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Ella Enchanted #0

Ogre Enchanted

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In this prequel to Ella Enchanted, which can stand on its own, young healer Evie is transformed into an ogre by the meddling fairy Lucinda. She’ll turn back only if someone proposes and she accepts!

Returning to the land and many of the characters from her beloved Newbery Honor–winning Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine has written a delightful tale about a clever and endearing heroine who is determined to defy expectations.

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published October 16, 2018

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About the author

Gail Carson Levine

68 books8,779 followers
Just letting you all know: I'm only going to review books I love. There's enough negative criticism without me piling on. A book is too hard to write.

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and began writing seriously in 1987. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and the picture book Betsy Who Cried Wolf, illustrated by Scott Nash. Gail, her husband, David, and their Airedale, Baxter, live in a 1790 farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley of New York State.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 799 reviews
Profile Image for Arantzazú.
236 reviews48 followers
May 26, 2018
This one is hard to judge because I am so attached to Ella Enchanted that I kept constantly comparing it and trying to figure out who Evie was in relation to Ella. Which may be slightly unfair, but then again, there's no way GCL didn't think that's what we were all going to do! We grew up with Ella! We love her! (And if anyone dares mention the movie, I will gut you faster than an ogre.)

We DO get some more backstory on Ella's fam, but, without spoiling anything, I can definitely say that Evie is not any of the people I theorized she was going to be. So I have to give credit where credit is due-- the decoy hints, definitely intentional on Levine's part-- worked! That gave the reading some bits of excitement and tension that I really liked.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were some low moments where I couldn't stop myself from making a face at how fast this girl (with, usually, a backbone of steel) falls in love. Thankfully, it's not all quite what it seems again, but that didn't make having to plod through those parts any more enjoyable. I think it's important to keep in mind that this is a naive 14-year-old girl (which honestly is very hard to reconcile with her very grownup skills and demeanor) who doesn't even really understands what a crush feels like and can't conceive of what makes two people want to get married. She's just clueless, looking at every guy (I had an exciting moment where I thought she'd get with a lady, but nope) wondering if this is her "it". I guess it's honest but still super cringeworthy. I'm guessing kids will like this aspect more than adults. It may get kids' attention and help open their eyes to what healthy romance is and is not.

As far as the overall story goes... It meandered. Nothing too exciting yet at the same time, I did inhale most of it in one go. That's really a testament to the writing quality. The setting was as delightful as Ella's. The thing I'm really disappointed about was that the clues dropped about the age-old ogre/dragon rivalry didn't amount to anything! There is some seriously cool lore there (I won't spoil the tiny bit that we DO get), and it would have been amazing for that to have been woven into the plot more. I thought Evie was going to have a hand in uncovering/fixing something there, and that would have elevated the story from love-oriented. It would have given Evie a REASON to have been an ogre and she could have done some good with it. I do not get why that storyline was dropped suddenly in the middle of the book.

Overall: Fun, enjoyable, though I was left craving more depth and nuance. Definitely best only for tweens.

PS- thank you GCL for making her sleep under a bridge just once, I couldn't stop laughing

PPS- do NOT google "meat stick"
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,633 followers
January 30, 2019
Evie has a one-track mind: healing. She lives to heal people, to diagnose, to create remedies. When a friend shocks her with a proposal, though they are very young and she has never thought of him (or anyone!) romantically, she immediately refuses, to the disgust of the Fairy Lucinda. Cursed to be an ogre until someone proposes to her, Evie embarks on a series of adventures, trying to find a cure or come to terms with her new nature- because who would propose to a beast?

I loved how Evie was just unapologetically herself: practical, serious, and more concerned with the health of those around her than her own condition, though there were many painful reminders of her ugly, smelly state that even someone who isn't vain couldn't ignore. I love, as I always have, the richness of Levine's world, and the realistic way that not all kings are wise, not all bad guys get punished, and friendships can form in some very unlikely places!
Profile Image for Iris.
550 reviews253 followers
May 9, 2019
Okay Evie and Eleanor should have gotten married, I don't make the rules.

Aside from the fact that my sapphic ship didn't sail though, this book was a lot of fun! It wasn't as amazing as Ella Enchanted, but I enjoyed myself, and it made me sooo nostalgic.

***Pre-review, April 25, 2018***

A prequel to Ella Enchanted? That book practically WAS my childhood. I don't even know how many times I read it! So obviously I need this in my life.
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 22 books502 followers
February 5, 2019
First off, I have been waiting for this book!!! I found it at the unlikeliest of libraries and immediately snatched it up to bring it home. (Look at the shiny cover. :D )

I can always count on Gail Carson Levine to write a love story I can get behind wholeheartedly. She has a message of true, respect- and friendship-based love that is so rare in fiction. And I love how her romantic characters’ personalities always complement each to make them a great team. <3 I really appreciated that about this book. (Especially since Eevie was in a situation where she found everyone “attractive”--more on that later--and had to differentiate between true love and just plain attraction.) I couldn’t have been happier with how it ended. :D

All of the healer stuff and the references to Ella Enchanted were a ton of fun too. No spoilers, but I loved it when another character or situation was revealed. The master was a great character too, very fair-minded and helpful, even if he is a bit indulgent of his grandson. ;)

I also really enjoyed it when Eevie would have a memory of things she’d done with Wormy. They had the most creative ideas of fun, and now I really want to make snow sculptures.

