Book Review: Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis

April 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm (Book Reviews) (, , , , , )

Words have power, be they names or stories, and no one knows this better than Sunday Woodcutter, seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. But what starts as an unlikely friendship with a frog becomes a great deal more when curses cross and stories twist, and not only Sunday but all her sisters will have great destinies to fulfill to save their kingdom from an evil without a name.

So I have this thing for fairy tales. Liiiiike really have a thing for fairy tales. So I saw the cover and thought oh, cool, Princess and the Frog, that chould be fun.

This book blew me away. It is so much more than a single fairy tale, so much more than any fairy tales, and yet somehow it’s everything that every fairy tale could ever be. Seriously, I could gush for days and still not be able to relate how much I loved this book. I devoured it, and having to clock back in for work was painful. I wanted to blow off everything so I could keep reading.

Sunday is an amazing character, joyful and brooding and open and strong. She has a destiny given her by her name but also a burning desire to be more than that, to make a life outside of a name and a fate. She’s a storyteller, but she’s one that knows the power of words, so she’s cautious with them. For all that, there’s an unfettered merriment and love in her, love for all her family members (no matter how crotchety). Everything she feels, she feels intensely, with no filter between who she is and who she seems to be. She’s refreshing, and while she’s not someone who races out to save the day, neither does she stand around and wait to be rescued.

I absolutely fell in love with our frog prince. He starts out as someone with the potential to have great strength- if he can find it. He’s one of those rare people who has the chance to start completely over, but that redemption has a price he may not be able to pay. More to the point, he may have to sacrifice that redemption for something far greater. Determined to be a man worthy of Sunday’s love, despite the history between their families, he has to acquire a lifetime of memories and skills in just a few days’ time. There’s so much he doesn’t know, some he may never know. He doesn’t have to seek adventure because it’s waiting for him right at home.

Most of this cast is phenomonal. In a family of extraordinary people, extraordinary starts to feel rather normal, so they accept things as commonplace that would otherwise be mind-boggling. Why wouldn’t Sunday fall in love with a frog? After all, eldest son Jack Jr was a dog for a time, and brother Trix is a changeling. Each character has a different destiny but each twines through the others. They’re not a loose collection of people in a house; they’re a family. Each is distinct and well-drawn, and like sister Wednesday’s poetry, sometimes the truths lie more in the shadows and the spaces between.

And the fairy tales. Oh, the fairy tales. This isn’t a single fairy tale, but rather a tapestry that weaves through so many. Just a sampling of the stories included: Princess and the Frog, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Jack and the Beanstalk. But there are so many others, sometimes pillars of the story and sometimes fleeting glimpses that make us smile even as we’re too absorbed in the book to look away.

This book is as enchanting as the title suggests. Beautifully paced, gorgeously painted, this book is simply not to be missed. Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis, out 8 May 2012.

Until next time~

Permalink 1 Comment