Enchantress from the Stars (Elana, #1)
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Enchantress from the Stars (Elana #1)

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,881 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Elana, a member of an interstellar civilization on a mission to a medieval planet, becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back an invasion. How can she help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, without revealing her own alien powers? At the same time, Georyn, the son of an Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a dragon in the enchanted...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 24th 2003 by Firebird (first published February 1st 1970)
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Sylvia
Oct 28, 2008 Sylvia marked it as written  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my best-known novel. Though often given to children as young as the 6th grade because it was a Newbery Honor book, it is really intended for teens and is also enjoyed by many adults
Brenda Clough
When I was a young teen I found this book in the early 70s, in the shipboard library on the USS Woodrow Wilson. I was utterly enthralled, and saved up until I could buy my own copy -- my very first hardback fiction purchase! I still have that volume, which introduced me to SF and probably got me where I am today. Yes, it's that good!
Sylvia
Dec 19, 2007 Sylvia marked it as written  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is my best-known novel. Though often given to children as young as the 6th grade because it was a Newbery Honor book, it is really intended for teens and is also enjoyed by many adults.
Valerie
I actually have two editions of this. This book is one I like to reread. I like the language, and the raising of issues about who qualifies as 'human' (for example).

But I often don't agree with the arguments. I don't accept that loyalty and adherence to 'irrevocable' committments are good behavior. It's taken me a lot of wrestling with my conscience to get to this point. This book made me reconsider--and I came to the same conclusion, after seriously considering the arguments.

Loyalty, by defini...more
Olga Godim
This sci-fi book is simultaneously incredibly naïve and incredibly arrogant. It describes a clash of three cultures, each in a different stage of social and scientific development.
The Federation is a highly evolved, space-faring civilization. They’re so evolved, they are telepathic. They don’t wage war or conquer the less-developed societies. Instead, they travel among the populated worlds and study them. The protagonist, a student Elana, belongs to this society of peaceful explorers. Their man...more
Kim
I read about this young adult fiction in the Chinaberry catalog. It's a Newberry Honor Book that had been out of print.

What a delightful book -- full of mythology and symbolism and right vs. wrong dilemmas. Elana is a stowaway on a Federation Anthropological Service mission headed by her father. They go to a "youngling" world to try to stop interference from another society invading the planet. Elana becomes the key to the mission, and it's fraught with dangers and difficult decisions. Elana's...more
Josiah
"Your feelings for a person who has come to mean something to you colors all your memories, so that you can't describe them effectively."

—Elana, "Enchantress from the Stars", PP. 68-69

"If we don't approach this with warmth and compassion and faith in these people as human beings, we haven't a chance of succeeding."

—Elana's father, "Enchantress from the Stras", P. 72

I find myself stunned into near disbelief by just how enormously powerful and incredibly good is this book. "Enchantress from t...more
Jo
The well known story goes like this: a dragon begins to terrorize the land and the king sends forth his strongest warriors. When his warriors fail, he sets forth a decree that any who slays the dragon shall be rewarded. To take up this task is a poor woodcutter's youngest son, aided by a beautiful enchantress and a wise old man who give him three tasks and reward him with the magical gift needed to defeat the dragon.

"Enchantress from the Stars" retells this story from the point of view of Elana,...more
Archy
As someone who has watched way too much Star Trek, this book is basically an exposition on the Prime Directive. Elena is a trainee about to enter the service which protects "younger" civilizations from self-destruction or domination by other species. She becomes entangled in a tricky situation where she must teach Georyn to use his innate psychokinetic powers to fight off the "dragon" of another humanoid species without revealing her true nature. They of course fall in love, which is what gives...more
Janet
I first read this book when I was in the sixth grade, and it changed my life. Not only was this the first science fiction story I'd ever read, it was my introduction to the idea that where you come from shapes how you see and interpret the world.