Unfortunately, I found this book too gross and awkward to read according to my tastes. This will likely include some minor spoilers, so BEWARE. XD

Eevie was under an enchantment as an ogre which included being huge, having tons of hair EVERYWHERE (so she’s constantly shaving), stinking like you wouldn’t believe, and being generally hungry and prone to anger. Not exactly the most loveable character. :P But on top of that, she now had a taste for human flesh that she was constantly fighting, and every single last person she came into contact with made her “tingle”. It was neat that it could be metaphorical of physical attraction, but it was conceptually disturbing to read about her thinking of people as literally meat. (She did a good job fighting it though! And I loved how she tried to keep the other ogres from eating “creatures with speech” as she put it.)

Also, apparently ogres eat their prey while it’s still alive. WHAT. And humans who kill ogres display their heads. Lovely. There was also a plague in this book that brought about some gross/sad/disturbing descriptions of how and what condition people died in. :(

Just a note, there was one instance of chanting a spell, and ogres used a type of hypnosis to calm their “prey”. (I would have liked a little more said on the ethics--or lack thereof--of that.) A character lies his way into favor with people, and another briefly leads a young woman on though feels remorseful and attempts to apologize later.

Best quote:

Altogether, I loved the sweet romance and the connections to Ella Enchanted, but in the end, I didn't enjoy this book.
Profile Image for McKenna.
169 reviews4 followers
May 9, 2020
I was not a fan of this particular book and skimmed the last half to finish. I think Levine struggled to capture the magic of Ella Enchanted in this new novel set in the same world, even with some of the same characters. However, in an effort to connect the two books, I feel like she muddied some of the characters’ backstories with unrealistic plot twists (and they are unrealistic and goofy even considering this is a magical land lol) just to name drop, in a sense. This book generally is about a girl turned into an ogre after she turns down a friend’s marriage proposal. The main character is really flat to read about. I didn’t struggle with her age— she starts out 15, turns 16, and gets married at 18— rather, I struggled with how obtuse and boring she was. I felt like she had a very shallow understanding of “love”. And the ogre thing was meh- there were way more interesting cultures to explore. Anyways, I could nitpick a lot of things I found unsatisfying with this book, but basically, I felt like it was a weak storyline, with boring and unbelievable characters. Read some of Levine’s other work instead, like Ella Enchanted (the best and one of my favorite books when I was younger) or The Two Princesses of Bamarre.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,579 reviews401 followers
February 22, 2019
I do not think I ever want to read the word tingling again. Probably because I kept reading it as a euphemism for hormones - which maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. But the point is, it firmly coincided with the heroine's search for love and self-discovery and whatnot.
And I'm just not down with tingling in my middle school fiction.
This book felt very middle school. And kind of pointless. And rambling. And yet on-the-nose. And...
Oh gosh, I wanted so badly to like it!
I mean, an Ella Enchanted prequel! I love Ella. I loveeeeee Char. I love the story. Heck, I'll even admit to loving the movie (as a completely different and totally unrelated story to the book.) I love Fairest. I wanted to love this book! I went in expecting to love it.
But I did not.
For starters, Evie is kind of a bore. She turns down her BFF's proposal of marriage (after practically dragging it out of him) and gets turned into an ogre by Lucinda. Weird, but okay. She is huge on healing people and even as an ogre makes it her goal to heal everyone she meets. She goes on this journey of self-discovery to find a man who will love her in her ugly, ogre form. She meets three men and I guess the reader should draw wisdom from their contrasting behavior.
But her relationships with all three felt awkward and on-the-nose. It is obvious who the "right" choice is. So the other two (and her perceived emotions for them) are more...moral lessons? I guess I would call that:
Problem 1: The characters come across as one-dimensional because they are intended to provide a moral lesson about finding love.
Problem 2: This is an Ella Enchanted prequel, in just about every sense of the word, so the moral, boxy characters get an added dimension of being people the reader already loves/hates. I won't give any spoilers but many of the adults in Ella Enchanted appear as young people here. The combination feels...awkward. And honestly, totally depressing. Lucinda's meddling takes a front and center role for most of their lives and I do not think it adds much to the story. I'd rather Lucinda sort of...appear for Ella's christening than think what a plague she has been on Frell for all these years! (I also feel like people would know her and her curses better by that point.)
Problem 3: The book feels like a lot of "fill" time. Evie has two months to break the curse. Obviously, she won't break it till the last possible second and so for two months she wanders around figuring out ogre stuff. And let me tell you, ogre stuff is not that interesting.

There were moments I enjoyed this book. It took about 2/3rds of the way through, but sometimes I glimpsed the magic that made me love Ella. But the guy she ends up with is no Char and I think any comparisons just left me feeling...dissatisfied.

