Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Childrens, Fantasy, Magic, Fairy Tale
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 Stars
Summary: In a magical kingdom called Kyrria, Ella of Frell lives under a foolish fairy’s spell. Meant to be a gift of obedience, given at birth, Ella is cursed to obey any order given her whether it be to hop on one foot or to chop off her own head. When her mother dies, she is ripped from a blossoming friendship with Prince Char and sent to finishing school at the mercy of her new stepsisters who discover her secret and use it against her. Adventure ensues as she tries to escape and find the fairy Lucinda who is believed to be the only one who can lift the spell.
I feel like I say this about a lot of books, but Ella Enchanted is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a children’s book and it is amazing. Who doesn’t love a twist on a classic story? Here we have Cinderella, complete with evil stepmother and stepsisters, fairy godmother, and Prince Charming. (His name is even Char…though it’s short for Charmont, but close enough. He’s definitely charming). In this book, we take the idea of a girl not being in control of her own destiny to a whole new extreme – she literally is under a spell that FORCES her to obey.
Ella is immediately likeable which is good since we’re in first person from her point of view. Though her situation often seems hopeless, she will always put up a fight and in the end proves just how selfless she can be and how strong her love for her prince and her country really are.
The writing is simple, but elegant and well done. The fantasy world is interesting without being too detailed in a way that we can fill in any gaps with our own imaginations. This world is set up in a traditional medieval style with kings and queens and lords and ladies. There are many groups of magical creatures like elves, gnomes, giants, centaurs, and ogres. Each have their own language which Ella has a gift for to communicate with them. Her adventures with them are interesting enough, but the real heart of the story is of course the romance.
The love that Ella and Char share is just adorable and very real. You can feel it through the pages as their friendship develops and they communicate through letters – leading up to Char professing his love and Ella realizing that she can’t have him. She’s cursed and anyone could order her to do anything – to kill him, to ruin the kingdom. Her pain is so real as she writes him a horrible letter about marrying a rich, old man that she knows will make him hate her. But she does it anyway, knowing that she has to do it to protect him from herself. But she can’t resist going to see him one more time at the ball….
With the help of her fairy godmother/cook/best friend Mandy, they eventually teach Lucinda – the fairy who cast the spell – a lesson ala Moody turning Malfoy into a ferret. But in the end it is Ella who must find her own strength to break the spell.
I find this book to be completely adorable, a fascinating and creative story, and just an all around great read when you just need something light and fluffy. And we all have days when we need to put down the serious stuff and have something cute instead. This review is short, but so is the book. There’s really not much more to say – no deep meanings, no life-altering realizations – just fun and cute. Both very good things, I think.
Just whatever you do, do NOT attempt to watch the movie they made of this. A gross misrepresentation. Don’t even bother.
-Interesting twist on an old fairy tale
-Easy to read, whimsical style
-Nothing really – is definitely written for children though
If you need something fun and easy to read – this is it. Definitely one of my favorites that I’ve gone back to again and again. Simply…enchanting 🙂
P.S. I would also strongly recommend Fairest which takes place in the same world, but with a twist on Snow White. Also really, really good.