Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Length: 232 pages
Description (Back Cover): How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.
This review is spoiler free! (Other than a ship that starts out right at the beginning, and maybe some little things about characters.)
First of all, it’s a fairytale retelling!
In case you didn’t know, I love fairytale retellings, (in fact my NaNo novel was one) so I always jump excitedly at the recommendations. In the case of Ella Enchanted, I know some bloggers have been raving about it, but hah Kiwi’s memory. Anyway, to those who recommended it: YES THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella. The awesome thing is though, it doesn’t really give you the idea of any similarities to Cinderella until around half way through the book! And I quite liked this, as the whole story wasn’t just about the retelling, although the fairytale similarities were fantastic. The story isn’t only about the fairytale. In fact, it’s a lot more about Ella’s curse of obedience, that was meant to be a gift from a fairy. Throughout the story, Ella desperately wants to get rid of the curse, and tries to find ways to resist to follow orders.
It never works though, not for the most part.
I really enjoyed this book. Like a lot.
The characters were all absolutely fantastic. As in, not all of them were great and everything, but they were fantastic by all having personalities, and doing what they should do. Which is make the book as awesome as they are. They weren’t flat, and they had their own opinions. *SQUEES* AND CHARACTER ARCS.
Ella, who is the protagonist has a vague character arc, and perhaps the vagueness made it more enjoyable. The worse thing to a flat character without an arc, is probably a very unrealistic arc. I really enjoyed Ella as the narrator. Surprisingly, when reading, sometimes I wish that the narrator/protagonist is someone else. A lot of the time the protagonist seems extremely flat, and the more interesting characters are not as important. (Though sometimes it’s the other way round.) Ella, like I said, wasn’t like that. It was great fun having the story told from her point of view, and after all, it is mainly about her.
Prince Charmont (or rather Char) was also quirky and fun, but also Prince-like. It can get annoying when a Royal character seems too un-Royaly.Ella and him made a great ship, and it didn’t seem forced and horrible like quite a few ships turn out to be, in other books.
Mandy, the cook and Ella’s fairy godmother was also an awesome character. She was kind and really cared about Ella, and it was genuine. She also had a great sense of humour.
The friendship between Ella and Areida was nice as well, although I wished that it was shown through more of the book; as the time they spent together that was described was incredibly brief.
The other slightly minor characters, such as Hattie and Olive, who end up to be closer to Ella than she would have liked, aren’t as likeable, but aren’t flat. And that’s all I care about. (Well not really, about they were proper characters, not just names that speak.)
I loved the different types of creatures in the book, and the various languages.
There were giants, ogres, and elves! And fairies that aren’t your stereotypical fairies! Best of all, they all had their own languages that were spoken throughout the book. It didn’t make you confused though, as it’s always put in a certain context for you to understand. In my copy of the book, there were some extras at the back translating each language. I have yet to take a closer look at it, but I can tell you that that aspect of the book is fantastic.
Ella was great at languages, and Prince Char was not. She managed to charm the horrible ogres the way they were able to charm humans (then eat them), and she was able to understand and pick up on languages extremely quickly.
Later on in the book, I was reminded of some Classics.
I couldn’t even put down which ones they were, but I think it was some books in the Anne of Green Gables Series, and perhaps Jane Eyre, as well. It’ll be hard to say without giving away spoilers, but I’ll just say there were letters that stretched on for quite a while.
Which ended in a plot twist of sorts.
Which made you scream ‘No!’ but was for the better of the book.
Ella Enchanted is a fairly easy read, and most would list it as MG fiction.
Not my library though, who put it under Young Adult Fiction. Anyway, it is an easy read, and quite a short book, as well. It’s a good novel though, and the length was fitting. However, there were some parts that could have been longer. Some parts of the book seemed extremely fast paced, while other parts were much slower.
The ending was sweet, and somewhat satisfying, but I think I would have liked a slight minor twist, as well.
I would have also liked a little more explanation of things (no details as for spoilers), but overall, as you can probably tell from the general excitement of this review, I really enjoyed this awesome retelling.