Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Series: Ella Enchanted #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Book-to-film, Fairy tales, Medieval fantasy, Retellings
Dates read: 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
5th sentence, 74th page: Her conversation was mostly worries that the earl would marry and have a child who would replace her as his heir.
At her birth, Ella of Frell received a foolish fairy’s gift – the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, 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 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 forever.
This is one of those few books that I honestly don’t know if I prefer the movie or the book… honestly, they were just so damn different from one another that it was difficult to find a clear winner. For starters, the movie has Anne Hathaway. But, it is also a lot more grown up and set in a contemporary medieval world that overlays much more closely with ours. The book on the other hand is definitely a lot less mature and filled with characters that have a much simpler, more pleasant characterisation (there really weren’t many messy emotions in this novel). Or at least, that’s how it felt to me.
This is a great, sweet and funny little book. Throughout reading this I had multiple little giggles at the different circumstances in which the characters found themselves. There was just something that was enjoyably cute and sweet about Ella’s narrative voice. Something that made all the horrible, annoying things that happen to her throughout this story seem somehow slightly less. It made them a little less intense and difficult. Which was the perfect balance between serious and playful that a good book should have.
As much as I enjoyed this novel as an adult, I know that I would have absolutely adored this as a kid. There is something light and approachable and just downright fun about this that is seriously enjoyable. Plus, in Ella, there is a great lead character who is everything that I would have looked up to as a young girl. Someone who is smart and kind, funny and independent. And definitely sure of their own mind. It also helped that there was a great little rebellious streak running through her that I find a little too familiar…
Ultimately, this is a great take on Cinderella. And it also had a great sense of “just desserts” at the end of the story. A little bit more revenge-driven than most of the Disney versions of fairy tales that I read. But, also, a lot more fun, light and PG than the Grimms Brothers fairy tales that fill my shelves.
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