To be perfectly fair, I think I would rate this book closer to 3 stars if I went in thinking "middle school fantasy novel." Then I would more eagerly analyze the different heroes and perhaps even appreciate the lesson about love communicated within the story. But it isn't just any random "middle school fantasy novel." This is Ella, or a prequel to Ella, and I just can't read it in a detached manner. Ella Enchanted might fit specifically in a juvenile fiction/middle school/YA categorization, but for me the story remains timeless. It do not need to put on my "middle school fiction" cap to read it. I love it at 25 as much as I did at 15. Ogre Enchanted really needs the middle school fiction cap. It mostly reminded me of why I gave up reading Gail Carson Levine's novels. They cease to function as the timeless stories they once were.
Further, I probably would have enjoyed this book as a novel set in the same world as Ella, but throwing in characters from her book just depressed me too much. My deep affection for this world worked against it.

Still, I don't recommend avoiding it. Just don't think of it in connection to Ella Enchanted. Maybe that will help?
Profile Image for Blue.
216 reviews77 followers
May 4, 2020
As a child I loved Ella Enchanted so I wanted to give Ogre Enchanted a try. Evie literally has no plan and should have figured out that she wouldn't have been accepted by society as an ogre earlier. Lucinda is literally so dumb, someone needs to teach her a lesson so see stops giving people her "gifts". I was not expecting an epidemic to be mentioned which was shocking. Did not need that harsh reminder of the real world.
Profile Image for Leah.
189 reviews2 followers
January 4, 2019
I don't give out one stars lightly, and I suppose half of this should be on me, for expecting things I knew I would not get out of this book.

But god, did this book suck.

I am absolutely one of those people who grew up with Ella Enchanted, who consumed every single one of Levine's books with great excitement, seeking out everything she had ever written as a little ten-twelve year old. I even liked the movie adaptation of Ella. So when I saw this book show up in the new stack at the library and I read the synopsis, I got very excited. The whimsical, fun magic of Levine's books, set in the same world as Ella, with a main character who seemed not to be interested in romantic love? That sounded right up my alley.

Unfortunately, I brought too many expectations to the table -- but even despite that, I feel sort of cheated out of what could have been a really good, subversive story.

Non-spoiler complaints: the story was just so.....meandering. Ella was like that too, but I still felt like there was a point. This story was way too much just...wandering about. It didn't feel coherent at all. The characters were wholly flat and uninteresting. And the constant, constant reminders of Evie's ogreishness bordered on obnoxious. We couldn't go two paragraphs without hearing about how bad she smelled and how hairy she was and how much she wanted to eat meat. All of which were supposed to make her look unattractive on the outside but just instead made me feel uncomfortable with how obnoxiously the story treated these traits as being inherently unfeminine.

The rest of it is spoilers so I'll hide the rest of my complaints.
Profile Image for Jen .
2,559 reviews27 followers
November 17, 2018
Not to be rude, but I just can’t read this book straight through. I jumped around enough to get the picture and I’m done.

This breaks my heart, because I LOVED Ella Enchanted, but this is nothing like it at all.

Don’t let my negativity affect your enjoyment of the book. The cover is GOEGEOUS and the writing isn’t bad, it’s just not in line with what I was expecting. I think dashed expectations are what is really filling me with such unhappiness regarding this book. If no Ella Enchanted, this book wouldn’t be a bad one, but in comparison, fair or not, it doesn’t hold a candle to it.

2.5 stars, rounded up because of Ella and the cover.
Profile Image for Coralie.
545 reviews86 followers
September 30, 2021
Ah, and Levine returns to the magical, nostalgic world of Ella Enchanted yet again. <3 Y'all Ella is classic. And when I heard Levine was going back to do a prequel, I got SO excited! I mean Fairest, the companion novel, was fantastic, so I fully expected this to be, too. Then I saw the cover and it was beautiful. Then I saw the title, and it made me giddy! I loved the spin off of Ella Enchanted and I was intrigued by the ogre aspect. And then I heard it was going to be a bit of a Beauty and the Beast retelling/reimagination, and I was even more excited!

Then it took me a year to buy it and another two years to read it cause life is crazy sometimes.

And, honestly, I was a little disappointed at parts of it. But after taking some time to process, I realize it wasn't all as bad as I first thought. Yes, there were bits I thought could have been done better and things that just didn't live up to the expectations. But Ella is a lot to live up to, y'all! And it was still fun to step into her world again, and truthfully, there were some parts that I really did enjoy and got excited about, too!

First, what I didn't love. The main character grated on my nerves. I didn't love Evie. And that made following Evie's story hard. She was so...unfeeling in a lot of ways. I liked that she was a healer and I liked that she obviously cared about her mother and her friend, Wormy. But she was so calculated in how she approached everything--and maybe that was the point. But I didn't really feel like she grew out of that much. Her character "growth" felt forced to me, like she just chose love because that's what the story needed her to do, not because it was within her character.

