August 29, 2013

REVIEW: Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters #1)

Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters #1), by Alethea Kontis
Published May 8, 2012
Publisher:  Harcourt Children's Books
Format: audiobook, downloaded for free from Audiobook Synch
Genre:  young adult fantasy, fairytale
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

I would like to first thank Audiobook Synch, a service that offers free downloads of YA and classic books every summer, for just existing. How cool is it that these organization and publishers get together to do this for readers? Through their efforts, I downloaded five books this summer - Enchanted was one of them. 

Enchanted was my first fairytale retelling. I've been meaning to read one for quite some time now. With a 7-year-old daughter in my house, I have been exposed to tons of fairytales and princesses for the past five years or so, so I'm pretty familiar with the main ones now. I have several of these types of books on my TBR, and, although I did have some problems with Enchanted, it has by no means turned me off to the genre as a whole. 

In Enchanted, Sunday Woodcutter meets a frog at a pond where she likes to go to write stories. She and the frog develop a warm friendship, and one day as Sunday hurries off, she kisses the frog, tells him she loves him and doesn't look back. If she had, she might've seen him turn back into Prince Rumbold, a man whom Sunday's father hates. When Rumbold makes his way back to the castle, his only thought is how to get Sunday to love him as a man now too. So, he designs to hold three balls and invite all eligible maidens in the kingdom to be in attendance. This gives him three chances to win her heart. But, other schemes are afoot that threaten Sunday's life and Rumbold's as well. 

Enchanted started out slowly. There was a lot of back story to wade through and a lot of family members to be introduced to. Although it's a fairytale, the relationship between Sunday and Grumble, the frog, is a little hard to wrap my brain around, so it was hard to get into the story when Sunday is talking about loving this frog. 

However, once Grumble turns into Rumbold, the pace picks up very quickly and I was sucked into the story. I was curious as to what Rumbold's plan was to woo Sunday and whether it would work. There were some scenes between Rumbold and a ghostly shadow and then between Rumbold and his father, the king, that were a little confusing. Perhaps if I had the hard copy book to re-read those sections, it would've been better. But, just listening to them caused me to be a little lost at times. 

There were a few other head-scratchers. Like, why was the shadow ghost telling Rumbold to "kill me?" And, such a big deal was made of Sunday's stories coming true in the beginning. I thought that might be a main part of the story. But, after a brief mention here and there, it was never brought up or explored again. 

Despite that, I really loved Sunday and Rumbold both. They were interesting characters, both with a lot to accomplish. Rumbold had to regain his memories from before he was a frog, overcome preconceived notions on behalf of Sunday's father, and win her heart for the second time. Sunday had to get over the fact that her friend Grumble was gone, her family was a little nuts and holding her back from fulfilling any good dream she could have, and she has this magic that is a little scary and a little wonderful all at the same time that she has to learn to use. 

Sunday and Rumble work well both separately and together. The scenes with them together at the balls warmed my heart and were definitely my favorite parts of the whole book. Enchanted is told in dual POV, so we get both Rumbold's and Sunday's thoughts on the situations in which they find themselves. In this book, the dual POV was absolutely necessary and worked perfectly. 

We see elements from many different fairy tales in Enchanted - The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, Snow White, The Old Woman In The Shoe, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltzkin, Jack and the Beanstalk - it was a veritable Grimm smorgasboard. But, there was an unexpected dark element to it too, which I loved. 

All in all, Enchanted was a unique experience for someone who had never read a fairy tale retelling before. Although some things worked and some things different, I liked it more than not. 

1 comment:

Krista said...

I was interested in this book, but it just seems to get average reviews.

If you're looking for a cute fairytale book, Ella Enchanted is a great one. It's very different from the movie.