Mattel has done it again. They continue to produce high quality doll lines with exquisite detail and high grade fashion, mixed with top-notch aesthetic execution. If you’ve seen any of the Monster High dolls (or watched the webisodes online), you’ll see similarities in the quality of the dolls as well. No big surprise since Mattel launched Ever After High (or EAH for simplicity) as a spin-off web series to Monster High, but I’m pleased they are holding the line on what makes up quality dolls. Both doll lines are fantastic. They specialize in detail and quality in all the key doll features: clothes, hair, and accessories. Now it comes down to, do you like monsters or fairy tales? (I like both!)
Raven is a conflicted teenager trying hard not to follow the conformity of fairy tale Tradition. She is met with pressure by faculty members and peers at EAH to be the next “Evil Queen”. Raven’s own friend, Apple White (daughter of “Snow White”), prods her constantly to follow the path of evil. But Raven does not desire to be evil like her mother, and wants to create her own “happily ever after”, regardless of her family’s infamous destiny. Apple continues to pressure Raven in order to preserve her own destiny, for without the next “Evil Queen”, how will Apple achieve her own future? Someone has to poison the apple, or do they?
Hair, face, & makeup:
In the EAH webisodes, Raven Queen’s character is modeled as the daughter of the Evil Queen (you know, from Snow White). And as you can see, she looks the part. The doll is a very good likeness to the character from the webisdoes. Her hair is an especially grand feature. From the front, her plum purple highlights cascade around her face and arms. Incidentally, why is purple a color commonly used for villains? *shrug* Still, it’s a beautiful color.
From the back, you’ll see there is a plethora of raven black hair with the purple highlights pulled back in a crown around her head. The hair is soft, silky, and shiny. The hair also has a nice weight to it, not dry or frizzy. Most likely it is made of the preferred saran doll hair, also used in other Mattel dolls like Barbie and Monster High. I really love the look of Raven’s hair. Overall, I tend to prefer dolls with straight hair due to their manageability in brushing, styling, and storing.
Between Ever After High and Monster High dolls, the only distinguishable difference I notice is the shape and size of the heads. EAH dolls tend to look wider and have broader features compared to their counterpart Monster High doll line. I would go as far as to call them rotund or cherubic. I think they look more child-like, and maybe that plays into the “fairy tales are for kids” mindset. It’s a different look from the Monster High faces, but still pretty in its own way. However, I did notice that the male doll, Hunter, has a more proportional face compared to the female dolls. As accuracy goes, it’s hard to tell how close or far off the size of the doll head is exactly. Depending upon what angle you see Raven appear in the webisodes, the character may look proportional or cherubic. In general, it does seem like the designers are going for a more round face even in the webisode artwork.
Raven’s skin is a fair peach shade. Not tan, like Cedar Wood, but just a shade darker than the pale ivory of Apple White. Her makeup is very clean and accurate, as most Mattel dolls are. No blemishes or mistakes that I can see. Raven’s irises are light violet, surrounded by a spray of fine black eyelashes and pink-purple eyeshadow that extends slightly beneath her eyes. As with most Mattel dolls, I like the sue of the elegant eyebrows. The dolls seem to have a bolder expression when the eyebrows are done right. Lastly, the lipstick is a darker shade of purple, very similar to the plum color of her hair. There are three tiny silver dots on the bottom lip, giving the impression of a high gloss lipstick shine? Nice afterthought.
To simplify things, I will focus first on Raven’s bodice top, skirt, leggings, and shoes, then I’ll touch on her other accoutrements in the “Accessories” category. Underneath her accessories, this doll has a shimmery black top (or bodice?). If you look closely, it has a net-like texture similar to that of the compound eye structure of many insects, like dragonflies. That’s fitting of the Evil Queen’s daughter I’d say.
The skirt really shines as the primo piece of this outfit. In its entirety, the skirt is a high-low style, longer in the back and shorter in the front. It has three layers, the first and outermost layer being of a smooth patterned fabric. If storing this doll, watch how you handle this piece of the skirt for it does wrinkle a bit. This layer features a gothic but elegant black trim. There is a gradation of color on this skirt layer, starting on top in light purple and ending on the bottom in a darker plum. The second and middle layer of the skirt is made of a sheer light purple fabric. The third and bottom-most layer is similar, only exhibiting that darker plum color I’ve seen used in this doll’s color theme. These last two sheer layers also ruffle out underneath the top layer.