The story is presented as an intersection of fairy tale and sci-fi adventure, with the medieval residents of the planet Andrecia interpreting the high tech tools of an advanced civilization as a "dragon".

Elana, the story's heroine, is a somewhat rash bu...more
VeeDawn
This is not the best science fiction ever, but I loved the idea of the three levels of development for civilizations and people too: First wonder and believing in the supernatural, second discarding superstition and revering science, and finally the discovery is made that what was termed "supernatural" (or faith) has been perfectly natural all along and is in reality a part of the very science that sought to reject it.
Wealhtheow
Ten to fifteen years after reading this book, I still remember the scene in which the anthropologist-from-the-stars gives the woodcutter-who-believes-in-magic orange soda, and he's like "magic elixer!" Hah! Loved this story of high technology and low meeting--it's kinda a Prime Directive parable.
Tess Given
A great sci-fi book in the same way that "The Giver" by Lois Lowry is. Philosophy, a great boook for pleasure reading or a book report. Some cheesy lines here and there, but it adds to the charm. Its a good book to think about, and dscuss with friends.
Lisa H.
Enchantress from the Stars has the tone and depth of a young adult novel, but the treatment was so unusual it held my interest. It tells portions of the same story from the viewpoints, and in the voices, of three different races: As told by the natives of the unnamed planet setting, it's a fairy tale in which the several sons of a poor woodcutter each go out to defeat the "dragon" that lives on the far side of the Enchanted Wood; in the voice of a colonizing force of space-faring people, it's a...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought this book was very good theoretically, but somehow was missing something in actuality. The concepts about fairy tales, science, and how civilization moves from myth to science to something else beyond- in this particular story telepathic powers- were really fabulous as well as the rigor, rationalization, and practice of leaving less developed civilizations alone. Perhaps it is that the love story seems more of a literary fairy tale while the rest of the book could be a beautifully rend...more
Neil
I know a lot of people really liked this book, especially when they read it as youth - and I have to admit that the story was interesting - I just didn't love it. I did think it was neat that the story was told in turns from the eyes of the three main characters. I just couldn't forge a connection with any of those characters, so I had a hard time caring what happened to them. I found serious flaws with the idea that humanoid sentient life forms were all the universe could manage. (this was neve...more
Colleen
Believable characters, exciting plot, philosophical themes--this book caught my attention. Usually when I choose a book first for its cover, I flip through it, skimming the summary and the author's bio, and then picking a page somewhere in the middle to read. After the dull plot-based book I had tried to read before, this one actually had something to say. It questioned our place in the universe. Well, not ours exactly, but someone's who sounds a lot like us. Three civilizations--one medieval, a...more
Kate Hastings
Nov 13, 2007 Kate Hastings rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 5-9
Shelves: scifi
In the future, a girl has her first assignment as an anthropologist. Her mission is to observe, but not interfere, with a less-developed civilization that is currently in it's medieval phase with knights and dragons.

But the mission becomes more complicated when she discovers another alien species has infiltrated the world and is actively interfering. Can she interfere with the interfer-ers?
Maggie Engstrom
The storytelling in this book is very unique. It is told as both a science fiction novel, years into the future, where civilizations have advanced beyond our comprehension, and as a fantasy novel, sent back years into the past when people believed in dragons and magic. In fact, one of the things I took away from this book was that magic is just science we don't yet understand.

This novel is full of themes and deeper meanings and symbolism, while also being a very entertaining read, and a riveting...more
Missi Brough
I just COULD NOT get into this book. It took all my patience to get through this book.
Eloise
I didn't expect to like this book very much, but I really did. It made me think a lot about our role on earth, technology, and faith. We discussed it in our book group.
Yee-Ning S.
Good young adult book--best for a precocious 9 year old reader to middle school reader. Introduces concepts of symbolism and a wide range of emotions, as well as the all-important concept that there is no true 'good' or 'evil' (actually maybe some adults should read this in order to get that lesson too...)

