Author: Alethea Kontis
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 305 Pages
ISBN-10: 0547645708 (Harcourt)
ISBN-13: 978-0547645704 (Harcourt)
Reviewed by: Michelle
It isn’t easy being the overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories. Then she meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, and 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 Prince Rumbold—a man Sunday’s family despises. The prince hopes Sunday will love him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo, and it soon becomes clear that twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers.
Quick & Dirty: A fairy tale retelling that encompasses many of your childhood classic favorites, all told into one magical story.
Opening Sentence: My name is Sunday Woodcutter, and I am doomed to a happy life.
In Enchanted, Althea Kontis takes us on this charming adventure, mostly surrounding a girl and her frog prince. Sunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of Seven. Her sisters and brothers before her, each have their own gifts, making it easy to be overlooked in her unhappy state. But as the seventh daughter, she is destined to be “blithe and bonny and good and gay.” Enchanted begins as Sunday narrates her first meeting with Grumble, a frog who cannot remember his past. Since Grumble does not have any memories of his own, Sunday tells him stories of her family, indulging him with wonderful details and whimsical tales. Sunday’s voice is matter-of-fact, a little somber, and in my mind, monotone. But to me, it wasn’t about how Sunday said things, it was about what she said, and to whom.
Together, Sunday and Grumble form a friendship so pure and true, that it definitely withstands any faerie magic in the land. Through the stories told, and memories cherished, Sunday and Grumble shows us who they are, who they were, and in my mind, who Kontis wants them to be. Sunday tells tale after tale, with hints of stories like The Princess and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, and Jack and the Beanstalk, filled with Kontis’ own enchantment and magic.
But faerie magic isn’t the only powerful thing in the land, with Sunday’s honest love, frog Grumble transforms back into Prince Rumbauld. Rumbauld has paid for his mistakes, hence the frog transformation, but it isn’t the end of his childhood consequences. Enchanted now takes the narration from Rumbauld’s point of view, and his renewed heart, where he takes us on the journey from beast to man. Rumbauld is dreamy, and filled with determination. Where he has many faults to make amends for, his journey is realistic. He really suffers and you can feel his pain. Kontis didn’t spare him when she threw those verbal punches.
Sunday is the seventh daughter, of a seventh daughter. And while her siblings have talents and beauty that surpasses her own, Sunday holds magic deep within herself. Whether it be the power in her words, or the strength of her love, Sunday is a heroine that definitely rewrites the rules. Her outlook on life is grey, jaded by her family’s past and the stories that haunt her. She is expressive, and sometimes naive, but she redeems herself time and time again. Isn’t it true that without experiences, we do not truly live?
All of the characters are full of imaginative riches, adding to the humor and tragedies spoken throughout the book. With each tale comes a lesson, and with each of those lessons, comes a progression in the story that transforms Enchanted from a simple fantasy, to bewitching magic. Each one had their own part, whether it be a romantic element or a wicked one.
Kontis’ world is magical, allowing for her characters to take center stage, and for her plot to progress in an organic fashion. To me, her world is a supporting character, complementing and challenging the heroes and heroines in the story. Enchanted contains all of the best part of familiar childhood fairy tales, but with Kontis’ own creative spin to the story. Kontis’ voice is clear and definite, never allowing you to question whose story this is. The plot is definitely enchanting, mesmerizing with the intricate paths that the journey brings. Imagination is your only barrier when it comes to Enchanted. Read with your heart and follow your instincts when you fall in love with Enchanted.
“You have ruined me, Sunday. I didn’t realize how much I longed for the company of others until I had your words. When they are gone, the nights are darker. The silence is loud and bottomless, and I am empty. I miss them, my beloved Sunday, and I miss you.
It was no use fighting; the tears came anyway. She was powerless to break his curse, but she could give him what she had. She opened her book the next blank page and started writing. when she was done, she leaned back and smiled at her friend. “‘Sunday was nothing’” she read aloud, “‘until she met Grumble – a beautiful man, with the soul of a poet. He was her best friend in the whole wide world, and she loved him with all her heart.’” She closed the book gently in her lap. Her chest hurt. Her hands shook.
FTC Advisory: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided me with a copy of Enchanted. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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