That said, I did love the juxtaposition of human Evie and ogre Evie. It was fascinating to dig into the ogre's mind. (Though I don't understand why she couldn't see the Master's secret by just looking at him. That was one of the things ogres could do in Ella Enchanted. Maybe that part didn't work for her just like persuasion didn't at first?? Either way, that thread seemed ignored or dropped altogether in this, and that was sad. Though the way she coaxed the secret out of the Master was really beautiful to watch and the way she related to that and was motivated to do it endeared her to me a little more.) But I loved the war within Evie to heal or eat. I loved watching her struggle to maintain her humanity and to be the best ogre she could be since she was stuck with being an ogre. She didn't let that obstacle stand in her way of pursuing her goals, and that was really fun. She was creative in how she chose to live as an ogre and that really drove the story in the best sense. (It also perfectly showcased Lucinda's foolishness and I LOVED that!! It was amazing to see her at her schemes again!)

Speaking of the story and plot, I didn't love the pacing. The first third of the book kind of bored me. It felt, much like evie, kind of dull and calculated. But the second third really drew me in. Peter showed up and I felt a simultaneous rush of excitement and dread. Then Evie started falling for him, and I was yelling at her (for which she couldn't have known, of course) cause I knew exactly who and what Peter was from the beginning. Then, when Jerrold showed up, my jaw hit the floor. I had no idea what Levine was up to and I loved that. (Jerrold was definitely the best part of the book for me. I adored him.) I questioned just what she was getting at and how things would turn out. Would Evie be renamed to rid herself of her ogre past and become the queen we love so much? But what about Wormy? I didn't really love him as a character, and I questioned his motives and true feelings, but it would be cute if Evie ended up with him. Or was she going to stay an ogre in the end and avoid marriage altogether? She's proven herself useful in a number of ways as an ogre, so I could see that. I tried to puzzle all the pieces out and I loved following the trail of breadcrumbs to unravel the mystery.

And then Eleanor and Mandy and all of the things and I was just downright giddy to see them again. And that whole line with Peter and Eleanor was so heart-wrenching! Really cool the way that was done, even though I was still yelling at Eleanor the whole time. I wished...well, no spoilers, but I just wished there had been some part of that that was true for Eleanor's sake at some point. But the whole bit with Lucinda was just genius. I loved Eleanor's friendship with Evie, and the allusion to the unicorn hairs was cool. (The dragon pee was a little weird, not going to lie. Like, why did it have to be urine? Why not saliva or tears or something else??) Mandy was an absolute treat! She didn't change a bit and I loved that.

But then the last forty or fifty pages or so, things started getting wonky again. The king made a 180 in the last few pages that just wasn't in character at all. (Also, I love Ella's necklace, but throwing it in the way Levine did didn't sit right with me. Maybe because of all of the deception around it, but it tainted the necklace's meaning and felt more like it was forced in as an easter egg rather than a natural part of the story.) Though the line with Peter was cool for sure, Jerrold also moved into his proper position way too fast to feel realistic. He just took charge and started being who his title said he was (though without losing any charm of his character, which I loved. I liked how he used his position to further display his depth of character, caring, and grace), but it felt odd he just accepted the knowledge so easily like his father did. Lucinda's part in the end also sort of felt weird. That was never a thing that fairies could do before. It felt convenient and, again, not really a natural part or well-planned out resolution. The whole thing with Wormy was a cute thought, but it just wrapped up so quickly that it didn't really feel plausible that the characters could change so quickly. Evie's declaration, as mentioned earlier, just didn't feel like it fit with her character. It felt like a "we're running out of book, cram this ending into three pages and call it a day!" I missed the thorough development and natural flow of character, and even pacing.

A few other things felt a little out of place, like Evie's thoughts and views on marriage and youth, which just came across as kind of inconsistent or convenient. It was dropped for most of the book and only surfaced in the beginning and end. But I can't say I hated the book. I liked it. I enjoyed a large chunk of it, primarily the middle.

All in all, the parts I loved best were the parts that hearkened back to the former genius of Ella Enchanted. Much of the new bits and the new characters, I didn't actually love. Though I liked the Master quite a bit and that whole line was really fun. I liked the meat sticks and seeing the ogres inside and out again. It's sad that Evie and Wormy were my least favorite parts of the book, but that's just what it came down to for me. Would I recommend it? I mean, maybe at least once. It's on my shelf. I don't regret reading it. But I wouldn't rush to reread it either. And I'd likely ignore most of it when revisiting Ella and Fairest in the future just because.

Content: it's clean, middle grade. The story centers on a girl forced to accept a marriage proposal, so she thinks a lot about who she could potentially love (or who would love her), but there isn't anything that dives deeply into the threads of romance. No foul language, and some mild violence with the ogres and knights and such, but I'd be fine giving the book to a pre-teen.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,483 followers
November 16, 2018
I was afraid that Ogre Enchanted would feel a little like Shrek but it didn’t. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad one.

Evie and Wormy have been friends forever but they are at an age where maybe one of them is starting to feel a little more for the other. When Lucinda shows up and Evie doesn’t accept a proposal from Wormy she is ‘punished’ for her own good and turned into an Ogre with only two months to find someone to fall in love with her and propose.

This is difficult for Evie because one she is an Ogre and smells horrible and wants to eat anything meat based. Two it is bad because she can sense how others feel around her in her home town and it makes it impossible to stay. Evie needs to learn how to coerce like other Ogres do just to stay alive and so she leaves to set off on an adventure looking for love and a way to stay alive 2 months or longer if she is stuck this way forever.

