Friday, May 29, 2015

Enchanted - Althea Kontis

Title: Enchanted
Author: Althea Kontis
Publication Date: 5/8/12
Pages: 308
Date Completed: 4/13/15

Summary: This new fairy tale follows the youngest of the seven Woodcutter daughters, Sunday, as she meets a frog, kisses him, ends up in love with a prince, and entangled in the tricky realms of both family and kingdom politics.

What I Thought: This book was so cute! I realize that may not be the ideal word Kontis would choose to describe her work, but it fits! Kontis mentions in her dedication that her mother encouraged her to write a new fairy tale and she has lived up to their expectations here.

The book follows the story of the Woodcutter family, of which Sunday is the youngest child. She is the seventh daughter, a fact her family recognizes and particularly special. They live in a magical kingdom, yet Kotnis somehow makes their lives seem pleasantly ordinary. You would think the story of a girl who talks to frogs and has a magical journal yet finds herself bored and feeling trapped in the ordinary would be difficult to accept. Kontis really marries the magical with the ordinary quite convincingly. 

The plot does, however, get too complicated at times. Once all the story lines are charging ahead full steam, there seems to be too much going on. While plenty of fairy tales have complex ideas or messages, most are fairly simple. The book would have been improved by scaling back some of the twists and turns and delivering a more straight forward plot. It would not need to be scaled back much, just by one degree. If Kontis had simply removed one element, one piece of the puzzle, I think the whole book would have seem more polished and resounded with stronger clarity.

In general, however, I found the book quite charming. If you are looking for a twisted fairy tale, there are some elements here, but it is really more of a reinvention than a twist on old ideas, like Cinder and other similar works. Kontis really did do a wonderful job stretching imagination and creating a new world that feels old and familiar. I credit her for that. 

On a largely unrelated note, does anyone else think the cover girl looks like Hermione/Emma Watson circa the early years of Harry Potter

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Read the Rest of the Series: Still undecided. Maybe in time.
If You Liked This Try: Dealing with Dragons / The Phantom Tollbooth / Eragon 

A Reduced Review: Fun, light-hearted, and a bit quirky, this imaginative twist on fairy tale ideas and stories makes for a quick, 'enchanting' read.

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