Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Release Date
: May 8th 2012
Pages: 305
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Buy It: Book Depository

Enchanted was a very, well, enchanting story. Unlike a lot of fairytale retellings being published these days, like Beastly by Alex Finn, this isn't set in contemporary times and it isn't, strictly speaking, a retelling at all. In fact, it's more like Finn's Cloaked in the sense that Kontis combines half a dozen traditional fairytales into a unique story.

Enchanted is the story of seven sisters, each named for a day of the week and each 'blessed' with their own gifts. Sunday is the seventh sister, born to a seventh sister, and that makes her especially blessed. Sunday loves telling stories, the problem is whenever she writes them down they tend to come true, and not in the way that she intended. When Sunday befriends a frog in the woods, she feels like she's finally fallen in love– but after giving him a kiss she leaves before she sees his transformation, back into the prince, a man that her family abhors.

Back at his castle, the prince wants to make Sunday fall in love with him again, but he keeps his frog-identity a secret. However, his quest won't be easy, and there are curses and fairies to consider as well.

I really liked the traditional style of writing for Enchanted and the interesting way that Kontis combined the fairytales. The problem, for me, was that many of the fairytales she pulled from have pretty weak female characters and she didn't do a lot to remedy that. At times Sunday came across as not nearly as interesting as her sisters like the feisty pirate queen Thursday and the hardworking Saturday– and I'd love to read a novel from either of their perspectives, because of they weren't so predictably princess. It felt like Kontis tried to remedy this at the end it a haphazard way involving Sunday going barefoot, which really felt like much more of an afterthought because as far as I recall, she'd never gone barefoot earlier in the story, so I didn't get why she was starting now.

In the end, this is a story about balls and beauty and transformation, but I wanted Sunday to have a little more fight in her. Also, I know this is a fairytale, but I really felt like love came too easy in Enchanted. That said, it was clear Sunday cared deeply for her family and in spite of all the difficulties she faced she managed to remain positive, which was a pretty big accomplishment.

Enchanted is a busy story, but Kontis manages to keep it moving along quickly without getting muddled. The world she creates has a lot of interesting backstory, usually pulling from various fairytales, and is filled with a massive cast of characters. Despite having at least a dozen significant characters, I never got confused about who was who, except maybe with some of the prince's wait staff. That's because Kontis gives each character their own unique personality and quirks, so that even though there are so many characters, they don't blur together. 

The traditional aspect of Enchanted was what I both loved and disliked about it, I wanted something a little less quintessentially princess, a more realistic love and a stronger Sunday, but I loved the cleverness and the large cast of interesting characters. Ultimately, Kontis has written a complex and exciting story that manages to take fairytales that the reader is probably familiar with, and combine them in a way you'd never expect.


  1. I absolutely loved this book! I can see exactly what you mean about Sunday seeming weak, but I didn't mind because most fairy tale heroines are even wimpier. Luckily each of her sisters will get a chance in the spotlight (according to the the author), and hopefully they won't be quite as weak as Sunday. Glad you still enjoyed it!

    Debz @ Debz Bookshelf

  2. Excellent review. I'm really not sure about this one, have read so much good and bad, but I think you put it in perspective. Thanks!

  3. Oooh I love this book. It made me feel like a kid all over again.


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