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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Amazon | Goodreads
Fairy Tale Retelling, 305 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Harcourt 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?

When Ashley and I started our discussions for this year's FTF, there was 1 book that topped both of our wishlists - Aletha Kontis' Enchanted.  Sure, there were plenty of other fairy tale books we wanted to read, and movies we wanted to see, but we were both in a mania to get our hands on this book (which wasn't an easy feat, lemme tell you).  That cover and title combo, coupled with the fact that it's a retelling of The Frog freaking Prince, meant that we just had to cover it this year!  And I have to say, I'm glad we did.

Now, I don't think this is necessarily the book for everybody.  Some people definitely like their fairy tale retellings darker and weightier.  And I certainly like that side of them - but I also like the fun, tongue-in-cheek exuberance that comes with the lighter retellings.  This one definitely falls into the light category.  It's very breezy and quirky and fun.  I know I just used the word exuberant, but it really is the perfect word for this tale.  It's refreshing.  There is bad stuff and dark stuff, as there always will be, but it's the type of tale where there is never really any doubt that it's all going to come out right in the end.

Along the way, it throws in or touches on like every tale, ever.  Those with a passing knowledge of fairy tales may not get everything and may just feel like certain things are weird quirks to the storytelling.  For the rest of us (ie those obsessed), each tale is like a little easter egg, and you're wondering which you're going to find next.  It could have been too much, but for me at least, it wasn't.  I absolutely loved the idea of a girl whose stories come to life, and a family (and couple) who essentially became the basis for all of the fairy tales we know.  They sort of live them all, and it sort of all happens in a fairly short amount of time.  (Well, a very short amount of time, but I'll get to that.)  It's a fun little twist that I think fairy tale lovers will appreciate.  When I finished it, I described in on Goodreads as "weird, but a good weird" - it's the kind of weird that just keeps you grinning and turning the pages.

But.  As I said, I don't think this will necessarily be the book for everyone, and here's why:

The obstacles keeping the protags apart sometimes seemed forced or outlandish.  This is going back to that weird-but-good-weird thing, but I know it will bother some people they they just don't talk.  That they're just not honest, that everyone is just not honest.  But the characters of Sunday and Rumbold (and basically everybody) are very, very enjoyable, and I think make up for this.  The story and the characters and the dynamics are very charming and homey-feeling, which I really liked, and which suits the fairy tale retelling aspect well, for all that their connections are convoluted and a bit too conveniently interlinked for my tastes.

But mostly, it's all down to timing.  I know things come in 3s and 3 days is sort of magical fairy-taleness.  But I would have liked more time in the development of the relationship between Sunday & the Frog and Sunday & the Prince (same guy, two meetings, both centered around 3 days).  Yes, 3 is magical and all, but really?  There's no reason things can't happen slower and sweeter.  It's as easy as starting a chapter with "In the coming weeks, blah blah blah" and poof! Your characters have now known each other for a respectable amount of time.  3 days is just not enough for me to buy everlasting love, even if it technically has to be true love, because only true love's kiss transforms, and all that.  I just - I'm too jaded for that.  And I want the build-up.  I want the butterflies and the flirtatious moments, and the burgeoning realization of love.  I was able to set this aside (because I know how fairy tales work and I know how YA works, and I get that it's magic, so fine).  But I know some readers won't be able to.  One man's enjoyably-weird is another man's too-freaking-weird, and it all just comes down to which camp you fall into - How willingly do you suspend your disbelief?

(With the exception of love, my answer is pretty willingly.)

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  1. I've been wanting to read this for SO long! It sounds like so much fun! I'm definitely getting it the day it comes out! Thanks for the great review!

  2. This is in my TBR pile - I love your review for it and it makes me even that much more excited to read it. :)

  3. This sounds so great, it's topping my wishlist. My birthday two weeks today and I'm getting Amazon vouchers, guess what I'm buying?!

    Jade @ Ink Scratchers

  4. GREAT review!! I'm very much lookin forward to reading it!!! :)

  5. Well this was an exuberant review!!! I love the darkness of fairy tales but yes, I also do love fun, light and easy to read books. This sounds wonderful!

  6. I'm so glad this is a light fun read. Things have been dark in my reading world so I could use some light fun.I can't wait for it to come out!


  7. Yes, I am one of those fairy-tale obsessed people! and I totally understand about the "weird by good weird" thing too, and sometimes I feel that the author purposely does this, not all stories and fairy tales can be perfect, right?!
    Great review! I cannot wait to read this one, thanks :)

  8. I quite like enjoyably weird.

    Also? Enchanted sounds super cute. I will definitely read that noise sooooooon.

  9. I am absolutely dying for this one. I've heard mostly fantastic-ness about it. I really MUST read it!!

  10. This book sounds perfect for me I like the lighter retelling much better than the darker ones!!! It sounds totally refreshing and I really want to read it thanks for the great review!!!

  11. What a fun review. I definitely prefer lighter books as a rule. Right now I'm reading Masque of the Red Death which I'm really enjoying, but can't wait to finish and move back to lighter fare. This book sounds wonderful.

  12. I loved this book! I need to get myself a finished copy, I got to read an e-arc.

    Loved your review!

  13. Really looking forward to reading this tale. It really sounds like it's really wonderful. I'm sure I'll be able to suspend any beliefs. It is a fairy tale after all.

  14. I want to read this one soooo bad! And I love comparing the 3 different reviews of you FTF ladies :o)

    I am always willing to suspend my disbelief for fairy tales -- some stories get under my skin and annoy, but for fairy tales? I make a lot of exceptions. A whole lot. haha...

  15. Love this review! I honestly had ignored this one for some time, but as soon as I realized it was retelling such an oft-ignored story, I wanted to check it out! I am one of those readers who prefers my fairy tales dark, and I agree that 3 days is quite fast for a relationship. I'm glad to know this one is quirky, and on the lighter side going in, so that I can make sure I'm in the right frame of mind when I read it. Thanks!

  16. I generally like my fairy tales a little darker, but I am definitely intrigued by any fairy tale. I don't care if they are predictable, they are still fun to read.


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