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Enchantress from the Stars (Elana #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,049 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Elana's father has been sent on a top-secret mission to save the planet Andrecia from destruction, and Elana is determined to be part of the adventure. But when she stows away on her father's starship, Elana steps into more danger and excitement than she bargained for --- especially after she meets Georyn, a native with unusual powers. Can Elana and Georyn combine magic, t ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published 1993 by Troll Associates (first published February 1st 1970)
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Oct 28, 2008 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
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!
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.
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
Lisa Zigue
Uma obra de ficção maravilhosa que me empolgou pela sua simplicidade no desenrolar da história, conseguindo apesar disso uma riqueza visionária e profundidade de reflexões e pensamentos através das personagens apaixonantes.

Cada uma delas poderia explorar e ilustrar vários dos aspectos da consciência humana, em várias das suas perspectivas, unindo-se com grande sensibilidade numa cadeia de eventos, manifestos a seu tempo (e não antes), potenciando assim uma expansão de entendimento sobre a essênc
Jul 24, 2014 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 14+
Recommended to Sarah by: Sonlight
This has got to be one of the most interesting and unique books I've read in a long time. Although this is technically a sci-fi novel, the planet that the characters go to has a fantasy-type culture, making this the perfect meld between my two favorite genres.

There are three main characters, and the story is told from all three perspectives. Although that is relatively common, what makes it special in this book is the different levels of knowledge of each character. Georyn, an inhabitant of the
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
I think had I encountered this book for the first time at age 12 I would have adored it. As-is, it's sweet and touching (and the unusual structure is pulled off amazingly well), but it doesn't really have the depth to capture my adult heart. Solutions come too easily; people behave, always, as predicted. There are also some very dated aspects that make it obvious the book was written in the 70s. (Engdahl was clearly heavily influenced by the John Campbell era of science fiction, for example; psi ...more
Kate Hastings
Nov 13, 2007 Kate Hastings rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Missi Brough
I just COULD NOT get into this book. It took all my patience to get through this book.
Lia Marcoux
I have a STRONG suspicion that I was meant to be improved by this. This is a book about (several levels of) wise and kindly parents who guide good and obedient children to the right choice. It also posits that evolution goes in a straight line to a defined goal. It turns out, everything is always for the best because an all-knowing force says so, so that's convenient, thanks guys! Even the story-within-a-story, about Georyn, is about a guy who is always trusting and grateful ping-ponging across ...more
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
Which do you prefer, fantasy or science fiction?

In Enchantress from the Stars, first published in 1970, Sylvia Engdahl gives us both: a fantasy story of three brothers who try to slay a dragon with the help of an enchantress and a sorcerer, and science fiction about three anthropologists from an advanced race of humans that travel to a less developed planet to help the locals resist colonization.

It's clear from the beginning that these two stories are actually the same story, but told from such
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
Kelley Ceccato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Although I'm best known as an author for Young Adults, my four newest novels, Stewards of the Flame, Promise of the Flame, Defender of the Flame, and Herald 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 h ...more
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