Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Since I already wrote about Beauty and The Goose Girl, I thought I’d continue the fairy tale retelling thread with Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

Here’s a summary from Harper Collins, the official website:

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.

The book is very different from the movie, where Anne Hathaway played the role of Ella. Usually, movies based in books don’t live up to the awesomeness of the books. This is definitely true for Ella Enchanted, the book is way better than the movie.

I think Cinderella has the most number of retellings out there, probably because it’s a very popular fairy tale. Ella Enchanted is set in a world full of magic, where fairies exist as well as ogres and gnomes. When Ella was barely an hour old, a fairy named Lucinda visited her mother and gave her the gift of obedience. Her mother and their cook knew that it wasn’t a gift so much as a curse but Lucinda won’t take back the gift. As Ella grows, they try to protect her from the effects of the gift. They forbid her to tell anyone about it so that other people won’t be able to take advantage of her. Not even her father, who is constantly away on business, knows about the curse. Ella had a fairy godmother and her mother asked the fairy godmother to take away the curse, but the fairy godmother said that only Lucinda can do that. Although, she also said that it might be broken someday without Lucinda’s help.

It’s interesting how Ella adapted to the curse. Instead of being cowed, she tried to find ways to get around obeying orders: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”

When Ella turns 15, her mother gets sick and passes away. This is when her adventures begin. Her father, who doesn’t know what to do with her, sends her to finishing school. Later on, her father marries another noblewoman who has two awful daughters. The novel follows the original story in the sense that Ella doesn’t get along with her step-mother or her step-sisters. The rest of the novel revolves around Ella’s adventures as she tries to get rid of the curse. Along the way, she interacts with a lot of interesting people, including Prince Charmont, Char for short. For of course, a Cinderella story needs a prince, right? But Ella Enchanted is very much Ella’s story as she comes to her own and realizes what she needs to do to break the curse.

Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor book that a lot of people obviously enjoyed, judging from the star ratings in Amazon (see below). It’s a fun, easy read for those who enjoy fairy tale retellings or fantasy novels.

Other book details:

Availability: Ella Enchanted is fairly easy to find compared to the other books that I wrote about. Ella Enchanted is available in all major bookstores in Manila – National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked

Price: My copy cost P255 from National Bookstore

Here’s the Amazon link for it and the star rating:

Thanks for reading this post! I hope that after reading this, you go ahead and buy a copy. To those who’ve read the book, what do you think? 🙂 Non-LJ users can leave anonymous comments.

2 thoughts on “Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

  1. You’re absolutely right, I would’ve loved it too if I read it as a girl. I wonder why I wasn’t aware of this when I was younger because I remember that I collected Newbery books back then.

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