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Enchantress from the Stars (Elana #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,982 Ratings  ·  312 Reviews
The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Walker Childrens (first published February 1st 1970)
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Michele Elana. She says she "did not anticipate any more rude awakenings" but when she visits the local village and sees how Georyn's people live, she's…moreElana. She says she "did not anticipate any more rude awakenings" but when she visits the local village and sees how Georyn's people live, she's shocked.(less)

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Dec 19, 2007 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
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
I really enjoyed this older YA SF, and will again when it comes up in the Newbery club in the Children's Books group. Sure, there was an awful lot of discussion and not a whole heck of a lot of action, but that's fine by me because I do read SF for the 'what if' exploration of ideas.

Definitely a good fit, as it happens, for fans of Star Trek, with its exploration of a 'prime directive' and for fans of Star Wars, with a mysterious 'force' (in this case, telepathy and psychokinesis). But more tha
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' commitments 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 definit
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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
Melissa McShane
This was the first pick of my new book club, surprising me because I hadn't thought of it in years. I read and loved it as a teen because it was so different and challenged the notion of the separation between magic and science. Told from three different viewpoints, this story of members of an advanced civilization trying to protect a fledgling society from being conquered by another race of starfarers gets at the heart of what it means to be civilized.

Each character comes from a race at differe
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, ya
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.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-favorites
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,
...I didn't like this.

I really wanted to like it! I really did. I just couldn't.

I can see why people like it, but for me, the negatives outweighed the positives.

1. I didn't particularly like any of the characters. I thought Elana herself was quite arrogant at times and none of the other characters were very fleshed-out.

2. There was more telling than showing. I was told every single motivation for everything and, to be honest, it gets tiring after awhile.

3. The rest of the writing was a
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngreader, fantasy
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
Strona po stronie
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
An old fashioned science fiction YA book with a bit of a Star Trek vibe (I love Star Trek!). I have to admit that it's obviously well-written and the plot and characters are interesting. Moreover, it has some of my favourite elements, like a clash of different cultures or a more or less believable romance. It also has an important message. It's definitely worth reading. Still, because of the writing style (some POVs are like memoirs, some like legends of the round table), it's just not really ca ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I decided to reread Sylvia Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars for my Newbery reading challenge. (It was a Newbery Honor book in 1971). I loved, loved, loved it the first time I read it. I loved it just as much the second time. (I love it when a book rereads well. Not all books do. That's one way you can distinguish between a good book and a great book.) I would definitely say it's a premise-driven book, but, that being said there is plenty of action and plenty of characterization. ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 20th-century, 1970s
This book is, like, on the level where I can't even articulate the degree of wonderfulness that it achieves so I'm sitting here gaping and making indeterminate hand gestures. The review blurb on the back says "It is almost impossible to convey just how good this book is. Please just read it," and, yeah, I'm feeling that now.

Enchantress From the Stars is the perfect blend of fantasy and sci-fi, and the expert positioning of magic and technology, along with the indefinite time setting (past? prese
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
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.
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I changed this rating from a 2 to a 4. I reread this book and I like it much better. So many concepts are amazing.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Enchantress From the Stars has a bit of an ambitious high concept, and pulls it off very well. The main 'problem' with the book is a galaxy full of inhabited planets where all the naturally-occurring intelligent life is human, or very nearly so; but paying attention to alien biology would be to miss the point of the book (and in 1970, it was still a somewhat acceptable idea).

The book is a clash between three civilizations, with a viewpoint character from each one. The 'main' story is given by th
DeAnna Knippling
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that's perfectly fine but that hit my buttons all wrong. As far as I can tell, this is one of the earlier actual YA books in fantasy (as opposed to fantasy that was written for YA but that wasn't really labeled for it). It was published in 1970. It reads as surprisingly modern--a strong voice in first person, a love triangle, concerns about racism and cultural erasure.

But...I hate love triangles, and I did NOT buy the ending.

(view spoiler)
I love older science fiction novels. Firebird Publishing seems to put out a lot of pro-female/feminist science fiction, too, as I have read this and Firebird and enjoyed both immensely.

Enchantress from the Stars is a book that takes place in "the future" (kind of) and on a third planet from the Sun, yet it is not Earth. The author, Sylvia Engdahl explicitly states that the planet and all of it's characters are not from Earth, but another planet that is third to the sun. (When one thinks about
This took quite a few pages to catch my interest, but once it did, I really enjoyed it. I liked knowing the story from the viewpoint of three different characters. The story as told from the "Youngling" planet native point-of-view felt like a fairy tale quest type of story, yet was more of a science fiction adventure story from the technologically advanced visitor-from-space "Enchantress" point-of-view. That made me think about other stories I've read that were fairy tale quest-types and how it ...more
Wendy Bousfield
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult

In this YA fantasy, humanoids in different stages of cultural/technological development are found throughout the cosmos. Culturally mature peoples belong to a Federation, which oversees the development and continued existence of “Youngling” races. Federation ships easily visit far-flung planets, and these civilizations have solved the social problems that drive less advances peoples to poverty and crime. Federation peoples also have developed the latent psi powers possessed by all humanoids: the
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: status-owned
Elana is a member of an advanced interstellar civilization that studies and protects unadvanced "Youngling" civilizations. When space-faring Younglings called Imperials invade a medieval Youngling planet called Andrecia, Elana becomes involved in an attempt to rescue Andreciawithout endangering either culture, or revealing her own. Enchantress of the Stars is an ambitious book, but not always a successful one. There are three civiliazations, three points of view, two narrative styles, a wide-ran ...more
Lisa H.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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
Lisa Zigue
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
So I didn't realize till just now that this book was written in the 70's, which changes my opinion somewhat.

First of all, I really like the idea of this story-- that ancient myths and legends could actually be the product of a more advanced alien race's interaction. It's clever and unique, and now that I know it's been around 30+ years, I'm kind of surprised no one has stolen it.

However, Elana is a twit, and though she acts more like an authentic teenager than most other books, that also means
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Although she is best known as an author for Young Adults, Sylvia Engdahl's most recent novels, the Hidden Flame duology (Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame) and the Rising Flame duology (Defender of the Flame and Herald of the Flame) are not YA books and are not appropriate for middle-school readers. These two duologies are quite different from each other and some readers prefer the se ...more
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“The human mind is incredible. It can do nothing without belief, yet practically anything with it.” 19 likes
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