About the Book
“Ella Enchanted” was published by Newbery Honor, it is a book written by Gail Carson Levine and published in 1997. It is essense a retellelling of the classic Cinderella fairy with the addition of such elements as various mythical creatures including fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants. In 2006, Levine went on to write Fairest, a retelling of the story of Snow White, set in the same world as “Ella Enchanted”.
Synopsis of “Ella Enchanted”
This Synopsis was taken from the Goodreads. (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24337.Ella_Enchanted)
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me.
Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.
Gail Carson Levine’s examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.
My Overall Thoughts
Okay, I have a confession to make, I am very much a Disney girl, and a fairytale advocant. I love those stories with all my heart. I relish any chance to reread them in a different format. So for me, I went into this book expecting a sort of mediocre retelling of Cinderella. However, what I found instead was a delightful story, that bore barely any resemblance to the original at all. It exceeded my expectations in every way possible.
The Best Parts of the Novel
“Ella Enchanted” takes the well-known tale of Cinderella and transforms it into an amazing adventurous, animated, arresting and amusing nobel. The essentials of the original are still there but all warped in New and interesting ways. The best part of this book is undubitably the theme and plot as well as character development.
The characters in “Ella Enchanted” are part of what makes it great. This is one of those books that spends effort on developing almost every character, major or minor. Some of it pans out while the rest is just kinda there, not nessarily adding anything to the plot, however it is all interesting to read. I love the fact that Ella goes from naive and headstrong, to learning the true meaning of need vs want.
A very unique character arc. Each of the characters ends up better developed and fleshed out and therefore the reader emphathizes with them a lot more.
The themes in this book are multiple, layered and fascinating, especially due to the premise of the story itself. Since Ella must obey, whether or not she wants to, this addresses themes of control, rebelliousness, bravery, helplessness and slavery. The book also discusses such themes as greed, self discovery and more.
This is one novel that doesn’t shy away from difficult or controversial issues. It also examines how much your personality changes due to your circumstances. While I don’t agree with the conclusions it reaches for some these issues, it is still fascinating to see them addressed.
The setting of the book is one of its best features, the fantasy land is well constructed with just enough details and the existence of a soft magic system that side the story as needed. I was amused by the fact that fairies are kind of like the Harry Potter wizards of this world (if they were not concealed from humans). The ogres were some of the modt fascinating creatures. Overall it was a good fantastical setting.
The plot is hands down the best thing about this entire book. The premise made a great platform and every subsequent element of the plot works with and expands on the premise, leading to a cohesive but fast-paced story that is completely fascinating to read. The twist and turns of the plot leave you with thrills and anticipation so the reader is never bored.
One the reasons the plot is so good is because ALL character decisions affect it, instead of the characters being puppetted along by a great hand each turn is affected or made by the consequences of the characters’ actions. That is what constitutes the best sort of plot.
Things That Were Meh
If I want to complain about any part of the book, I would say that the ending is very cliche and all the conflicts just melt away to make a perfect ending. The comeuppance are swift and somewhat illogical.
Another unpalatable part of the book is the fact that the author tries to do too much and so some lines of action feel unfinished, for example the step sister starts getting developed and then is abruptly dropped so Ella can rush off in adventure.
In fact the author does something really wierd in the middle, she creates a clear conflict then skips over it to avoid resolving it. In the end this issue never gets addressed at all. Leaves the book feeling unfinished.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, it was a great book, would recommend. Also looking forward to reading more from the same author.
This review is the Author’s opinion, the author does not claim anything stated here as fact. If you disagree with anything written in this article please do not hesitate to sound of in the comments down below. However, please keep in mind that the author is not liable for any information stated in this post. It is purely opinion.
The Novel “Ella Enchanted” and all of its materials are owned by Gail Carson Levine. We are merely using some of them in this post to illustrate a point (fair use). If you wish for your materials to be taken down please contact us and we will remove them immediately.