I liked the baskstory to Ella Enchanted that can be found in this. It was interesting to see the beginning of Ella’s parents and a few others that have been ‘blessed’ by Lucinda for their own happiness. There are some fun adventures along the way and living with the Ogres was interesting, culturally speaking.

The downfall was so much of it was focused on finding someone to fall in love with Evie and propose. It was clear that Wormy was the one for her and she just needed to realize it. Also, Wormy’s plan while sweet was a bit silly too.

I am happy with the ending to the story.

It was an entertaining read and I think I would have liked it a little more if I were younger around 8-13 years old which is the age group for this book.
Profile Image for Juliana.
744 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2020
This book is a companion novel to Ella Enchanted that was actually quite fun to listen to. Some of the plot reminded me of Shrek, in that she's turned into an ogre and must find someone to propose (aka love her in that form) before time is up. It was just as well written as Ella Enchanted was and I really liked Evie. Despite her being turned into an ogre, she still wants to be a healer. She goes through a big adventure in the 62 days that she has to find someone to propose to her and it doesn't go the way you would expect. I knocked a star off because she does seem pretty single-minded at points. Even getting attention from someone made her think she had a chance of being proposed to. There's classic villainry in this book and it really makes you hate them. It took me some time to warm up to Wormy (the narrator gave him a voice that made him seem brainless) and Eleanor was definitely my favorite supporting character.
If you're a fan of Ella Enchanted then I would give this book a chance!
Profile Image for Linaria.
696 reviews43 followers
April 29, 2018
Evie is a healer. She and her best friend Wormy live in Jenn. They are happy there until the day that Wormy proposes to Evie. Evie, having not thought much of marriage yet, turns him down. Unfortunately, Lucinda, the most irresponsible fairy godmother ever, was watching. Lucinda turns Evie into an ogre with just two months to find someone to marry her in order for her to be changed back. Evie sets out on a quest to see about finding someone to love her.

This is a prequel to Ella Enchanted, which I adored as a child. The prequel features a new set of characters, though it does have a lot of cameos of some of the parents of the characters we know and love from Ella Enchanted.

The book was cute. It's middle grade, so obviously the language and plot are rather simple, but I found that it gave it charm. I absolutely loved catching up to the world of Ella Enchanted again, and the new characters were lovely. Wormy was so wonderful. Overall, the book was just an adorable fairytale that recaptured the magic of one of my favourite childhood series.
Profile Image for Molly.
285 reviews4 followers
November 8, 2018
I'm a huge fan of Gail Carson Levine and, unfortunately, this book did absolutely nothing for me. The pacing was too fast, the character development was almost non-existent, the writing was sloppy for the first half of the book, and the message I took away after finishing this story is all sorts of problematic. I wasn't a fan of the romance either. I almost DNF'd this but I decided to give it a chance and it did get slightly better just past the halfway mark, it just wasn't enough to cleanse me of my horrible first impression. For the sake of the story that could have been, I wish this hadn't been a Ella Enchanted prequel because I think that's part of the reason this didn't work for me. Instead of focusing on Evie's dilemma and her developing romance, most of the book tries to position Ella Enchanted characters into the story in a way that feels forced and awkward. Honestly, the way the Ella Enchanted characters are portrayed here does them a huge disservice and negates some of the best parts of the sequel. Overall, a very disappointing experience that I hope was a fluke.
Profile Image for ☼Shannon☼.
207 reviews27 followers
February 25, 2019
This is not about Ella. This is about Evie and the story has little to nothing to do with Ella.

I was excited to get more Ella when I first heard about this but lowered my expectation on what I was getting. I knew this wasn't going to be about Ella and would probably be a different kind of story than Ella was and I was right. Its a good story on its own.

This one's a bit more Lucinda heavy and we get to see more of Lucinda's exploits. I didn't realize how much Lucinda did and its almost like a dystopia. I would love it if Levine did more of these stories so we could see more fallout from Lucinda's "gifts".

The tone of the narrator bothered me, she was only supposed to be 15 but she sounded like a pretentious middle aged person, not the teenager of humble background that she is.
Profile Image for Jen.
163 reviews
October 16, 2018
This was a tough read. I loved Ella Enchanted, and loved the world that Gail Carson Levine has created, but this one had some problematic messages, that I felt would deter me from handing to a child. This book felt older than the 8-12 age range as well, as it is about a teen being forced to marry, or else remain an ogre forever (she rejected a proposal and is being punished by the fairy, Lucinda). The main character goes through the book thinking that every person she meets could be the love of her life, even when their character attributes aren't great, or she barely knows them. She also flirts with the idea of using magical persuasion to convince someone to propose...

I understand that the point of this book was to talk about real love versus perceived love, and good versus bad people? However, I feel like it could have discussed these themes in a better way.

I still feel that Gail is a wonderful writer, and you can still tell from this book. It was very well written, with great details and imagination. The characters were also really well fleshed out. I also listened to this book on Libro.Fm & the narrator was great.

