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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Sunday, March 25, 2012
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you'll ever read.

Gail Carson Levine's examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.

Goodreads Summary

Ella Enchanted was published in 1997, and the target audience is 7-12 year olds. So why am I reviewing a book like this? Because of the movie staring Anne Hathaway. This book is a childhood favorite of mine, and I wanted to strangle the writers who wrote the script. The plot was 50% different from the book. Yes, Ella has been enchanted with a spell of obedience and has two step sisters that know (indirectly) of her spell, but that’s where it ends. Hopefully this review will get you to read the book… it will take about two hours of your time, and wont disappoint you.

Ella has the misfortune of having a spell of obedience placed on her when she was a baby. Only her mother and fairy servant know because the father was traveling at the time. They told her not to tell anyone about her curse incase someone would use it against her. Sadly, the mother passed away when she was very young. At her funeral, Ella met a young prince named Char. Char is cute, honorable, and wishes the best for his kingdom. They hit it off from the start, and became friends. Her father remarried a woman with two step daughters Hattie and Olive. The oldest figures out how obedient Ella is, and makes her give up many things like her mothers necklace. The whole plot revolves around Ella trying to break the spell. Many adventures feature ogres, fairies, centaurs, and knights.

There are NO evil kings trying to kill Char, NO weird snakes that talk, NO fan girls (although Hattie has an obsession…), ogres want to EAT Ella and not save her, Ella doesn’t have a command to kill Char… they have a steady friendship through out the whole book (and maybe get a little more), Mandy doesn’t have a guy stuck in a magic book…


That being said: please read the original book, I promise it will make you smile. :)
5 Stars

*Reviewed by Rachel*


  1. FINALLY someone understands my pain! I hate the movie version of Ella Enchanted, but everyone I know LOVES it! Arg, they so ruined it-especially with the dancing yuck!

  1. This is one of my all time favorite books and the reason I pick up anything Levine writes. I agree, the movie diesn't come close to the book and once you read the book you wonder what storyline did the movie follow. Thanks for your wonderful review!

  1. Megan said...:

    I absolutely love this book! I remember being so excited for the movie, then wanting to rip my hair out. It was an entirely different story.

    Everyone should read the book! So much better!

  1. Susan T. said...:

    Don't you hate it when a movie completely mangles a good book? Lol!