Cat Conner's Reviews > Incantation

Incantation by Alice Hoffman
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's review
Jun 14, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult-literature-2

Estrella lives in a time of turmoil and confusion. In the beginning of "Incantation", Estrella seems to be fine with her life in rural Spain, but she soon discovers the pain and torments of the Spanish Inquisition. "Incantation" revolves around several discoveries that Estrella makes in finding out about her true heritage and the nature of her former friends in the face of conflict. Estrella has to deal with family loss, loss of property, and loss of friends. She also experiences romance with her best friend's cousin, a touchy issue seeing as Estrella's best friend wants to marry her cousin. Estrella's family, especially her mother, teachers her what it means to be true to oneself and strong in the face of conflict.

I didn't care too much for this book, but I didn't think that it was awful either. I had a hard time not knowing in what time period Estrella was living. I don't know much about the Spanish Inquisition and Hoffman gives very little background. I think that I would have appreciated the plot more if I had known a little bit more about what was going on. I think that the actions of Estrella's families and neighbors would have had more meaning if I had been able to know the gravity of the social/political situation.

I did enjoy the fact that Hoffman was able to develop the main story without writing a really long book, probably because she left out a lot of the historical background. By focusing on the fictional characters, Hoffman helped me to identify with the main characters outside of their social and historical contexts. So I guess that my initial complaint about the book actually helped me to put myself inside of it.

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