Amelia, the pragmatic idealist's Reviews > Enchanted

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
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's review
Nov 05, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: ya-kids-teen, alamw12, not-my-type, arcs, disappointing, annoying-characters, 2012, point-of-view-girl
Read from January 28 to 30, 2012

Before reading this review, please keep 3 things in mind:
1. This is JUST my opinion
2. This is JUST my opinion
3. I've had a lot of caffeine tonight, and THIS IS JUST MY OPINION.

Basically, the main word I'd use to describe Enchanted is bizarre. Even before I ultimately decided it wasn't going to get any better and I couldn't care less about the characters, I thought that this was a very bizarre story.

Some fairy-tale retellings are written to sound like extensions of the real story and others are meant to sound revised. "Fractured Fairytales" comes to mind. But Enchanted was like a weird mix of the two. The narrator, a girl named Sunday Woodcutter, had such a blase and matter-of-fact voice that did nothing to elicit any kind of empathy, compassion, or interest in me at all. For crying out loud, she spills her whole family story in the first chapter and talks about how one sister has run away with a pirate and another sister danced herself to death with as much enthusiasm as Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In fact, if Sunday Woodcutter was a real person, I'm guessing her voice would sound similar.
Like I said, Enchanted was bizarre. I mean, within 20 pages I'm reading about a girl who danced herself to death (as an aside, how is that possible? Really? I saw the "Rite of Spring" ballet as a kid and have been pondering that ever since), someone else ran off with a pirate and makes a living raiding ships, someone else got turned into a dog or something... the unbelievability factor was off the charts. And see, I get it. Fairytales are supposed to revolve around circumstances that are unnatural, for lack of a better word. But I've never read a story as flippant and (it appears to me), careless as Enchanted. Most fairytale stories I've read either satirize fairytale elements (including all the extraordinary elements) or they really play them up. But Sunday's narration was just lazy. And just like with Katniss in The Hunger Games series, I reckon that if the character doesn't care, then Nell if I'm going to, either.

The most bizarre part of the story, though, centers around Sunday's relationship with the frog prince (because we all know he's a prince! The synopsis even says so!). The brilliant Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier really raised the bar as far as frog-prince stories are concerned. Whatever I was expecting, it was not for Sunday to realize, almost immediately, that this little frog is a human. And certainly it wasn't for her to decide, after a grand total of TWO DAYS, that this little frog person was the bestest best friend she's ever had, her eternal soul-mate, and the only person who understands me, dawgonnit! It was unbe-freaking-lievable.
The reason behind the transformation of Prince_____ (forgot his name) is the sloppiest, most bizarre thing I've ever read. And I don't mean bizarre in a Tim Burton sort of way. I mean bizarre in a practically-incoherent sort of way.
(view spoiler)
And never, ever have I encountered a character in a farytale retelling like Prince Prurient. I don't even remember his real name - The main objection I had to the Prince, in terms of his characterization, had to do with the inclusion of what I'd call "major" innuendo, considering the story's target audience. I have been told by a reliable source that these passages were edited out of the final copy. I'm going to leave my notes just for the sake of clarity, but because they refer to the ARC copy, I'm going to give them a strikethrough:
Within the span of less than 200 pages, I was treated to at least 4 references to his sexual exploits. In one scene, the all-important "fairytale ballroom scene," he's surveying the ladies in the hall and commenting on how many of them he's had sex with. WHAT kind of bass-ackwards fairytale is this?! Why authors feel the need to put in so much sexual innuendo is completely beyond me. I get it, I do. Some women think that guys who treat females as objects of gratification are alluring, or whatever. Yeah, and some people eat cats. It doesn't mean it's normal, it doesn't mean it's okay, and it doesn't mean it's sanitary.

Even with the further editing from ARC to final copy, I still feel like Enchanted was a very disjointed and sloppy read...this whole reading experience was weird. Basically, poorly executed.
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Reading Progress

01/28/2012 "I think this will be the first of the ALA books that I dive into!"
02/28/2016 marked as: not-my-type
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Jessie How bad we're the innuendos? I can't believe that would be included in a fairytale. And I was so looking forward to this book!

