Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)

Alethea Kontis

Publication Date: May 8th 2012

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

Pages: 308

Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Young Adult

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?
I have a hard time resisting a fairytale adaptation, this is a well known fact.

It's even harder for me to resist when more than one fairytale is woven into a story, as is the case with Enchanted. This book sets up as a retelling of the "Frog Prince" with the mention of a rhyme (the sisters' names) and the adventurous eldest brother, Jack, who is the hero of so many tales, but as since disappeared (assumed dead).

But, where the "Frog Prince" ends is where the real story begins.

What I really enjoyed about this tale the most is how simple and one-dimensional things started, only to watch the characters and plot develop and become something deeper, something more. Everything happened in this story for a reason, every scene, every character trait. I am impressed by how non-wasteful the writing is.

The characters are all unique, enjoyable and memorable. I had no trouble telling them apart while reading despite the amount of them (7 Sisters, 2 Brothers, Parents, Godmothers, Royalty...).

A couple of less than perfect things: Rumbold, our male protagonist, does seem to be quite a bit more developed than Sunday. I wish she had a bit more to her, but then again she's rather young and he's been through quite a bit more. The other thing is the romance. The fact that they fell in love over more than just one fairytale helped, but sometimes I felt like the two of them were a bit awkward about their reactions, especially Sunday.

I highly recommend this to lovers of fairytale adaptations. I also recommend it to lovers of good world building and layered storytelling. A warning I have is not to stop if things are too fluffy and simplistic at first, it gets complex, I swear.



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