Maggie's Reviews > Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
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May 28, 08

bookshelves: lis-565, chapter-books, juvenile-fiction, other, fantasy

CIP: "In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her."

Maggie: A charming twist on the traditional Cinderella tale led by a strong female protagonist. I was surprised by much much I enjoyed this story. Levine is a talented writer with a wonderful sense of humor which comes across fabulously in her characterization of Ella. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Horn Book: "Cursed at birth with the gift of obedience by an irresponsible fairy, Ella is powerless to resist the commands of others. Expert characterization and original ideas enliven this novelization of 'Cinderella.' Built around the traditional elements of the fairy tale and at times limited by those restraints, the retelling boasts an admirable heroine who discovers her inner strength by combating her greatest weakness."

SLJ: "Gr 5-8-The "Cinderella" story is the jumping-off point for an original novel that nevertheless remains grounded in the traditional fairy tale. The plot turns upon a most unwelcome gift, bestowed on Ella at birth by the foolish fairy Lucinda: Ella must always be obedient no matter what the command. When her mother dies, Ella's life takes a definite turn for the worse. She soon meets Dame Olga and her two disagreeable daughters, who will obviously become the wicked stepsisters. There is much of this story to unfold before that happens, however. Ella becomes a good friend of Prince Char, heir apparent to the throne; is sent off to finishing school; and goes on a journey among ogres and giants in search of Lucinda in the hope of having her gift rescinded. When Ella and Prince Char are about to declare their love for one another, she realizes that she could endanger the entire kingdom and she renounces her feelings for him. How these difficulties resolve themselves into a "happily ever after" ending makes for absorbing reading. Ella is a delightful young woman, bright, witty, and resourceful. Prince Char is everything a good prince should be yet comes off as a credible character. The stepmother and sisters are appropriately avaricious, mean-spirited, and selfish. Like Robin McKinley's Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978) and Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (Dutton, 1996), this is a rich and creative retelling of a fairy tale. It is lighter in tone than those novels, however, having more in common with the fractured fairy tales of William Brooke. A thoroughly enchanting novel that deepens and enriches the original tale."


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