Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Enchanting by Alethea Kontis

Author: Alethea Kontis
Release date: May 8, 2012
Published by: Harcourt Children's Books
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like all things fairy tale, then this is the story for you!

Sunday Woodcutter lives in a fairytale world. One day she discovers a talking frog at a well in the Wood. She and Grumble, the frog, develop a strong relationship because Grumble loves to hear Sunday’s stories and be reminded of what it was like to be a man, while Sunday gets to share her family stories with someone instead of just writing them in her notebook.

Soon, as strange as it may sound, Sunday falls in love with Grumble. Throughout their short relationship she has tried the “kiss” in order to help him out of his enchantment. Eventually their love for each other is strong enough to break it. Unfortunately, on the day that the kiss works, a storm blows in and Sunday has to rush off. She assumes the kiss, just as all the previous kisses, doesn’t work. But lo-and-behold, on the ground lies a man and he is a Prince! From that point forward, the story becomes entangled in fairytale elements as the Prince tries to make his true love aware of his transformation and attain the happily-ever-after they deserve.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story. I can’t say that it was one I jumped right into and couldn’t put down—I could—but it was worth the read. The reason I struggled with it, at first, was because I felt like Alethea Kontis, the author, was trying to shove too many fairy tale references into the first 50 pages. Sunday’s whole family is involved in one fairy tale after another. I also had trouble connecting with Sunday as a character. I felt like she was shallowly developed, so it took me longer to care about what happened to both her and the Prince. I was probably about half-way through the story before I really cared if I finished it or not.

I’ll give you a hint about why the half-way mark worked for me: all of a sudden, there is an evil-ish godmother who could ruin the happily-ever-after; plus, you learn something unique about the Woodcutter family (and, no, I’m not going to tell you and spoil it!). Then the action and intrigue begin—oh, my. Suddenly, things start coming together and the excitement builds as Sunday attends the balls hosted by the royal family. And I was very satisfied with the ending—very action-packed AND romantic!

In the end, the plot worked for me, even if the characters weren’t as fleshed-out as I like. Maybe there were just too many characters—I did learn something about every single one of Sunday’s 12-person family (plus, all the people in the Prince’s world), but I think I would have been happy with fewer characters (or minor details) and more detail focused on the main characters. Oh well, as every fairy tale I’ve ever read has taught me, sometimes stories are tricky!

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