Book Review: Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted

Char’s anger at his tutor would be nothing compared with this. He would hate me until the end of the world.

Given the “gift” of obedience at birth by a foolish fairy, Ella has no choice but to obey every command given her. Even a command to harm herself would have to be followed. Ella lives a happy life despite the curse until her mother dies. Her father, who cares only for money, sends her off to finishing school. Ela is miserable as her natural clumsiness clashes with her need to obey. When a ill-humored classmate discovers her secret and uses it against her, Ella flees. But as long as the curse remains, she cannot outrun the danger. What will happen when the prince Ella has come to love and perhaps the entire kingdom hang in the balance?

I don’t read very many fairy tale retellings, but I seem to have a pattern for the ones I do read. For both this story and Beauty, I didn’t care much for the first half but really enjoyed the second half. In this book, I felt the author was trying too hard to establish a fantasy world. The fantasy creatures seemed tacked on. The second half, where the story became recognizable as Cinderella was where I was drawn in and began to really care what happened. My main caution is that the “curse” of obedience does shed a slightly negative light on obedience in general. It worked well for the story, but is definitely something that should not be taken lightly.

What do you consider the pros and cons of this story? How do you feel about a positive ideal like obedience being turned, in a logical way, into a curse?

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5 Comments

  1. Emily Ruth

     /  September 21, 2013

    Cons would be the parents, and pretty much any adult in this book. Levine dislikes healthy relationships between children and their parents (especially fathers). For pros, I would say everything else in the story. Cinderella has always been one of my all-time favorite fairytales, and I really love this adaptation/adventure. For all of her anti-parent outlook, Levine is definitely my favorite living author.

    Reply
    • Though Ella does get along well with her mother. What are some of your other favorites from Levine, Emily?

      Reply
      • Emily Ruth

         /  September 26, 2013

        I love The Two Princesses of Bamarre”, “Fairest”, “Disney Fairies”, her twisted fairy tales, and almost everything she’s written. Even a book I read by her that I loathed was written REALLY well.

        Reply
      • Emily Ruth

         /  September 26, 2013

        True, she does get along with her mother, but at the time of the book, her mother is dead. And when she was alive, she wasn’t much of a mother, more of a “buddy”.

        Reply
  2. I really enjoyed this book… all the way through. Maybe I don’t have a very good reason, but I’ve grown up with it, and I love the characters. Some of the creatures are tacked on, like you said, but over all, the interesting story plot and characters I think are a win. I’ve read some of Levine’s other work, mostly shorter stories about other fairy tales, but with a twist. Nothing incredible stunning about it, but I do find them amusing and entertaining.

    Reply

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