 4 out of 5 stars and do warn readers that the torture present and dark themes may disturb some readers. 

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

This is a Review.

mudder17's review

Go to review page


This is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale and at first I thought it was just a gender reversal since "Snow White" is a faerie prince. But it was so much more than that. Although there are very similar elements to the original tale--the prince lives with 7 goblins, the huntswoman is ordered to kill the prince, etc.--there were added elements of a prophecy and the death fairy as well as other small details. I love the author's writing style and I am so glad I took a chance on her [b:Moonscript|50433328|Moonscript|H.S.J. Williams||75402641] ARC! She's a very talented writer and I look forward to future books from her!

alyssa_hollingsworth's review

Go to review page


I think this is a book young!me would have absolutely gobbled up, so I'm giving it an extra star for that. This novella (or--at least, it's short enough to be a novella?) is a very interesting twist on Snow White, with characters that hook you in even though the story goes by fast. The setting and descriptions are often lovely. Like I said, I could feel 12-year-old-me bouncing up and down in constant delight through the whole thing.

Old!me is more annoying. As a reader, omniscient 3rd person just is not my favorite narration style, and there were multiple times where I felt the story would have benefited from a detailed, close point of view just from our two main leads (Keeva and Idris). Though the flowery language of the book didn't bother me most of the time, if I wasn't reading with younger!me's nostalgic filter the passive voice would have been very difficult to look past. The villain was at times cliched (especially at the end)--the hero at times too on-the-nose as a Christ figure. The pacing moved very fast for me, especially in the relationship department. Perhaps that's fitting for the length of the novel, though. I did believe in the romance, but think I would have shipped it more if I was given more time to feel the characters growing together. The constant shift in terminology (fey, faerie, fair folk, seelie) was sometimes perplexing. There were a few formatting errors (paragraph breaks missing or incorrect ellipses). Yadda yadda. Boring things brought on by an over-analytical mind.

So, in the end, I was entertained for a few hours. It made me smile and sometimes my throat got tight. If I was the book's editor, I'd probably write a dissertation of ideas--but as a reader who just happened upon the book, I was not disappointed.

emma14's review

Go to review page


Me: (about the original Snow White) Even a 5 years old is more intelligent that this girl, like, seriously, so naïve and annoying, just choke whit an apple

flaffa's review

Go to review page



What a delightful little story!

This was very interesting because it is a retelling of Snow White with swapped genders, but it can also be an allegory for Christ. Whether you are a believer or not, I think this made the book even better because it added a deeper layer to the story, as well as intertextuality. It's very clever.

The characters were complex and interesting, despite the short lenght of the book and the author did a really good job in capturing real goodness with her character, which ties in with the allegory present in this story.

This book was overall very well crafted. The story didn't feel too short or too underdeveloped. It was just right and I really enjoyed the writing style. This was beautiful and unique. It's a gem of a book and I'm glad I found it.