Book Review: Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine

Ella EnchantedElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
★★★

Synopsis: How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift — the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse — once and for all. In this incredible debut novel comes the richly entertaining story of Ella of Frell, who at birth was given the gift of obedience by a fairy. As sharply funny as Catherine, Called Birdy and as richly poignant as Beauty, and with all the marks of a classic in the making.... Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor book written by Gail Carson Levine and published in 1997. The story is a retelling of Cinderella featuring various mythical creatures including fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants.
In A Sentence: A fun read that I might have enjoyed more if I read this 15 years ago.

My Thoughts: This is a book that I really regret taking so long to actually pick it up and read it. This book has literally been on my TBR since I was 11 years old. I didn’t even have a TBR list back then and this book was on it!
There’s a little bit of a back story. Back in sixth grade, our English teacher told us to write a summary of a book we’ve read recently, and read the summary out to a small group of our peers. I can’t remember my summary, but what I do remember is this girl Caitlin. She was a good writer, but not very good at summarizing. Her summary was so long that she didn’t have time to finish it. Her summary was of this book, Ella Enchanted, and it was a step-by-step report of what happened in the story. I was enjoying her summary and thinking that this book sounded like a lot of fun, but then the summary ended abruptly because she hadn’t had time to finish it, so I was left hanging, wondering what would happen next! It took me 15 years to find out.
Why did it take so long, you ask? Well, it just never seemed the right time to read it. When I read recreationally, I read based on my moods, and I was never in the right mood for this particular book. I think the movie was also a factor in the delay; I watched the movie, so there was no current need to read the book.
Now that I have finally read it, I wish I had read it when I was still a kid. This is one of those cute stories that kids would absolutely love, but have no substance for adults to enjoy. The mood is light-hearted and sweet, the love story is adorable, just about everything is cute. But for adults, it’s a little too cute.
I did appreciate how the love between Prince Char and Ella developed and grew over time. One thing that has been annoying me a lot lately are the love stories where it’s an instant declaration of love. Saying you love someone within a few hours of meeting is unrealistic and based mainly on someone’s looks. So when it took over a year for Ella and Char to fall in love, I couldn’t help but appreciate and respect it.
I also did like the creativity of the story. It made for an interesting fairy tale retelling. I also liked how Levine had different languages for both people and fairy creatures. Overall, it was a very original story.
So, to conclude, this book is fun, but best for kids. If any of you have daughters, have them read this book before it’s too late. Don’t let them hold off for 15 years!


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