The leggings are fairly simple–black fishnet tights covering her from waist to toes. The shoes upon first inspection seemed rather dull to me. Boot-like shape, open-toed wedges, and some silver straps. Not much to see here, right?… at least at first glance. The designers went to greater lengths to insert yet more “evil queen” theme into these seemingly boring shoes. The silver straps are actually chains. Nice “bad girl” touch, even if Raven isn’t evil in the webisodes. The heel of the shoes is made up of what appears to be scales, possibly a dragon? Another evil theme? And last, the wedge and outline of the shoe are covered in feathers, hence the name “Raven”. I am impressed.
This girl has lot of fun accessories, always a plus in the doll creating business. Working our way down from the head to the toes, I’ll start off with the crown. It’s your typical evil-looking spiked crown which accentuates the widow’s peak of her forehead. Another stereotypically evil characteristic, ha, but that’s what I love about these themed dolls. And as with her other accessories, it matches the silver of this character’s color theme.
That high collar reeks of evil flavor. Plenty of villains wore the royal high collar to look superior, mighty, and regal. This silver collar flares out on either side of her head and changes into a drapery of feathers across her shoulders. There is a different pattern on the inside and outside of the collar, but it is hard to see when Raven’s hair is draped over her shoulders. There is a brooch centered over her chest, dark purple in color and oval-shaped with two silver chains hanging below.
Her belt is fairly without adornment. Also silver in color to match the rest of Raven’s theme. The belt is hooked together as two pieces, each one connected on the sides of her waist. They are connected together in the center with what appears to be linked chains and an indistinguishable shape hanging at its end. A key? Skull? There is an antique pattern on the sides of the belt, hard telling if it’s medieval or Celtic or something in between.
The bracelet Raven wears is stunning. It’s a nicely molded accessory. Very detailed for such a small piece. I love how the creators of the EAH doll line felt compelled to treat each piece with attention and detail. Let’s hope this never changes for future dolls of this series. Event though it is one solid piece, it appears that the Raven doll is wearing four bangles and the last bracelet connects to a ring holding a purple brooch, very similar to the brooch on her collar. These brooches may be small mirrors, as in the Evil Queen’s mirror of Snow White. This ring brooch rests perfectly over her ring and middle fingers. Chains seem to be another theme of her outfit, due to the stereotypical traits of her character in the series. Just as back story, Raven is a rebel who is constantly fighting her destiny (The Tradition)) to be the next Evil Queen, so perhaps she feels chained? How’s that for philosophical?
In Raven’s left hand she holds an elegant black wallet (clutch, purse?) dotted in tiny black studs. On the front is another oval-shaped emblem, a mirror, elaborate in detail and so fitting her future destiny of vanity. Oh Mirror, Mirror, on the wall… The handle of the wallet is cleverly detailed, just like the silver mirror. It is a pair of silver wings and in between what looks like a raven’s head.
Last there is the stand and the brush, both done in a silver tone. I included them as accessories because both are of high quality, more so than ordinary doll stands or brushes. Both have the EAH logo, or a piece of the logo, brandished on the facing. This particular silver stand is primarily for “Rebel” students at Ever After High (gold is seen more often with “Royal” EAH students). The shape of the stand’s base is the exact logo in its entirety. The brush is done very well and is in the shape of a key. It’s all part of the “unlock your own destiny” theme of this franchise. The key shape and detailing are fairly ornate. It’s a great accessory piece to add to the doll line. A very clever memento to throw in.
As with Monster High, the Ever After High dolls all have a great range of articulation–eleven points to be exact. However, with Hunter Huntsman I have found that he has two additional points of articulation, one in each of his ankles. So generally, the female dolls seem to be missing the ankle joints, but high heels come at a sacrifice I suppose. Speaking of which, with a greater number of articulation points comes the problem of loose joints. There are usually at least one or two joints that have been loose in about half of my EAH dolls. I’ve noticed posing can be a problem, especially trying to balance an item on the arms. The degree to which the joints can turn is high. Some joints like the elbow and wrist can pivot in 360 degrees. Others like the knee turn side to side, about 180 degrees. The neck can twist 360 as well of course, but when it comes to up and down movement it is very limited. Bummer.
And also due to the similarity of the Monster High dolls, clothes and even body parts can generally be exchanged between the two doll lines. I have heard depending on the mold type this may not always be the case. Some dolls are a little broader, taller, or shorter and this can make a difference in whether a shirt fits or an arm is proportional to the doll’s height. As far as I can tell, this Raven Queen doll is an average doll in the series standing at approximately 10.5 inches. She is not of the shorter female model (like Madeline Hatter or Lizzie Hearts) and is not of the taller model (like Cerise Hood or Duchess Swan).
Interested in Raven Queen’s friendly rival? See the doll review link below for “Apple White”!