Kimberly Souza The story is beautiful and in no way weird. It is different, not cookie cutter, and I love it. This book, and any that come after it by this author will be put on my favorites shelf.

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist I'm glad you liked it. However, I'm not sure why you feel the need to express your opinion on my review.
And I am going to correct you - it's my opinion that the story was weird and for that I cannot be "wrong." opinions are just that - opinions, not facts.
So while I'm glad you liked it, please recognize that this review reflects MY thoughts and respect that there might be someone on the planet with a different opinion.

message 4: by Esther (new) - added it

Esther Cotton Thanks so much for a review on the opposite ends of the spectrum. :) I really like reading why people do not enjoy a book, as well as reading why others do... it really brings more insight into all the sides of a book -- the good and the bad -- and helps me better decide if it's something I want to read. Thanks! :)

Audra (Unabridged Chick) The cover is awfully pretty!

Sounds pretty underwhelming. Too bad as I do love me a good fairy tale retelling!

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Exactly! We still have the good ol' Disney fairy tales! Pop in the DVDs :D

message 7: by Jessie (last edited Jun 13, 2012 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessie They must have changed the prince for the final copy. The innuendo was gone and no ballroom count of prior partners. That would have ruined any admiration I had for the prince. I'm glad someone remembered the book's intended audience!

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Okay, that makes me feel LOADS better. I'm going to mention that in my review, also - that I was reading an ARC copy, so I don't sound like a schizo reader. :D

Jessie I noticed that :). Thanks for your honest reviews.

message 10: by Kadie D♥ (new)

Kadie D♥ Your review is really interesting and funny. I really enjoyed reading it. :)
The cover is quite pretty, but I'm not so sure if I am going to spend my time reading a story which I am not very hooked up with in the beginning and with such cut out characters.
(Haha) Lol I really think it's a shame they changed the prince true nature. The prince is originally a boasting bastard frog, with cutting out the scenes they took away part his personality and put him in the 'perfect prince' area. But it still doesn't change the fact that he is a jerk... (MO)

Megan I'm not sure it's cut out as much as people say...there's not a specific count, but he does look around and think that he's had affairs with a bunch of these people. Later there's a memory of a naked woman. I kept hoping Sunday would run away from the player Prince.

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist And that's great information to have - thank you. That's exactly what I was reacting to when I read the ARC and I only took someones word for it that those passages had been cut. Some folks only react if there's a specific and explicit scene, but I'm one of the "uptight" (a nicer label I've been given, according to some) readers who reacts disagreeably to ANY mention of a character being somehow sexually experienced. TMI!

Guess I'll have to cut out that edit.

Miss Clark Great review on this hot mess of a story!

And yes, there were several references to the prince having been with multiple ladies and it is sort of excused by him as some weird "I was going to turn into a frog for six months and this was so traumatic I had to go and find as many willing ladies as possible and live a life of profligacy." Argh!

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Ohh great vocabulary! Profligacy just sounds so much better than man-ho. Haha! And you are right - this IS a hot mess!

message 15: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Charming @jessie you would be surpirsed at how many Farie tales oringally had sexual stuff in them. For instance "Taila, sun and moon" an early version of "Sleeping Beauty". She gets raped when asleep. Then in an early edition of the Grimms' Rapunzel she gives birth to twins!

message 16: by Jane (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jane I enjoyed this book but for some reason I felt a little off about it, and so I rated it a 3. Then I read this review and yeah, this hits it spot on lol

message 17: by ElegantElsa (new)

ElegantElsa Wow i read the second book, and though a tiny bit better, you totally nailed how i felt. It was just so...weird and mixed up. Thanks for this review i was wondering if the first bookwas better. :)

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist ElegantElsa wrote: "Wow i read the second book, and though a tiny bit better, you totally nailed how i felt. It was just so...weird and mixed up. Thanks for this review i was wondering if the first bookwas better. :)"

Thank you! I'll have to check out your review of the 2nd one.

message 19: by SBC (new) - rated it 2 stars

SBC I agree with you wholeheartedly. I just finished reviewing this book myself and described it as 'messy' with underdeveloped characters and plot. 'Disjointed' sums it up perfectly, too!

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