All in all, I just felt that this book could have been better & also maybe should have been marketed as Young Adult (for teens who want to read YA, but need something without anything inappropriate)?

I'd love to discuss this, if you've read it. Let me know what you think!
Profile Image for Kate Buechler.
341 reviews8 followers
October 5, 2019
Ella Enchanted is very, very dear to me and reading this didn't ruin my fondness for that book, which is about as high of praise as I can bestow on this one.
Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,134 reviews99 followers
November 15, 2019
Evie is an incredible healer. Evie and her best friend Wormy (Master Warwick) live in the town of Jenn. One day, Wormy surprises Evie by confessing his love and proposing to her. Evie completely disregards the proposal as Wormy is just her best friend. Unfortunately for Evie, Lucinda (the disaster of a fairy from Ella Enchanted ) witnesses the rejection and proceeds to turn Evie into an ogre. She gives Evie less two months to accept the proposal of a suitor or stay stuck as an ogre forever. With time running out, Evie embarks on a quest to find someone to love her and rid her of this awful curse.

At first, I thought that this story would be similar to Shrek with the maiden turned into an ogre storyline, but it was a completely different from what I was expecting. I’ll be honest, aft first I didn’t feel bad for Evie at first since she definitely took Wormy and his affections for granted. However, as she because hyper aware of ogre self, I really started to feel awful for her. She was well aware of how terrible she smelled and the fact that humans found her repulsive. I loved watching Evie change and develop a new outlook on life; one that entailed looking past outward appearances.

Overall, this is a heartwarming adventure that gives additional insight into the characters that preceded those in Ella Enchanted, and I loved getting to know them.

Thank you to Wunderkind PR for providing a finished copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book9 followers
April 3, 2021
I listened to this on audio, so please excuse any horrible misspelling of names or fantasy things.

Eeeeh. That was not what I'd hoped it would be. I first encountered "Ella Enchanted" when the movie came out the year I turned 16. I loved it, but didn't read the book until my 20s. Even discovering how different the book and movie were, I still enjoyed both for different reasons, and went on to read "Fairest," which is also set in this world, and which I also enjoyed, albeit, a little less than "Ella." So, I was hoping I would enjoy "Ogre Enchanted," too. Unfortunately, the best I can say is that I didn't completely hate it. It just... wasn't as good (in my opinion) as Levine's previous stories, I'm sorry to say.

To start with, Evie felt shallow to me in a number of ways. She was a healer... and that's basically it. Healing is not only her profession, but her obsession. She can't seem to look at a person, human or otherwise, without thinking of or finding something medical about them. That's not necessarily a bad thing since she then helps people, but we all have multiple aspects to ourselves that don't just revolve around our professions. We're daughters, sisters, mothers, friends. Most people have more than one interest in life even if one thing is our job and the others are just hobbies, but we never see that from Evie. She has a mother and best friend, but she even treats them as patients more than a mother and friend.

The other thing I found shallow about her was her perception of love. Despite growing up in a family with parents who loved her and loved each other, she could only seem to think of love in terms of the "tingle" her parents told her they felt upon meeting and falling in love with each other. The problem was that other things gave her tingles too, like her ogre hunger. In fact, it reached a point where she was tingling so much it got annoying. I think even the author became self-aware of her constant use of the word because at one point even Evie got frustrated with the frequency of the tingle. Evie did seem to finally learn what it looked like for someone to genuinely love her and for her to love him back, but still seemed to feel the presence of the tingle necessary to help confirm that love. It also bothered me that Evie thought for so long that she would have to "zine" (Zeen? No idea how to spell the term for ogre emotional manipulation.) a man into proposing to her, and hopefully, once human again, they'd learn to love each other for real. Somehow, I doubt Lucinda would have accepted that as a legitimate solution had that been what happened (not that this was ever addressed as a possibility), not to mention it's morally questionable. And at no point did Evie (or Wormy, when she told him her plan) seem to question the morality of doing that, even if she didn't actually have to solve the problem that way in the end.

The ogre aspect of the story was disappointing to me, too. I was hoping that Evie turning into an ogre would reveal to her and the reader that there's more to ogres than meets the eye. That maybe they had a more complex society than people thought, or maybe there was a sect of natural-born ogres who chose not to manipulate and eat "speaking beings" as Evie put it. NOPE. No such complexities here. All ogres are exactly as hungry and undiscerning as everyone ever thought they were. The only "good" one in existence was Evie and that was only because of the human part of her brain fighting the ogre instincts. About the only surprising thing Evie learned about them is that they can sense other beings's emotions very clearly, and that there's more to their emotional manipulation skills than just talking. I also found it kind of yucky and disturbing to learn that they don't just "zine" people, kill them and then eat them. No, they actually eat the person alive, all the while "zineing" them so the people don't fight. Evie witnesses this when she discovers her fellow ogres have captured a giant and are eating on it while it just sits there and happily bleeds. Um... ew? Was that really necessary?

I also didn't like learning that Lucinda the fairy doesn't just cause the occasional problem for people, she's an outright menace to society. Near the end, we learn that people have even had to modify how they hold weddings and christenings so they reduce the likelihood of attracting Lucinda and getting a bad "gift." To me, that's crossed the line from being funny to being sad.

