By: Orson Scott Card
Challenge: Once Upon a Time
Published: 1999
# of pages: 387
Quote: "And as for getting baptized, well, history was littered with the bodies of people who didn't find quite the right way of saying no thanks to a fervent evangelist with a sword." -Ivan pp. 89-90
Official description:
As one of the most consistently exciting writers to emerge in the last twenty-five years, Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create. Now, in Enchantment, Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.

The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm.

Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest--or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy's fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.

This time he does not run. This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss . . . and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.

A rich tapestry of clashing worlds and cultures, Enchantment is a powerfully original novel of a love and destiny that transcend centuries . . . and the dark force that stalks them across the ages.

My opinion: This novel was a little slow in the middle and I felt that some of the characters were unnecessary, or at least the way they were written was unnecessary. However, I always enjoy a retelling of a fairy tale and this was no exception. It was unique and I liked the Russian setting. The book as a whole didn't live up to its potential, but it's still worth reading, especially if you are a fan of fairy tales retold.
Something that I did enjoy is how this book is made up of so many different genres. Fantasy, fairy tale, historical fiction, magical realism.... There's also an interesting mix of religion, myths, magic, and folklore. As a Christian myself it was hard to understand why anyone would seriously mix magic and Christianity (if magic is/was even real), but I think that's exactly what happened when Christianity was first introduced to many countries. Not with magic exactly, but myths and things perceived as magic were mixed with Christianity.
I don't want to make it sound like this book is full of religion or is offensive to religious people because it really isn't. But that's just one thing I found interesting in a good way and is one reason I am recommending it.
Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Neat setting and retelling, but not the best character development and pace.
Other reviews:
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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Anonymous said...

I agree this one slowed down in spots, and didn't have the best character development. Such a fasinating premise, but some problems too. I enjoyed the last portion more when it focused in on the fight with Baba Yaga. I think that gave the book a lot more drive.

I reviewed this about a month ago, if you want another review to link to. :)

Andrea said...

Thanks for telling me about your review! I put it on this post. I also love your blog and will be visiting it regularly. :-)

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