Excellent introductory book to the realm of science fiction and fantasy. Also introduces non-linear chronological viewpoints, as well as clear jumps between 1st person and 3rd person omniscient...more
Jessica Strider
Pros: brilliant premise, real consequences for actions, realistic viewpoints for the 3 cultures, thought provoking

Cons: Elana’s a bit irritating

Elana is in training to become a member of the Federation’s Anthropological Service when her spaceship is diverted to Andrecia for a crisis. Her father, the most senior member of the service on board is ordered to deal with the situation along with her intended and another member of the service. After sneaking onto the landing shuttle, Elana becomes a ce...more
Kelley Ceccato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aly
This is a sort of a mash-up of a historical/mythic story and sci fi that I found fascinating. Most of the characters are a bit cold (perhaps as an attempt to drive home their futuristic qualities?) and the story is a bit preachy in places (though I agree with what's being preached so it didn't drive me completely nuts). I was so drawn in by the concept of the story, though, that none of the flaws mattered much. It's definitely an intellectual, more than emotional draw, but it completely sucked m...more
Sps
Normally I'm firm on the boundaries between fantasy and science fiction. E.g. no dragons in sf, unless they've evolved in a possible (even if highly unlikely) way.

However, I think Enchantress from the Stars would satisfy fans of both genres, partly because Engdahl tells the tale with three strands: one mythological, one empirical/technocratic, and the third sort of post-rational or rational-plus. So there is a dragon, but the dragon is also a mechanical device controlled by the people who inven...more
Crystal Bryant
It took me a while to finish this book, but, wow. It is one of the most well written books I've read in the last few years. While combining the quintessential elements of both Science Fiction and Fantasy, it wouldn't be out of place in so-called literary fiction, either.

The story is told from three viewpoints, three levels of cultural advancement. Elana is from an advanced culture, capable of telekinesis and telepathy, among other things. Jarel's culture has reached a level of scientific knowle...more
Ann Carpenter
This was a surprisingly philosophical book. Elana wrestles several times with herself over what the best move should be when her gut reaction differs from her ethical code. Yet somehow the moralizing and discussions never seemed didactic or trying to win me over (though they did occasionally go on too long or were repeated once too often. Not a lot, mind you, this was a very well-written book, but it was there.)

In terms of characterization, this book was very finely done. We only ever really kno...more
Jenna St Hilaire
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is simply the beautiful way it’s written. It weaves three unique narratives together, section by section:

* Georyn (pronounced JOR-in), the medieval hero who goes to slay a dragon; his thoughts are written in the language of fairy-tales
* Jarel, the scientist, who alone of his fellow Empire subjects has learned to see the planet's natives as human
* Elana, the very young narrator, who attempts from above-and-beyond to speak for both men as well as herself.

A...more
Brooke
The clash of three very different civilizations is at the heart of Enchantress from the Stars, a science fiction novel that is just as much about magic, mystery, and space exploration as it is about what it means to be human. The trouble all begins when the Imperial Exploration Corp decides to take over yet another planet which they deem to be uncivilized. The citizens of this planet, the Andrecians, believe that their community has been overtaken by a “dragon” and its minions, and plan to defe...more
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Although I'm best known as an author for Young Adults, my three newest novels, Stewards of the Flame, Promise of the Flame, and Defender of the Flame, are not YA books and are not appropriate for middle-school readers. They are enjoyed by people who don't ordinarily read science fiction as well as those who do. For more information about them, watch the video trailer and visit http://www.stewardso...more
More about Sylvia Engdahl...
The Far Side of Evil (Elana, #2) This Star Shall Abide (Children of the Star, #1) Children of the Star (Children of the Star, #1-3) Journey Between Worlds Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains (Children of the Star, #2)

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“People who love each other can no more keep from communicating than from breathing.

—Elana”
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“The human mind is incredible. It can do nothing without belief, yet practically anything with it.
—Elana's father”
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