The very few things I truly enjoyed about this story were Wormy (he is a good boy and I liked him from the start) and the handful of character cameos from Ella Enchanted. I've only read Ella once and probably missed some Easter Eggs, but those that I did recognize were fun.

I'm sorry to do it, but I can only give this two stars. I didn't hate it so much as to DNF (I rarely finish books that would qualify as a one-star rating), but I also didn't enjoy enough of it to raise it to three stars. The charm and fun I found in Ella Enchanted just weren't in this book for me.

Content Advisory:

Mainly ogre-related violence. Ogres fight a lot so there's some mention of the fights even ogre-Evie gets into with other ogres. They also eat everything that moves, so there's lots of talk of ogre-Evie's hunger, including hunger for humans and how they now smell like meat to her. She resists her urges but other ogres don't. When she joins their ranks, the first thing she finds them doing is trying to "persuade" an elf to let them eat it. The elf gets away thanks to Evie, and Evie does her best to try to stop the ogres from eating "speaking beings", but they catch a giant while she's away and she returns to find them eating it... while it's still alive. This is the only instance in the story where I personally found something a little disturbing. While the description of the wounds isn't graphic, there is mention that they're biting and clawing the giant and how much the giant is bleeding. Because of their "persuasion" relaxing it, it doesn't even try to get away until Evie fights the other ogres off, having no choice but to kill two (not described), and makes the giant run until they can get somewhere to treat the wounds.

Evie later hears stories about how a man supposedly killed a bunch of ogres and stuck their heads on pikes outside of Frell. Evie has a brief thought about how if this man really did this, using the weapon he had to cut off the heads would have taken some time and been messy. Later, she asks to see the heads to learn if two of them are the ones she killed and the expressions on the heads' faces is described.

Evie participates in some sparring matches to help train some humans to fight. There's some punching and shoving. One spar ends with someone's leg gushing blood from a stab wound. The two individuals accused of this supposed assassination attempt are almost run through on the spot, but something stops this from happening.

Talk of proposals and marriage, falling in love, and "tingling" (lots and lots of tingling) as it relates to feelings of love. A couple male ogres lust after Evie, but nothing untoward happens. They do call her beautiful a few times, though. An undescibed kiss at a wedding.

Fairies have magic, big and small, that they use. Lucinda tends to use her magic to give "gifts" that she thinks are wonderful, but aren't. As the title implies, Evie gets turned into a ogre, which happens after she refuses a marriage proposal Lucinda thinks she should have accepted. Someone else gets turned into a squirrel.

There are also lots of fantasy beings in this world, some of which are magical, like dragons and unicorns. Dragon pee and unicorn hairs even have healing properties.

Some slight yuckiness related to medical stuff, usually more brief mentions of things Evie is doing as a healer rather than detailed description. Things like: Lancing boils, treating wounds, etc, etc. One medical ingredient Evie uses and mentions somewhat frequently, and even has to collect at one point, is "purpleen", which turns out to be dragon pee.
Profile Image for Valerie Cotnoir.
Author 6 books30 followers
November 13, 2018
I've been looking forward to this Beauty and the Beast retelling easily for 4 years. And I was not disappointed. Heartfelt, earnest and hilarious, this book kept me guessing until the end. I loved how simple Evie's desires were and how relatable her struggles were. I also loved the depictions of the different suitors and their strengths and weaknesses and how there is someone just right for everybody. I read the last third today...couldn't read fast enough. 😍
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,055 reviews3,466 followers
March 4, 2020
If you liked Ella Enchanted (I grew up with it!) this is a fun new tale in the world of Frell that (very) loosely adapts Beauty and the Beast with a flipped gender. Evie is a healer with a best friend named Wormy. When he unexpectedly proposes marriage and she turns him down because they are so young, she angers the fairy Lucinda and is turned into an ogre unless she agrees to marry someone within 60 days. Cue a messy love triangle, learning to be a smelly, fearsome ogre, the search for real love and friendship, and plenty of adventure along the way.

This was silly and fun, if a little predictable. And truthfully, I thought Evie had more chemistry with Lady Eleanor than with any of the guys. They're supposedly new friends, but I think this easily could have been a sweet f/f romance that would have felt more authentic to the characters, rather than forcing her into a match that never feels believable as more than a friendship. It's 2020 people. Alas....

That said, this was still fairly enjoyable and quick to read. I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Juny.
201 reviews11 followers
October 31, 2018
This book kind of disappointed me because of my expectations. I mean it's set in Ella Enchanted's world so of course it was interesting and good but just didn't enthrall me like Ella Enchanted did :( But what book can?


I fan girled out whenever they mentioned a character from Ella Enchanted. I really liked that Lady Elenor was in this and we kind of got to know her and sort of compare her to Ella. At the same time getting to know Sir Peter more was just sadder. It made me dislike him even more than in Ella Enchanted since he was a lot meaner in this one. It made me sad, especially when Elenor realizes who he really is.
I loooved it at the end when they mention Jerrold and Daria's 1 year old son. AHHH and then Elenor who is pregnant. Basically I just want to read Ella Enchanted again.

