Book Review

Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis


Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Publication Info: Harcourt 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-64570-4
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Book Enchanted - Alethea Kontis Full Disclosure #1:  I met Alethea Kontis at the Nebula Awards, and she was delightful.  When I told her that I hadn't finished her book yet, but was hoping to finish it that night in preparation for our interview the next day, she said, “No!  Don't do that!  It's the Nebulas!  Stay up and drink!  I'll come up with some questions and I promise not to tell you how it ends!”  So I have some bias.

Full Disclosure #2:  I didn't stay up late drinking per se, but I did stay up late, and the next morning I finished the book really fast while frenetically eating M&Ms, because that's what conferences are all about, baby!  As a result, there were several moments when I was all, “Where did that beanstalk come from?”  Also, “Where's my room key?” 

In short, I'm not sure what it's like to read Enchanted in a fully awake state, but from a groggy and confused standpoint I can tell you that it is a fun, romantic, melodramatic fairly tale.  I'm not using the word “melodramatic” in a pejorative way.  Sometimes I am in the mood for some good melodrama.  I want glittery dresses and gruesome enchanted axe injuries and pirate queens and bizarre magical practices and tears of both sadness and happiness, and that's what I got.  This book is deliberately over the top in its tone and in its use of many, many fairy tale tropes.  My favorite line, which involves a lost shoe:  “You seem to have misplaced a re-occurring theme”.  It's not camp, it's just… big.  The emotions are big, the dresses are big, the giant is huge – you get the idea.

Enchanted is about Sunday, the seventh daughter of a seventh son and a seventh daughter, and a frog prince.  Each of Sunday's sisters is named after a day of the week, and each is blessed and/or cursed with the quality from the rhyme:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is blithe and bonny and good and gay.

Sunday, who is not especially blithe and is neither gay in the sense of being happy nor in the sense of being sexually attracted to women, meets and falls in love with a talking frog named Grumble.  They fall in love almost instantly.  Normally that would bother me, but their love is so fully based in mutual respect and acceptance and affection that I totally rooted for them from the start.  Of course, there's also the fact that this is a fairy tale, so immediate love goes with the package.  

Their story ends up involving almost every fairy tale trope possible including, wait for it…AMNESIA!  In this case, the amnesia is both plausible and dealt with well.  It helps that it's caused by magic and not head trauma, so it follows magic rules, if you will.  Somewhat surprisingly, there's no secret baby, unless I missed that part.

I try to be clear about when I'm reviewing a “Romance Novel” and when I'm reviewing a book that happens to have some romance in it.  Enchanted is being marketed as YA fantasy, but romance is so central to the story that I'd say it qualifies completely as a Romance Novel. I don't recommend speed-reading it as I did.  Take your time.  There are a lot of characters, a lot of layers, and a lot of plot to follow. 

I love this line:  “I cannot promise you a happy ending, but I can promise you an interesting life”.  Sunday and Grumble fall in love very quickly, and then spend a lot of time separated physically and/or emotionally, but when things go crazy they always have each other's back – even if they are in mid-misunderstanding, even if they think they won't end up being together after all.  That's become one of my tests of a good romance.  Any couple can support each other while they are getting along, but do they support each other even when they are fighting?  Even after a break-up?  Is the support mutual? 

There's a lot of mutual saving in this book and interestingly they mostly work together to save other people, not each other.  I like this couple, I like the story, and I'm even more excited to read the next book, Hero.  Each story is supposed to work as a stand alone with a shared work and some shared characters, so I'm excited.  I don't think this book is perfect (it's really busy and rushed) and I don't think it's for everyone (melodrama) but I do think that Alethea has earned her tiara.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    *cough* There’s a typo in the title. (Author’s first name is Alethea.) *cough*

  2. 2

    This sounds fabulous.

  3. 3
    GenghisMom says:

    Such a great review I rushed straight to B&N to download this book! But, lo the ebook is $10.36. *sigh* The paperback is cheaper. Perhaps, I’ll pick it up next time at the bookstore. I just hope they have it in stock. I’m too ADD to remember these titles.

  4. 4

    Oooookay I may need to read this. I AM a sucker for fairy tales, AND a sucker for amnesia plots. ;D

  5. 5

    P.S. Re: price of the ebook—I’m seeing it listed for $7.39 on Kobo, so it makes no damn sense to me why B&N’s got it for $10.36! o.O

    The good news is, speaking as an owner of both a Nook AND a Kobo device, if you’ve got Adobe Digital Editions on your system you can sideload a book off of the Kobo site onto the Nook without any problems. The Nook talks to ADE.

  6. 6

    P.P.S. HA! Doublechecking my Goodreads To Read queue (which is MASSIVE OMG), I find I’d actually already dinged this book as To Read, but it was on the library queue. Well I’ll be fixing that then. ;D *buys*

  7. 7
    GenghisMom says:

    Well that is so irritating! It’s only $8.99 on Kindle. No wonder Nook will be disappearing within the year. (Which makes me so angry because I LOVE my Nook.)

    Thanks for the tip, @Angela!

  8. 8

    I checked the Kindle price—too much for me—and then the Audible price—really reasonable if not cheap for me. Yay! And it’s narrated by Katherine Kellgren who is ZOMG awesome IMHO. Woo hoo!

  9. 9
    Tracey says:

    Fabulous book. Listened to the audio and would sit in the car for long periods just listening after arriving at my destination.

  10. 10
    Danielle says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile just because of the pretty cover and my love of fairy tales in general. Your review only encouraged me more! I can’t wait to pick it up!

  11. 11
    LisaJo885 says:

    @GenghisMom: wait, what?! The Nook is disappearing within the year? What is this you speak of?!

  12. 12

    @GenghisMom: My pleasure!

    (I’ve bought the book now, whee!)

  13. 13
    GenghisMom says:

    @Angela It’s speculation at this point, but the Nook has been tanking for awhile. Microsoft invested $300 million into the Nook last year, but things aren’t looking any better. So say some experts.

  14. 14
    Nita says:

    As a B&N employee, *please* don’t panic about the Nook. I mean, look, they don’t tell us store peons much of anything, but my guess is we’ll support Nook for a while yet. Those gloomy reports go around every year about companies and products, and most of them are still here in some form or another. And, tip #1: you want to support Nook, buy something from B&N every once and awhile. Tell people that there are alternatives to Amazon (including independent bookstores!). And don’t panic. (With apologies to Douglas Adams)

  15. 15
    CarrieS says:

    They can have my nook when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

  16. 16
    GenghisMom says:

    We are a 6 Nook family! My 4 kids, husband, and I ALL have them. I don’t know how my family alone does keep the Nook up and running. Our library is vast.

  17. 17

    Heavy Nook-use household here too, yo. I think between myself, my partner, and our housemate, we’ve bought a total of five Nooks between us. And mine alone has several hundred books on it.

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