Sunday, December 1, 2013
Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
May 2012 by Harcourt's Children's Books
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 loved all the references to well known and less known fairy tales, but Enchanted wasn't as strong a retelling as I had hoped.
First, there was the instalove. It just didn't work, even for a fairy tale. Retellings are a way to explore things that are skimmed over in the original tale, particularly the romance. For me, retellings have to expand on the romance and have the characters more realistically fall in love over a longer span of time, at least a little bit. Instead, Sunday kept love-at-first-sighting. And she just wasn't smart in some scenes. Really, Sunday. You wake up in a dress that is not yours in a place you've never been before in the arms of a man who was not there when you passed out, and you're not at all worried? Not even a little bit? Not even when you first wake up before you get your bearings and realize it's the prince? Really? Come on! You should freak out at least a little bit. And Rumbold, you took too many liberties in that scene.
That wasn't the only aspect of the story that wasn't fully developed. The climax was rushed. So many fairy tales were pushed into that one scene that I wasn't sure exactly what was going on. And why was the family suddenly okay with Wednesday and Sunday involving themselves with the royal family? Weren't they supposed to hate them?
I did like the scene where Sunday and her father swapped stories. Honestly, Papa needed to be a bigger part of the story. Familial relationships are sadly neglected in these types of stories. I would have loved to see more of the father-daughter relationship. And there should have been more Saturday.
In the end, I think Enchanted's biggest problem was trying to tell to much story in not enough time. It wasn't the retelling for me.