Back to the actual main character of this story...
Evie was alright and so was Wormy but at the beginning when he proposed I wasn't really rooting for them. When she met Peter on the road I was like oh she's going to marry him and somehow her name will be changed, even though I've read Ella Enchanted that's how I thought the story was heading. Guess not. And no to Squire Jerrold either. It's amazing how that can be surprise even though I've read the first one multiple times...I did get tired of her constantly "falling in-love" with everyone and her being hungry and wanting to eat humans was kinda of weird but it does fit her ogre persona.

I thought the ending wrapped up a little too nicely. Like the story was rather slow going and then at the end it comes down to the last four hours. And in that time they reveal Squire Jerrold as the Prince and the King believes it and then Evie goes and proposes to multiple squirrels until she finds Wormy. Not the most romantic proposal...I suppose it was fitting for their characters but it just wasn't as engaging.

With that said it was still a decent book but mostly I feel like because I love Ella Enchanted and this was a prequel with the king's and Ella's parent's backstories which were interesting. But at the same time I feel like it definitely could've been better.
Profile Image for Elley Murray.
1,109 reviews138 followers
September 24, 2018
First of all, HOW IS THERE NOT MORE HYPE OUT THERE ABOUT THIS?! Gail Carson Levine does it again. This is another amazing installment in the world of Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and Ever. Lucinda is at it again with her "gifts," and they're just as terrible as ever. This book takes place before the events of Ella Enchanted, and you might even recognize some of the characters (like Ella's mother and fairy godmother!)

This is such a fun fantasy with some romantic elements. It's written for middle-grade readers, but it's so well written that it was entirely enjoyable for this 30-something adult reader (who, admittedly, refuses to grow up...) Gail Carson Levine proves again and again that you can write books that are accessible to a younger audience while still being enjoyable for an adult audience as well, and that you don't have to write "down to" children in order to write books for them.
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,607 reviews230 followers
January 25, 2019
Ogre Enchanted is a prequel to Ella Enchanted. It follows a young healer named Evie who is turned into an Ogre by Lucinda. This is Evie's punishment for refusing a marriage proposal from her best friend Wormie. Honestly, I found the story to be rather slow in many places, and it was hard to not roll my eyes frequently at both the way Evie talked and at her antics as she believes herself to be in love with a person she meets as an ogre. I admit it didn't help knowing who that person was. I do wonder how readers who are experiencing the world of Frell for the first time in this book will feel about the world and characters. Unfortunately, I can't undo my years long love of Ella Enchanted and view it as its own thing.
Profile Image for (Katie) Paperbacks.
461 reviews116 followers
July 24, 2022
4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I really enjoyed this companion novel to Ella Enchanted. Ogre Enchanted is about a girl who is proposed to by her best friend, but Lucinda the fairy happens to be there when she turns him down. Lucinda curses her to be an ogre until someone proposes to her and she accepts.

A really fun read with great characters, I loved the story line and all of the antics and troubles that the main character gets into as an ogre and find out what people really think of her.
Profile Image for Emily Polson.
556 reviews76 followers
February 16, 2021
2021 reread:

Didn't enjoy this as much the second time around! It drags in ways that Ella doesn't and feels far more shallow of a story--the message seems to be that love is a feeling, but also that you can't trust your feelings (???). While the idea of a gender-swapped beauty and the beast has the potential to be all kinds of feminist, that potential was undermined by Evie's constant wondering "Will this man propose and save me? Will this one?" [And, spoiler, while she basically demands a proposal in the end to solve her problem--whoo! A little bit of agency!--the story more or less ends where it started, with Lucinda getting her way.]
I mean, nothing can top Ella Enchanted, but going in with that mindset, I did enjoy this book a lot. Love the idea of a reverse gender beauty and the beast tale. Gail's writing has a certain magical quality to it, and her fantasy world has existed in my head for so long that it was lovely to slip back into it for a while. So many fascinating moments with characters from Ella making an appearance! I found that most of the "reveals" about those characters near the end illuminated my understanding of Ella, which was a relief because sometimes when authors revisit characters they last wrote ages ago, it creates a conflicting portrait instead *cough Cursed Child cough*. With Ogre, there were a few places I felt the main character's thoughts/actions felt a little too contrived or repetitive, but alas. I'm not gonna pick too much, it's a romp and Gail's a queen.
Profile Image for Catherine.
488 reviews
December 12, 2018
I loved this book! Ella Enchanted was my favorite book for maybe five years of my life, so I was SO excited to find out a prequel was being written. It didn't disappoint! It took me way longer than it should have to realize Sir Peter and Lady Eleanor were Ella's future parents. It was wonderful learning more about them. As usual, the characters, plot, prose, and world were excellent.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
596 reviews815 followers
May 9, 2020
It felt underdeveloped. Not as endearing as A Tale as Two Castles, not as addictive as Fairest or Ever, and not as fresh as Ella Enchanted. Somewhat underwhelming--I wish Levine did a little more with the ogre element rather than just "i'm hangry boo hoo"
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